2020 Austrian Grand Prix
|2020 Austrian Grand Prix|
Race 1 of 13[a] in the 2020 Formula One World Championship|
Layout of the Red Bull Ring
|Date||5 July 2020|
|Official name||Formula 1 Rolex Großer Preis von Österreich 2020|
Red Bull Ring|
Spielberg, Styria, Austria
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
|Course length||4.318 km (2.683 mi)|
|Distance||71 laps, 306.452 km (190.420 mi)|
|Time||1:07.475 on lap 71|
The 2020 Austrian Grand Prix (officially known as the Formula 1 Rolex Großer Preis von Österreich 2020) was a Formula One motor race that was held on 5 July 2020 at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria. The race was the opening round of the 2020 Formula One World Championship, and the 34th running of the Austrian Grand Prix (the 33rd as part of the World Championship since 1950) as well as the first of two consecutive races to be held at the Red Bull Ring.
Lewis Hamilton entered the round as the defending World Drivers' Champion and his team, Mercedes as the defending World Constructors' Champion. Max Verstappen was the defending race winner, having won the 2018 and 2019 Austrian Grands Prix. The race was won by Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas with Charles Leclerc in second for Ferrari and Lando Norris finishing third for McLaren – his first podium in Formula One. Norris became the 3rd youngest driver ever to finish on the podium.
Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
The originally scheduled calendar for the 2020 championship was heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Several Grands Prix were cancelled or postponed after the aborted opening round in Australia, prompting the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile to draft a new calendar. The start of the championship was delayed until 5 July, with the Red Bull Ring hosting the Austrian Grand Prix as the opening round of the championship. Organisers of the race signed a contract to host a second round at the circuit on 12 July (a week after the first race) to be known as the Styrian Grand Prix. The back-to-back Austrian races would mark the first time that a country hosts back-to-back races in the same season since 1995 when Japan hosted the Pacific and Japanese Grands Prix.[c] This would also mark the first time in the sport's history that the same venue and circuit layout would have hosted back-to-back World Championship races and the first time that a F1 race weekend was held behind closed doors. The race was the first season opener held in Europe since the 1966 season began with the Monaco Grand Prix.
Twenty drivers representing ten teams entered the race. Scuderia AlphaTauri made their debut as a constructor having previously competed under the name Scuderia Toro Rosso. Esteban Ocon made a return to the championship with Renault. Nicholas Latifi made his competitive debut with Williams.
Pirelli brought C2, C3 and C4 (designated hard, medium and soft respectively) compounds of tyres for teams to use at the event. In recognition of the need to cut costs and to give Pirelli achievable targets due to the congested calendar all drivers received identical tyre allocations getting two sets of hards, three sets of mediums and eight sets of softs.
All three practice sessions ended with Lewis Hamilton in first ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. Red Bull's Max Verstappen was third fastest in the first and third sessions while Racing Point's Sergio Pérez came third in the second session. The first two sessions ran without major incidents, however, the third practice session was temporarily red flagged when Nicholas Latifi crashed at turn one.
Mercedes finished 1–2 in qualifying with Bottas taking pole ahead of his team-mate Hamilton, despite Bottas going into the gravel in his last Q3 attempt, with Max Verstappen 3rd in his Red Bull RB16, 0.5 seconds behind the Mercedes pair. Lando Norris qualified a career best 4th in his McLaren ahead of Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate Alexander Albon in 5th with Sergio Pérez of Racing Point in 6th. Ferrari struggled in the session with Charles Leclerc only qualifying in 7th place, nearly one second off pole position, while his-teammate Sebastian Vettel finished in 11th place, therefore failing to make it into Q3. The rest of the top 10 after Leclerc was rounded out by Carlos Sainz Jr. in 8th in the second McLaren, Lance Stroll 9th in the second Racing Point and Daniel Ricciardo in 10th for Renault.
Earlier in Q1 the Alfa Romeo Racing team saw both their drivers eliminated with Antonio Giovinazzi and his team-mate Kimi Räikkönen qualifying in 18th and 19th places respectively behind the Williams of 2018 Formula 2 champion George Russell and only ahead of the other Williams car of debutant Nicholas Latifi who qualified 20th (last) on the grid.
Post-qualifying, Hamilton was summoned to the stewards for allegedly ignoring yellow flags shown during Bottas's error, but was cleared of any wrongdoing after stewards concluded that "conflicting signals were shown to the driver". However, prior to the race start, Lewis Hamilton was summoned to the stewards for a review of the decision and given a three-place grid penalty after all, following a protest by Red Bull over the FIA's original decision to clear the Mercedes driver of any wrongdoing, presenting new evidence from Hamilton's 360-degree onboard camera.
|3||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing-Honda||1:04.024||1:04.000||1:03.477||2|
|5||23||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing-Honda||1:04.661||1:03.746||1:03.8682||4|
|6||11||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point-BWT Mercedes||1:04.543||1:03.860||1:03.8682||6|
|8||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren-Renault||1:04.537||1:03.971||1:03.971||8|
|9||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point-BWT Mercedes||1:04.309||1:03.955||1:04.029||9|
|18||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari||1:05.175||N/A||N/A||18|
|19||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari||1:05.224||N/A||N/A||19|
|107% time: 1:08.505|
- ^1 – Lewis Hamilton received a three-place grid penalty for failing to slow for yellow flags during qualifying.
- ^2 – Alexander Albon and Sergio Pérez set identical times in Q3; Albon was classified ahead as he set his lap time before Pérez.
