Alex Albon cheated out of a podium finish – Talking points from the Austria Grand Prix
After four months of watching our favourite drivers take to virtual racing, we were finally treated to a spectacle in Austria.
Valtteri Bottas was unfazed, despite gearbox issues, and drove home for the first win in F1. Whereas his teammate managed to stay behind the Finn but was demoted down two places due to a penalty after a collision with Alex Albon.
This allowed Ferrari’s, Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris, who earned his first podium in his career and third youngest in F1 history, to finish 2nd and 3rd respectively. You can read our review here.
Eight retirements, penalties galore, and late drama, they were plenty of talking points across the racing weekend as F1 return for 2020.
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) July 5, 2020
F1 drivers take the knee
Whilst the world was gripped by the coronavirus, we also saw people come together to continue the fight against racism and stand for improved diversity in the wake of the unlawful murder of George Floyd.
F1 has also shown their support to the Black Lives Matter movement by creating the hashtag #WeRaceAsOne and we saw the racers take to the grid in their ‘End Racism shirts’.
Just like other sports across Europe, athletes have also decided to take a knee and most F1 drivers followed suit before lights out, although six drivers decided to stand. Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc announced before the race that they have full support behind the movement but will not take the knee.
I believe that what matters are facts and behaviours in our daily life rather than formal gestures that could be seen as controversial in some countries. I will not take the knee but this does not mean at all that I am less committed than others in the fight against racism.
— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) July 5, 2020
The two young drivers were also joined by Antonino Giovanni, Kimi Raikkonen, Nicholas Latifi, and Carlos Sainz.
Whilst not everyone took the knee, it was still a powerful image in the fight for equality in the sport.
Nightmare weekend for Lewis Hamilton
It was an opening weekend to forget for Hamilton. The British driver thought 2nd was secured in qualifying. Behind his teammate, Bottas in pole position by 0.12secs.
However, Hamilton was under investigation by stewards after it appeared the driver failed to slow down on his flying lap with yellow flags waved in which the stewards decided no punishment.
Well, everyone thought it was over but Red Bull decided to protest against the decision just one hour before the race. New evidence emerged and stewards reversed their decision to demote Hamilton down three places into 5th.
The Mercedes driver was later involved in an incident, colliding with the Alex Albon Lap 61. He was under investigation again and was awarded a five-second penalty. Dropping Hamilton down to 4th place from his original 2nd.
Whilst some supporters believe Albon was naive and rushed his opportunity, I believe Hamilton was in the wrong. The Red Bull driver got in front of Hamilton, who had plenty of space on the inside, and the British driver knew he, and his team, were under threat by the Red Bull.
Karma for Red Bull
The rivalry between Mercedes and Red Bull got underway on Friday evening as the latter appeal to FIA about Mercedes Dual-Axis Steering (DAS) braking two rules. However, it was reviewed, and the FIA said the equipment was legal.
Red Bull tried to get their revenge and protested against Hamilton’s decision from qualifying. Winning the appeal to push Verstappen up to 2nd.
After Red Bull’s hard work, the Dutchman became the first retirement of the day. Verstappen lost power in his engine, as he was closing in on Bottas, and was forced to retire. His teammate, Alex Albon, also suffered similar problems just two laps from the end.
Red Bull were being the snitches of the weekend, and it seemed that paid dividends with car problems.
Lando Norris secures his first podium
A weekend to remember for the 20-year-old!
Lando Norris impressed in the three qualifying sessions. Before finishing 4th on the grid and 0.2secs behind Max Verstappen.
The young British driver struggled for pace in the opening laps of the Austria Grand Prix but managed to contain his position around the top five ahead of a frantic final few laps. Sitting in 5th, Norris got on the inside of Sergio Perez, bumped wheels, before overtaking the Racing Point into 4th.
Norris had the opportunity to finish on the podium with Hamilton’s five-second penalty and was around 5.4secs behind the Mercedes ahead of the final lap. Then, the McLaren driver pulled out one last stunning drive and what drive it was. Norris earned the fastest lap of the race and closed the gap to Hamilton by 4.8secs.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) July 5, 2020
Delight for Charles Leclerc, distraught for Alex Albon
Last year’s rookie driver, Alex Albon, was on course to finish on his first podium in his career in the final 10 laps. It could have even been his first victory in F1 as the Mercedes suffered gearbox issues and the safety car bunch up the pack.
Once the safety car re-entered the pits and racing restarted, Albon started to pile pressure on Hamilton, getting on the outside and ahead of the Mercedes. However, it was like Deja vu for Albon, who collided with Hamilton and spun off the track, falling down to 12th. Albon would have been distraught, and rightly so, after being cheated out of another podium by Hamilton in the past three races.
The Ferrari’s had a mixed weekend with a poor qualifying session. Vettel failed to advance to session three and Leclerc could only manage seventh on the grid.
Whilst the German driver limped into 10th, Leclerc secured a podium in 2nd, after the retirement from Verstappen and Hamilton’s five-second penalty.
Ferrari will be glad to point on the board compared to Red Bull. But will be anxious about their speed across the weekend.
We hope you enjoyed the article ‘Talking points from the Austria Grand Prix.’ What was your favourite moment of the Austrian Grand Prix? Let us know!
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