VALTTERI BOTTAS won an incident-packed Austrian Grand Prix – with Lewis Hamilton slipping to fourth after a five-second penalty.
The British star, 35, was hit with a three-place grid penalty before the race after Red Bull contested his qualifying run.
Third place = 15 points
Fastest lap = one point
Champagne trickshot… what do we think? 😜🍾#AustrianGP 🇦🇹 #F1 @LandoNorris pic.twitter.com/4LeVxOydMr
Then a five-second penalty saw Hamilton finish second in the first race back from lockdown – but ultimately slip to fourth in a topsy-turvy weekend.
Incredibly, Hamilton’s penalty meant fellow Brit and McLaren star Lando Norris, 20, bagged his first-ever podium finish.
Norris finished off the race with the quickest lap to boot, earning an extra point.
But maximum points went to Bottas, with the Mercedes man winning the eighth GP of his career.
The race was interrupted three times by a safety car and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with ten laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.
Hamilton was given his five-second time penalty for causing the collision.
Although Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.
But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari and Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria with third place.
It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium and his superb final lap was the fastest of an exciting opening race.
Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third youngest ever in Formula One.
Earlier in the day, Hamilton took a knee in support against racism before the first race of the F1 season as the 20 drivers came together, but six opted not to kneel.
F1 set aside a moment before the Austrian National Anthem for drivers who wished to take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
All 20 drivers gathered at the front of the grid in a show of unity, wearing t-shirts reading ‘END RACISM‘.
Of those, 14 drivers including Hamilton – who wore a Black Lives Matter t-shirt – and Sebastien Vettel took a knee.
However, six drivers opted not to kneel, and instead stood behind those who did.
Max Verstappen, Antonio Giovinazzi, Daniil Kvyat, Carlo Sainz, Charles Leclerc and Kimi Raikkonen were those who stood.
MORE TO FOLLOW…