The Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton enjoyed a comfortable performance advantage throughout the 71-lap encounter, but in the final 10 laps the race exploded into life, with Hamilton handed his penalty after nerfing Albon into a spin on a Safety Car restart on Lap 61. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas won the season-opener for the second year in a row, this time leading from start to finish.
A late surge for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc after a difficult weekend for Ferrari saw him climb to third by the flag, meaning he inherited second after the Hamilton penalty. Behind Norris, Hamilton took fourth, ahead of the second McLaren of Carlos Sainz and Perez. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel – who spun early on in the race after contact with Sainz – in P10, finished just one place ahead of the final finisher, Williams’ Nicholas Latifi.
After describing his Ferrari SF1000 as “undriveable” during the Austrian Grand Prix and spinning after contact with Carlos Sainz, Sebastian Vettel said it he was “happy” to only find himself facing the wrong direction once on his way to a lowly 10th place finish in the season opener.
McLaren’s Lando Norris is the third youngest podium finisher of all-time (behind Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll), and set his first career fastest lap on the last lap. McLaren have their second podium in three races, after previously going five and a half years without one – and in both instances, their car finished fourth on the road before Lewis Hamilton was given a penalty!
It was a nightmare race for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, meanwhile, who experienced a loss of power after just 11 of the 71 laps, costing him a chance of shooting for a third straight win at the Red Bull Ring – while teammate Albon appeared to suffer a similar problem just two laps from the end.
With the teams set to stay on the ground in Spielberg until next weekend, Formula 1 will be back with the Styrian Grand Prix on July 10-12 at the Red Bull Ring.