Valtteri Bottas lead the Austrian Grand Prix from start to finish, but it was behind him that all the action happened. Multiple retirements and collisions caused just 11 cars at the finish, with Leclerc and Norris surprisingly joining Bottas on the podium.
The first actual race of the 2020 season went off with a clean start, but a very hectic first lap that saw many overtakes throughout the field. Pole sitter Valtteri Bottas however had nothing of that, and veered off into the distance as Verstappen was fighting a battle for second with Norris.
As predicted by McLaren, Norris lost out, and also saw Albon passing on lap 3. The team admitted to have a strong qualifying pace, but do have a lot of work on their plate for the race.
Another half lap later, Hamilton moved up into 4th. The Brit started from 5th after getting demoted 3 places due to ignoring yellow flags during qualifying, when Bottas was hiking through the gravel. The Brit was initially left unpunished, but new video evidence from Red Bull Racing on Sunday made the stewards change their minds.
By lap 5, Perez held position in 6th, followed by Leclerc, Sainz, Stroll and Vettel.
As Bottas racked up a number of fastest laps, Hamilton closed in on Albon and got past him at Turn 4, moving up into third, but already 7.5s down on the race leader, and 4s down on Verstappen. That situation didn't last long though, as Verstappen's Red Bull started to shake, redcing his pace to around 100km/h.
The Dutchman returned to the pits, saying anti-stall kicked in, and he had no more brakes either. As mechanics were unable to remedy the problem, Max stepped out of the car, marking his retirement from the race.
Just 7 laps later, Ricciardo lost power as well, slowly driving back to the pits, where he ended up retiring. At about the same time, Stroll got passed by Vettel, also seemingly due to a loss of power. The Racing Point driver simply moved over on the straight and continued 5s off the pace for three more laps before retiring in the pits on lap 21.
On lap 25, Magnussen overshot braking into Turn 3 and ended up retiring from the race. As his car was still on the run-off area, a safety car was brought out on track, leading to numerous pit stops that saw most drivers switch to hard tyres. Only Perez in 5th switched to mediums.
Lap 31 saw a restart with few position changes. Leclerc and Sainz battled it out for 6th, and behind them it was Vettel who make a mistake and spun on the apex of that turn, forcing him to let numerous cars pass by before being able to turn around and race on.
There was generally very little on-track action in the laps after that. apart from Hamilton who was able to keep up the pressure on Bottas by following the race leader closely. Mercedes did seem to get a bit anxious about the situation, leading up to asking both their drivers to stay off the kerbs.
Romain Grosjean brought some action back on lap 50 as he drove through the gravel then retired, with Russell simply parking his Williams one lap later.
This event required yet another safety car, triggering another string of pitstops, including tyre switched for the Ferraris, McLarens and Albon. The latter switched to used softs as McLaren opted to put their cars on new mediums for the final 20 laps.
Racing got going again on lap 54, and Albon quickly made his way past Perez for third. But, in the back, Raikkonen soon found out his right front wasn't properly fixed. The wheel ended up rolling into a gravel trap while Raikkonen parked his Alfa near the pit wall. The race director opted for another safety car, following which Albon decided to give the place back as it appeared he made the pass when the VSC signal was out.
2 laps later, that was proven wrong, and Albon was allowed to pass Perez right before the race was restarted on lap 60.
This time around, it was Albon causing the action, as he had a very strong restart, and subsequently tried to pass Hamilton around the outside of Turn 4. On softs, he was so much faster through that turn, that at the time they ended up on the exit of the corner, Albon's right rear touched with Hamilton's left front. The Red Bull spun into the gravel and could only continue in 11th place, while Hamilton was later given a 5s time penalty.
As Albon retired 3 laps from the end, Perez ended up getting a 5s penalty as well for speeding in the pitlane. The Mexican then also threw away another place as he left the door wide open in Turn 3, and Lando Norris happily took the opportunity to take fourth place.
Kvyat then also retired in the penultimate lap with broken left rear suspension.
The final lap was tense well, and thanks to the fastest racing lap by Norris, the McLaren driver ended up within 5s of Hamilton, and therefore on the podium, with Hamilton classified 4th due to his earlier penalty.
|3||4||Lando Norris||MCLAREN RENAULT||71||+5.491s||15|
|5||55||Carlos Sainz||MCLAREN RENAULT||71||+8.903s||10|
|6||11||Sergio Perez||RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES||71||+15.092s||8|
|7||10||Pierre Gasly||ALPHATAURI HONDA||71||+16.682s||6|
|9||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||71||+21.146s||2|
|11||6||Nicholas Latifi||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||71||+31.650s||0|
|12||26||Daniil Kvyat||ALPHATAURI HONDA||69||DNF||0|
|13||23||Alexander Albon||RED BULL RACING HONDA||67||DNF||0|
|NC||7||Kimi Räikkönen||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||53||DNF||0|
|NC||63||George Russell||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||49||DNF||0|
|NC||8||Romain Grosjean||HAAS FERRARI||49||DNF||0|
|NC||20||Kevin Magnussen||HAAS FERRARI||24||DNF||0|
|NC||18||Lance Stroll||RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES||20||DNF||0|
|NC||33||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING HONDA||11||DNF||0|
Sergio Perez finished 6th and was classified 6th, despite a 5s penalty for pitlane speeding