Valtteri Bottas may have won today Formula One Opening of the season in Austria, but the real news today is the first arrival of the McLaren Lando Norris driver on the podium, even if he has to thank Lewis Hamilton for having taken advantage of five seconds penalty which brought him back to the fourth place.
Hamilton was slapped with this penalty after a tangle on lap 61 with Red Bull driver Alex Albon. Race officials concluded that Hamilton had not given a full car width outside when Albon was walking around him. Contact between the two ended Albon’s race early.
Albon was far from the only driver to retire early in an exciting way at the start of the season. Red Bulls Max Verstappen’s race ended on round 11, that of Alfa Kimi Raikkonen was out after losing his front right wheel on lap 53, and AlphaTauri Daniil Kvyat was out after a rear tire puncture only two laps before the end of the race. In total, nine drivers have failed to take the first step this season.
Norris’ podium was not the only result for the first time in this race. Lower in the results, SEbastian Vettel made his career in tenth place today, putting a brake on otherwise surprisingly impressive results for Ferrari, due to Charles LeClerc’s second place after a dash from the middle of the pack to the before in the last stages of the race. The LeClerc podium surprised the most after a intermediate performance in qualifying earlier this weekend.
Today’s race was the first to integrate new guidelines to guarantee social distance and a risk of virality, transmission is minimized. Next week, Formula One returns to Red Bull Ring for the second race of the season as the series attempts to minimize travel and exposure to covid-19 for drivers and support staff throughout its 2020 season After this race, it is clear that we will not be satisfied Covid-19 skids. We have to keep our eye on Norris too, provided her car isn’t sold under him, of course.