Despite the infernal roar of the engines, the silence was almost deafening. The Grand Circus of Formula 1 has resumed its laps on the Spielberg ring. But after four months of pit stops due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the cars were driven behind closed doors in Austria. Only 2000 people, all members of the competing teams, were allowed to enter the circuit.
LAP 71/71: 😵 # AustrianGP 🇦🇹 # F1 pic.twitter.com/EkdK92B9Ns- Formula 1 (@ F1) July 5, 2020
The season, which has so far been shortened to ten races, has also started in an unusual way. Before getting into the cockpits, fourteen of the twenty pilots, including six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton dressed in a “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt, placed one knee on the ground in support of the fight against racism.
The Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull), the Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), the Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr remained standing: “I believe that what is important are everyday facts and behaviors more than formal gestures which could be perceived. as controversial in some countries, "said Leclerc on Instagram. "I will not put my knee on the ground but that does not at all mean that I am less committed than the others in the fight against racism. "
Valtteri Bottas wins the first grand prize of the season in Austria
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As is obvious and as it often happened in 2019, it was a Mercedes that triumphed. Painted in black as a tribute to the "Black Lives Matter" movement, it just didn't have the driver you would expect. Lewis Hamilton did not win in Austria.
The world champion even took only fourth place in the race because of a penalty following a collision in the last laps. It was his teammate Valtteri Bottas who triumphed at the end of a lively race marked by nine withdrawals and a pack of penalties: “What a race! rejoices the Finnish winner who wins the 8th Grand Prix of his career. There was a lot of pressure, that of Lewis (Hamilton) who followed me for a long time but in the end, it's a wonderful way to start the season. The same sentiment for Charles Leclerc. A big beneficiary of the 5-second penalty imposed on Hamilton and his demotion to 4th place, the Monegasque climbed onto the podium in second place despite failed qualifications: "It's a huge but a nice surprise," says Leclerc. We did not expect that. We know at Ferrari that we still have a lot of work to do better, but it's a good start. "
In the absence of Hamilton, there is still a Briton on the Austrian podium: Lando Norris (McLaren) who climbs on the box for the first time in his very young career. Among the French, Pierre Gasly finished seventh ahead of Esteban, Ocon, eighth.
#AustrianGP Give a note to the Grand Prix in expert mode pic.twitter.com/gxMynoA28D- CANAL + F1® (@ CanalplusF1) July 5, 2020