The opening lap proceeded without incident, with the only change in position amongst the top ten being Sebastian Vettel claiming tenth place from Daniel Ricciardo. McLaren's Lando Norris, running in third place, was overtaken by Alexander Albon on lap three and then by Lewis Hamilton soon after. Hamilton later entered the podium positions by passing Albon on lap nine.
The first incident of the race came on lap eleven when the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, running in second place, began to slow with a suspected electrical issue. He was able to return to the pits where his mechanics attempted to correct the problem, however this was unsuccessful and he was forced to retire from the race. The ninth-placed Racing Point of Lance Stroll began to suffer power loss on lap 16, allowing Vettel and Ricciardo to close in. However, Ricciardo was soon forced to pull into the pits and retire with suspected overheating issues. On lap 21, Stroll entered the pits and retired from the race, having fallen behind Vettel and the two AlphaTauris. At the same time, 16th-placed Romain Grosjean spun onto the gravel at turn three. He dropped to the back of the field but was able to continue, entering the pits at the end of the lap to become the first driver to change tyres.
On lap 25, 11th-placed Kevin Magnussen went straight on at turn two having suffered a brake failure, bringing out the first safety car of the race. All cars still remaining (bar Grosjean) entered into the pits for their first tyre changes. The order of the top ten after the first round of pit stops was Bottas, Hamilton, Albon, Norris, Pérez, Leclerc, Sainz Jr., Vettel, Gasly and Kvyat. The safety car period ended on lap 31. At the restart, Vettel attempted an overtake on the inside of Carlos Sainz Jr. at turn two. The cars made contact and Vettel's Ferrari was pitched into a spin, dropping him to 15th place. On lap 33 Pérez made it past Norris to take fourth place.
Both Mercedes drivers, running first and second, were warned by their engineers to avoid driving over the kerbs. It emerged that the vibrations were damaging the cars' gearboxes, and it was feared this would cause a failure leading to immediate retirement. Running 15th, Grosjean suffered a brake failure on lap 50, but was able to make it to the pits to retire. At the same time, 13th-placed George Russell lost fuel pressure and pulled onto the grass on the inside of turn three, deploying the second safety car of the race. Eight of the fourteen remaining drivers elected to pit for a second tyre change, including Albon who changed to soft-compound tyres, whilst the leading Mercedes cars stayed out on their hard-compound tyres. The order of the top ten was now Bottas, Hamilton, Pérez, Albon, Norris, Leclerc, Gasly, Ocon, Sainz and Giovinazzi.
The safety car period ended on lap 54. However, almost immediately after the restart, the right-front wheel of Kimi Räikkönen's Alfa Romeo detached from the car and he was forced to stop on the pit straight, bringing out a third safety car. Shortly prior to the safety car deployment, Albon passed Pérez for third place. Racing resumed on lap 61. Shortly after the restart, Albon attempted an overtake on Hamilton for second place around the outside of turn three. The cars made contact, causing Albon to spin into the gravel. He was able to continue but returned to the track last of the running cars in 13th place. Shortly afterwards, Sainz passed both Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly to take sixth place.
Fifth-placed Charles Leclerc began to move towards the front, overtaking Lando Norris on lap 64 and then Pérez on lap 66 to take third place. On the same lap, Hamilton received a five-second time penalty, having been judged by the stewards to have caused the earlier collision with Albon. Pérez then received the same penalty for having sped in the pit lane. On lap 68, Albon pulled over at turn six with an electrical failure and Norris passed Pérez for fourth place at turn two. On the penultimate lap, eleventh-placed Daniil Kvyat suffered a puncture which broke his suspension, the ninth retirement of the race. Sainz then passed Pérez for fifth place on the final lap.
Valtteri Bottas crossed the line, having led every lap of the race, to take the eighth win of his Formula One career and his second win at the Austrian Grand Prix, having won the 2017 edition. Hamilton crossed the line second, but Leclerc took second after Hamilton's penalty was applied. On the final lap, a late push from Norris set the fastest lap of the race and reduced his gap to Hamilton to 4.8 seconds, promoting him to third and a place on the podium for the first time in his career, while Hamilton was classified fourth and Sainz fifth. Pérez's sixth-place finish was unaffected by his time penalty. Gasly took points for AlphaTauri with seventh place on the team's first race since their rebranding, and Ocon finished eighth on his return to the sport after a year out. Antonio Giovinazzi and Vettel rounded out the points positions, with debutant Nicholas Latifi being the only driver to finish the race outside the points in eleventh place.
Norris became the third-youngest driver to finish on the podium in Formula One history (behind Verstappen and Stroll) and the youngest Briton to do so. His fastest lap (1:07.475), the first of his Formula One career, was identical to the fastest lap set by Max Verstappen at the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix.
- ^1 – Includes one point for fastest lap.
- ^2 – Lewis Hamilton finished second on the track, but received a five-second time penalty for causing a collision with Alexander Albon.
- ^3 – Sergio Pérez received a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
- ^4 – Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon were classified as they completed more than 90% of the race distance.
Championship standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
- The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic saw several Grands Prix cancelled or rescheduled. The revised calendar currently consists of thirteen races but the sport's management announced that they expected the final calendar to have as many as eighteen.
- The Grand Prix was held behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Austria.
- The 1995 Australian Grand Prix was the last of the 1995 season and the 1996 race was the first race of the 1996 season, which marks the last time a country hosted two consecutive Grands Prix, albeit not in the same season.
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- Smith, Luke (5 July 2020). "Bottas: Austria GP win not easy as Mercedes feared "instant kill" gearbox issue". autosport.com. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
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- Video on YouTube
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- "Austria 2020 – Championship". StatsF1. 5 July 2020. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
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2020 Styrian Grand Prix
2019 Austrian Grand Prix
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