On the podium at Lando Norris he creaks another top three, Sebastian Vettel shows why Ferrari drops him and champagne parties are here to stay … SIX things you missed from the Austrian Grand Prix
- Valtteri Bottas won the season opening of the Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg
- Lando Norris was on the podium with the Finn after his first top-three finish ever
- But it was another miserable day in Austria for Lewis Hamilton from Mercedes
After seven months without a race, Formula 1 returned with a bang after a chaotic Austrian Grand Prix on the occasion of the opening race of the 2020 season.
While Valtteri Bottas led the race from start to finish for Mercedes, it was far from easy for the Finn to worry about the reliability and pressure of this teammate Lewis Hamilton to take the win in Spielberg.
But it wasn’t just the Finn who was involved in crazy racing, as Sportsmail looks at the six things you may have missed about the Red Bull Ring.
Valtteri Bottas took the victory for Mercedes in the opening race of the Formula 1 season
Podium places Norris in another top three
This is expected to be a year in which Lewis Hamilton will set or match many Formula 1 records, but he will start the season with one of his own broken.
At just 20 years, seven months and 22 days old, Lando Norris broke the British record of the world champion for the youngest stage sitter who had survived 13 years.
Hamilton is only 15th on the all-time list, but Norris’ performance in Austria means he shoots third overall behind record holder Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll. It’s a sign that F1 is becoming a sport for younger men, while the top seven in the list are currently all on the grid.
Great Britain and McLaren’s Lando Norris became the third youngest stage performer of all time
Champagne parties will continue to exist
There was much uncertainty about how the podium ceremony would be held with regard to health and safety and Covid-19.
Even the drivers looked a little unsure of what to do after the trophies were handed out and folk songs were observed.
But after the drivers lifted their bottles and sipped, they couldn’t resist bringing in old habits as the traditional spraying took place anyway.
After some hesitation, the top three performed the traditional champagne celebrations on a more subdued stage after the action at the Red Bull Ring
Ferrari’s Vettel ax already looks justified
Sebastian Vettel entered the season with one point to prove after being dumped by Ferrari in favor of Carlos Sainz for 2021.
Instead, the German justified their decision only by clumsily tagging his replacement, going into what is now a common turn before finishing second.
A miserable start to the season for the German who unfortunately sees a shadow of the driver who has once driven world championships four times in a row.
Sebastian Vettel has had a disastrous weekend before finishing tenth for Ferrari
Hamilton’s Austrian curse continues
The Red Bull Ring has been a strange circuit for Hamilton since its reintroduction in 2014. He only won once in Austria and that happened in 2016 – the year he missed the Nico Rosberg World Championship.
Even before his five-second sentence was imposed after his clash with Alex Albon, he seemed ready to finish second behind Valtteri Bottas, despite appearing to be the faster driver.
But because of Mercedes reliability issues, he couldn’t challenge his teammate anyway and continued to curse his accident with a fourth-place finish that looked so dominant for most of the weekend.
The bad news for Hamilton is that the next race will be on the same track, in the name of the Styrian Grand Prix.
Despite his success over the years, Hamilton’s bad luck in Austria continued to triumph on the track only once in 2016
Brit of bad luck
George Russell impressed driving for Williams last season, despite not having earned a World Cup point for the once-mighty Grove outfit.
Williams only made one point in 2019 at the German GP in 2019, but the Brit could have won the team’s first points since the German GP just under a year ago to open the 2020 campaign.
He ran in 13th place before fuel pressure issues quit his race with 20 laps to go. He was on this point for Vettel, who achieved the last championship point.
Williams and George Russell did not receive rare points after a fuel pressure failure
F1 missed the track crowd
Formula One is a sport where the action on the track does not require artificial crowd noise to interest people.
But on a day of drama and incident, it was a great shame for Lando Norris not to be able to celebrate his first podium in front of a grandstand that would have been captivated by the 71 rounds of drama on the Red Bull Ring.
The silence of the podium ceremony was a huge comedown after the captivating action that went on and shows that supporters play such a big part in the occasion even in motorsport.
The calm atmosphere after the race as no fans were allowed to watch the Grand Prix was an unfair reflection of what had been an exciting start to the F1 season