It has been a little while in coming, but the 2020 Formula 1 Season finally got underway last weekend in front of empty stands at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. 10 teams and 20 drivers were on the grid as the season belatedly got underway at the Austrian Grand Prix, the first of a double-header of weekend races at the popular Red Bull Ring circuit, the home of the F1 Red Bull team.
It proved to be an exciting and incident packed weekend, with it being a forgettable one for some teams, a very promising one for one F1 great looking to bounce back into the spotlight and a case of more of the same for the top team in F1 racing over the last few years.
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Let’s take a look back now at the first race of the delayed 2020 Fornula 1 Season which took place last weekend at the Red Bull Ring, the same venue for this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix.
F1 Season Opener – Hamilton Woes as Bottas Wins Austrian Grand Prix
After the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton dominated the practice sessions, the duo then turned that into a dominant performance in qualifying. Bottas qualified on pole for the first race of the season, with. Hamilton very close behind and the pair of them were half a second ahead of Max Verstappen in third.
However, a complaint from Red Bull that Lewis Hamilton had sped during yellow flags in qualifying was upheld and that saw the Brit demoted from second place on the grid to fifth, meaning Verstappen would start second and the fast emerging Lando Norris of the resurgent McLaren team in third, with the other Red Bull Driver Alexander Albon in fourth.
It was a dismal session for Ferrari however as Charles Leclerc could only manage seventh place on the grid, while it went from bad to worse for Sebastian Vettel with the four-time World Champion unable to reach the final session of qualifying as he only managed 11th place on the grid.
It is fair to say that Bottas started well and never looked back as he won the race from pole position and never looked in any real danger of losing that lead, even when it was his team mate in second place behind him.
However, while Hamilton finished second in the race, an incident with Alex Albon, that led to the Red Bull Driver retiring from the race, was judged to be his fault and a time penalty was added to Hamilton’s time, which meant that the current World Champion dropped from second place down to fourth.
That saw Charles Leclerc, who drove well in his Ferrari claim second with Lando Norris becoming the third youngest ever podium finisher in F1 history when he landed third in his McLaren. The full race finishing list is shown below.
The Race Results
- Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 25
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 18
- Lando Norris (McLaren) – 16
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 12
- Carlos Sainz (McLaren) – 10
- Sergio Perez (Racing Point) – 8
- Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) – 7
- Esteban Ocon (Renault) – 4
- Antonio Giovanizzi (Alfa Romeo) – 2
- Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) – 1
- Nicholas Latifi (Williams) – 0
Alex Albon, Danil Kvyat, Kimi Raikkonen, Romain Grosjean, George Russell, Kevin Magnussen, Lance Stroll, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen all failed to finish the race.
F1 Season Race 2 – Styrian Grand Prix
How much will have changed from last weekend’s Grand Prix, where it was clearly evident that the Mercedes cars were, once again, head and shoulders quicker than the rest? In truth, I don’t feel a lot will change and as such, I am expecting both Bottas and Hamilton to be the dominant drivers in both qualifying and during the race.
It is not like you can even question reliability with the Mercedes team as it is almost inevitable that their car will finish each race and it is extremely rare that this does not happen. As such, it looks like being a race for the positions behind the two Mercedes drivers for the rest of the field.
Ferrari are reportedly looking to make a few upgrades to their car in time for the race this weekend and although Charles Leclerc performance in the race was excellent, Vettel was miles off the pace in both qualifying and the race and it does seem as if the German is a little demotivated at the moment, with his future at the team in question.
More interesting was the superb return to form of McLaren. With new engines, the team once again were battling it out at the front of the race and Lando Norris’s superb performance in both qualifying and the race will have got the bosses of the Woking-based team very happy indeed, while Carlos Sainz’s fifth spot finish was not a bad drive at all either.
Red Bull though will want to improve on a miserable opening race where despite showing pace, both their drivers failed to finish the race, although Albon was unlucky after his tangle with Lewis Hamilton. I am expecting them to be in amongst the front runners this weekend if they can get a few reliability issues sorted.
However, for me, it is a straight choice between Hamilton and Bottas to win the race and also for pole position and I am backing the current World Champion to get the job done this weekend to bounce back from his double-penalty last weekend that hampered his chances.
- Pole Position – Lewis Hamilton – 4/6 with bet365
- Race Winner – Lewis Hamilton – 5/6 with bet365