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Valtteri Bottas wins Formula One season opener in Austria

Valtteri Bottas, center, stands between second-place finisher Charles Leclerc, left, and third placed Lando Norris
Austrian Grand Prix winner Valtteri Bottas, center, stands between second-place finisher Charles Leclerc, left, and third placed Lando Norris at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday.
(Mark Thompson / Getty Images)

Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday while Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty.

The race was interrupted three times by a safety car and nine of the 20 drivers didn’t finish, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon — who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a five-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

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.

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But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari and Lando 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.


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