Austrian GP: Bottas wins as Leclerc & Norris claim unlikely podiums

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Valtteri Bottas kept his head to claim victory in an action-packed Austrian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver led from start to finish to do just as he did last year and claim the first win of the season at the Red Bull Ring following a crazy final series of laps.

Teammate Lewis Hamilton had a dramatic day, starting with picking up a late three-place grid drop after Red Bull successfully protested his lack of penalty for failing to slow under yellow flags in qualifying dropping him to fifth.

He would make his way up to second though and appeared likely to win, but as he nursed car issues, a late charge from Alex Albon after the third safety car saw the pair collide ala Brazil last year.

For that, the stewards gave the world champion a five-second penalty, dropping him to fourth in the final standings.

There was early drama for Max Verstappen, as after a solid start, electrical issues hit his Red Bull, forcing the Dutchman into retirement.

And technical issues would be the theme of the day as both Haas' retired with brake problems, Lance Stroll suffered a loss of power and Daniel Ricciardo likewise in the Renault.

All this was helping Ferrari as Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel moved up the field.

After the first safety car, however, caused by Kevin Magnussen losing his brakes at Turn 3, the four-time world champion was caught on the inside fighting with his teammate and Carlos Sainz, and spun on the apex, dropping him down the field.

At the scheduled pit-stops, Perez was the only driver to switch to the medium tyres andd he used the extra grip to finally pass Norris in what was then a battle for fourth.

In a repeat of 2016, the two Mercedes began to duel with Hamilton all over Bottas but not able to make the decisive move.

Throughout, both drivers received warnings from the garage about possible sensor issues related to the gearbox, which was keeping the Finn in front.

And the possible technical issues Mercedes faced were proven moments later as Russell retired with a fuel pressure problem in the Williams, triggering a second safety car.

That caused Red Bull to spring into action with Albon, switching the Thai driver back onto soft tyres for the 17-lap sprint to the end.

Green flag racing wouldn't last long though as Kimi Raikkonen's front-right wheel came off coming through the final two corners, causing another safety car.

Just before, Albon had managed to get ahead of Perez for third at Turn 3 and immediately challenged Hamilton at the restart using his faster rubber.


But as Alex tried a move around the outside of Turn 4, the pair would touch, spinning the RB16 into the gravel, resulting in the five-second penalty for the Mercedes.

Chaos then ensued in the battle for the final podium place as Leclerc passed Norris and Perez to claim what would become second after Hamilton's penalty.

Norris then made a late move on the Racing Point for fourth and produced the fastest lap on the final lap to finish within five seconds of Lewis to clinch his maiden podium in third.

Hamilton had to settle for fourth with Carlos Sainz fifth in the second McLaren. Perez's tyre gamble backfired late on as he dropped to sixth after been in podium contention, ahead of Pierre Gasly for AlphaTauri in seventh.

Esteban Ocon marked his return to F1 with four points for P8. Antonio Giovinazzi also capitalised on the retirements for ninthi in the Alfa Romeo and Vettel, after his spin, finished 10th for the first time in a Grand Prix.

Nicholas Latifi just missed out on a point on debut in 11th for Williams and he was the last finisher as Daniil Kvyat and Albon both retired in the closing laps.


A truly chaotic start to the new season and the most unexpected podium with Leclerc limiting Ferrari's woes and Norris superbly claiming his maiden top-three finish.

And you know the best part? We do it all again in Spielberg in just seven days time!