Wed | Aug 12, 2020

Bottas wins dramatic Austrian GP

Published:Monday | July 6, 2020 | 12:12 AM
Finnish Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas leads British teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring racetrack in Spielberg, Austria, yesterday.
Finnish Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas leads British teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring racetrack in Spielberg, Austria, yesterday.

SPIELBERG (AP):

Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening Austrian Grand Prix yesterday while Formula One (F1) champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty.

The race was interrupted three times by a safety car and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon — who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a five-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

Although Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise, and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures, and threw all social-distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria, with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium and his superb final lap was the fastest of an opening race. Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

END RACISM T-SHIRTS

All drivers wore a black T-shirt with ‘End Racism’ written on it before the start of the race, but six of the 20 drivers did not take the knee.

Kimi Raikkonen, Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Daniil Kvyat, Antonio Giovinazzi and Carlos Sainz Jr were those who did not.

World champion Lewis Hamilton, the only black driver in F1, wore a T-shirt with ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the front and ‘End Racism’ on the back.

Hamilton, who knelt beside Sebastian Vettel, at one point bowed his head pensively while Kvyat pointed to the anti-racism message on his T-shirt.

He has spoken widely about racism in recent weeks and has attended a Black Lives Matter march in London, and is setting up a commission to increase diversity in motor sport.

Social media mention (Twitter)

“I believe that what matters are facts and behaviours in our daily life rather than formal gestures that could be seen as controversial in some countries.

“I will not take the knee, but this does not mean at all that I am less committed than others in the fight against racism.”

- @Charles_Leclerc

“I am very committed to equality and the fight against racism. But I believe everyone has the right to express themselves at a time and in a way that suits them. I will not take the knee today but respect and support the personal choices every driver makes. #WeRaceAsOne #EndRacism.”

- @Max33Verstappen

- Leclerc and Verstappen wrote on Twitter before the race why they chose not to kneel.