2020 Styrian Grand Prix: Ferrari Flashback to Brazil double DNF

Disaster struck for Ferrari as both cars were forced to retire early on in the race after making contact in the opening lap of the Styrian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton took home his first win of 2020 as he comfortably led the Grand Prix to catch up to his teammate in the driver’s standings.

Another Brazil 2019 incident in Austria 2020, as both Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc collided into each other as the Monegasque attempted an ambitious overtake early on.

Lando Norris, McLaren, and Leclerc both took grid penalties after the McLaren failed to follow rules of the yellow flag in Friday’s FP2 session and the Ferrari impeded Alpha Tauri’s, Daniil Kvyat, during yesterday’s qualifying session.

Broken rear wing for Sebastian Vettel as the German was squeezed in the third corner on the opening lap by his Monegasque teammate, who had ended up with a damaged front wing. This prompted the first safety car of the race. However, it was Vettel who was the first driver to retire from the Styrian GP.

Two laps later, the surviving Ferrari was told to pit which resulted in another double DNF for the prancing horse, reminiscent to Brazil 2019 when both Ferrari’s caused their retirements.

“What do you want me to do?”

Max Verstappen to Red Bull, team principle, Christian Horner

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, chased down Red Bull’s Verstappen with under two-seconds between the two drivers on lap 24. However, the Dutch driver raced into the pits to swap his soft compound tyres for the medium, balanced, tyres to attempt an undercut on bottas.

Esteban Ocon, Renault, was the third to retire on lap 26 as he drove into the pits with a cooling issue.

As a reaction to Verstappens earlier pit stop, the race leader, Lewis Hamilton pitted on lap 28 to also swap his soft tyres for mediums as he protected himself from an undercut. However, his teammate Bottas looked to still be threatened by this tactic but Verstappen was reported to be 26 seconds behind the Finnish driver.

Long pit stop for McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, with an issue tightening up the rear left tyre nut. This mechanical problem left Sainz stationary for 7.2 seconds.

Successful undercut for Red Bull as Verstappen was able to fly past Bottas, who was on his way out of the pit lane when the flying Dutchman sped down the pit straight.

Racing Point looked to bully the Renault driver, Daniel Ricciardo, as Sergio Perez overtook Ricciardo on the back straight half way through the Grand Prix. Lance Stroll also gave chase to the Australian, who was in sixth, following in close behind the yellow Renault.

“There will be opportunities, this is good stuff Valtteri. I’ll be quiet, you push”

Mercedes engineer to Bottas, encouraging him to push for Verstappen

The Finland-born Silver Arrow, charged for Verstappen despite trailing the Dutchman for majority of the race. However, on lap 66, Bottas moved up into P2 after overtaking the Red Bull driver on the back straight. Despite this, Verstappen fought back, going wheel-to-wheel with the black Mercedes around turn four and five before he regained P2 in the third sector.

Nevertheless, Bottas retook P2 once again after going around the hairpin, on the outside, at turn three on lap 67. This allowed the Fin to get into a good position behind the Red Bull to comfortably overtake Verstappen towards turn four.

Penultimate lap fight for sixth as Stroll pushed Ricciardo wide at turn three, as the Canadian also went wide. After rejoining the track Stroll was able to remain ahead of the Renault and Norris’ McLaren as the British driver went wheel-to-wheel with the Canadian at turn four. But, the orange McLaren had to yield to the ‘Pink Mercedes’ as they raced into turn five.

On the last lap, after Hamilton won the Styrian Grand Prix, Norris finally stole sixth after he finally overtook the Canadian on the back straight. However, this wasn’t the last overtake for the youngster, as he overtook Perez before the last corner to finish the race in fifth place.

Podium:

  1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
  3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

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