Lando Norris’s podium sees him crack another top-three, Sebastian Vettel shows why Ferrari are ditching him and champagne celebrations are here to stay… SIX things you missed from the Austrian Grand Prix
- Valtteri Bottas won the season opening Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg
- Lando Norris joined the Finn on the podium after his first top-three finish ever
- But it was another miserable day in Austria for Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton
Following seven months without a race, Formula One returned with a bang following a chaotic Austrian Grand Prix to mark the opening race of the 2020 season.
Although Valtteri Bottas led the race from start-to-finish for Mercedes, it was far from straight forward for the Finn who had to nurse reliability concerns as well as pressure from this team-mate Lewis Hamilton to grab victory in Spielberg.
But it wasn’t just the Finn involved in wacky races, as Sportsmail looks at the six things you may have missed from the Red Bull Ring.
Valtteri Bottas took victory for Mercedes in the opening race of the Formula One season
Podium lands Norris in another top three
This is expected to be a year where Lewis Hamilton sets or equals many Formula One records but he starts the season by seeing one of his own broken.
At just 20-years, seven-months and 22-days-old, Lando Norris broke the world champion’s British record for youngest podium sitter which had stood for 13 years.
Hamilton is only 15th on the all-time list but Norris’s achievement in Austria means he shoots up to third overall behind record holder Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll. It’s a sign that F1 is becoming a younger man’s sport when the top seven in the list are all currently on the grid.
Britain and McLaren’s Lando Norris became the third youngest podium sitter of all time
Champagne celebrations remain
There was a lot of uncertainty over how the podium ceremony would be conducted in regards to health and safety and Covid-19.
Even the drivers looked a little unsure of what to do once the trophies had been handed out and national anthems had been observed.
But after the drivers raised their bottles and took a swig of the contents, they couldn’t resist letting old habits kick in as the traditional spraying took place anyway.
After showing hesitancy, the top three carried out the traditional champagne celebrations on an otherwise subdued podium following the action at the Red Bull Ring
Ferrari’s Vettel axing already looking justified
Sebastian Vettel headed into the season with a point to prove after being ditched by Ferrari in favour of Carlos Sainz for 2021.
Instead the German only justified their decision by clumsily tagging his replacement, going into what is now becoming a customary spin, before finishing second from last.
A miserable start to the season for the German who is sadly looking a shadow of the driver who once took four straight world championships.
Sebastian Vettel endured a disastrous weekend before finishing tenth for Ferrari
Hamilton’s Austrian curse continues
The Red Bull Ring has been a strange track for Hamilton since it was reintroduced in 2014. Only once has he won in Austria and that occurred in 2016 – the year he missed out on the world championship to Nico Rosberg.
Even before his five-second penalty handed down following his collision with Alex Albon, he looked set to finish second behind Valtteri Bottas despite appearing to be the faster driver.
However, Mercedes’ reliability concerns meant he could not challenge his team-mate anyway and he was left cursing his misfortune with a fourth place having looked so dominant for much of the weekend.
The bad news for Hamilton is the next race is at the same track, in the name of the Styrian Grand Prix.
Despite his success over the years, Hamilton’s bad luck at Austria continued having only triumphed once at the circuit back in 2016
Brit of bad luck
George Russell impressed driving for Williams last term, despite failing to earn a world championship point for the once mighty Grove outfit.
Williams only picked up one point all season in 2019 at the German GP, but the Brit could have bagged the team’s first points since the German GP just under a year ago to open up the 2020 campaign.
He was running in 13th place before fuel pressure problems put a halt to his race with 20 laps to go. He was at this point in front of Vettel, who took the final championship point available.
Williams and George Russell were denied a rare points finish after a fuel pressure failure
F1 missed the trackside crowd
Formula One is a sport where the on-track action doesn’t need artificial crowd noise to make people interested in it.
But on a day of high drama and incident, it was a big shame for Lando Norris not to be able to celebrate his first podium in front of a grandstand that would have been enthralled by the 71 laps of drama at the Red Bull Ring.
The quietness of the podium ceremony was a huge comedown following the enthralling action that had proceeded it and shows that even in motorsport, the supporters play such a big role to the occasion.
The quiet post-race atmosphere due to no fans being allowed to watch the grand prix was an unfair reflection on what had been a thrilling start to the F1 season
Share this article
Source: Read Full Article