Lewis Hamilton converted his breathtaking run to pole position into a serene Styrian Grand Prix victory at the Red Bull Ring, leading home Mercedes-AMG teammate Valtteri Bottas to a 1-2 finish. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen was never a threat and finished a distant third after gambling on a late second pit stop in a failed bid to claim a bonus point for the race’s fastest lap.
It was going to be a tough ask to repeat last weekend’s cracking Austrian Grand Prix, and while the sport’s second chapter at the Red Bull Ring provided a rather more sedate affair at the front of the field, a late midfield scrap delivered plenty of entertainment.
Mercedes’ potential dominance over the rest of the field was hidden by a race riddled with Safety Car interruptions last weekend, but there was no such repeat this time around as Hamilton and Bottas left their rivals for dust. On a circuit where the Silver Arrows have traditionally not performed well, to claim two from two is an ominous sign of the team’s intent to claim an historic seventh successive sweep of the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship titles.
After claiming pole position with a masterful lap in the wet on Saturday, Hamilton took a faultless lights-to-flag win on Sunday to trim the points’ gap to Bottas to six points.
“The team did a fantastic job, it was just for me to bring it home,” Hamilton reflected after his victory. “This feels like a long time coming. Difficult weekend last weekend but this was a great step forward. I love back-to-back races. Can we do them all year?”
Verstappen could not match the Mercedes’ for pace and eventually lost second place to Bottas despite some game defence against the Finn. His race was hampered by damage to a front wing endplate – part of which became lodged in his radiator and caused his power unit temperatures to run high. A podium after his early DNF last weekend might feel like some consolation, but the one-lap speed gap to Mercedes will still grate.
Fourth place went to Verstappen’s teammate Alexander Albon – but only just – with the Anglo-Thai driver unable to match the Dutch driver’s speed in the opening stint. By mid-distance he was even under threat of being lapped, and late in the race he had his mirrors full of the Racing Point Mercedes of a charging Sergio Pérez.
The Mexican had driven magnificently from an out-of-position seventeenth on the grid, scything his way through the midfield until he found himself stuck behind Albon in the final laps. Impatience perhaps got the better of Pérez in the end, clumsily knocking his front wing askew on the penultimate lap trying to lunge past his rival.
He almost had enough of a gap to the chasing group behind him, which featured Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll and Lando Norris who waged their own intense battle. Stroll controversially barged past Ricciardo’s Renault on the final lap at Turn 3, with the move allowing Norris to sneak past them both.
The trio then came upon a hobbled Pérez, desperately trying to make it to the finish line, and an enterprising Norris swept by at the final corner to snatch fifth. Pérez crossed the line three-abreast with Stroll and Ricciardo.
The spite between Racing Point and Renault continued off-track, with the French manufacturer lodging an official protest with the FIA over the legality of the RP20’s design – specifically whether its brake ducts have been copied from, or supplied by, engine partner Mercedes.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz claimed ninth and the bonus point for fastest lap. Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top 10 for AlphaTauri.
By contrast, it was a disastrous showing for Ferrari which is quickly finding its 2020 campaign slipping away before it has begun. The hasty upgrades to their SF1000 are proving inconclusive and after qualifying midfield their race was over just seconds after the starting lights went out.
The two cars were squeezed together in the tight jostle at Turn 3, with Charles Leclerc losing it under braking and getting momentarily airborne over the kerbs. That sent his car into the rear wing of teammate Sebastian Vettel, ending both drivers’ races thanks to the irreparable damage. It was the duo’s second collision as teammates, following their controversial coming-together at the Brazilian Grand Prix just three races prior.
With Leclerc’s lucky podium last weekend, Ferrari sits a rather flattering fifth in the Constructors’ Championship behind Mercedes, McLaren, Red Bull and Racing Point.
|FORMULA 1 PIRELLI GROβER PREIS VON STEIERMARK 2020 – FINAL CLASSIFICATION (71 LAPS)|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Laps||Result||Pts|
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team W11||71||1:22:50.683||25|
|2.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team W11||71||+ 13.719||18|
|3.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing RB16||71||+ 33.698||15|
|4.||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing RB16||71||+ 44.400||12|
|5.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL35||71||+ 1:01.470||10|
|6.||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point F1 Team RP20||71||+ 1:02.387||8|
|7.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP20||71||+ 1:02.453||6|
|8.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team R.S.20||71||+ 1:02.591||4|
|9.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team MCL35||70||1 lap behind||3|
|10.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01||70||1 lap behind||1|
|11.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing C39||70||1 lap behind|
|12.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-20||70||1 lap behind|
|13.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-20||70||1 lap behind|
|14.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C39||70||1 lap behind|
|15.||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01||70||1 lap behind|
|16.||George Russell||Williams Racing FW43||69||2 laps behind|
|17.||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Racing FW43||69||2 laps behind|
|Not Classified||Team / Entry||Laps||Reason|
|DNF.||Esteban Ocon||Renault F1 Team R.S.20||25||Overheating|
|DNF.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF1000||4||Damage|
|DNF.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF1000||1||Collision|
Championship points are awarded on the results of the Final Classification of each Grand Prix to the race’s top-ten finishers on a 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 sliding scale.
A bonus point is awarded to the driver finishing in the top-ten (Carlos Sainz Jr.) and their corresponding team (McLaren F1 Team) for posting the fastest lap of the race.
- The classification of Sergio Pérez and Lance Stroll is provisional, subject to the outcome of any decision concerning a protest over their legality from Renault.
Images via Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team