Valtteri Bottas put in a steady shift out-front while excitement abounded behind him to win the first race of the 2020 Formula 1 season in Austria on Sunday.
Backing-up his pole position from Saturday, the Finn led throughout the afternoon, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and McLaren’s Lando Norris making-up the podium spots after a chaotic final act to the race.
Indeed, a safety-car restart with ten laps to go made it look like any one of Bottas, his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton or Red Bull’s Alexander Albon could have won the race, but the latter two didn’t even make it to the podium after an unfortunate coming-together.
Shod with soft tyres to the two Mercs’ hards, Albon quickly closed on Hamilton before trying to pass him around the outside of turn four. Holding the inside line, Hamilton collided with Albon as he exited the corner, forcing the Thai into retirement and earning himself a five-second penalty which the aforementioned Leclerc and Norris – with his first career podium – took full advantage of.
Behind Hamilton in fourth was Norris’ teammate Carlos Sainz, who jumped ahead of Racing Point’s Sergio Perez due to the Mexican’s five second penalty.