Spielberg (dpa) – Grumpy and with a red Ferrari face mask, Sebastian Vettel commented on his false start to the Formula 1 emergency season.
In the superior victory for Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, the Ferrari driver in Austria was already far behind when he completely destroyed the race with a twist. With a 10th place in the Geister Grand Prix in Spielberg, Vettel’s farewell tour, which was thrown away at the Scuderia at the end of the year, started frustrating. The fact that his misery had been in contact with his Ferrari successor Carlos Sainz at McLaren made the debacle perfect.
“I’m glad it was just a turn, it was very difficult to drive, I didn’t recognize the car. I had a lot of trouble keeping on track,” said Vettel disappointed after a chaotic Grand Prix at the end. “The worm was in there somewhere.”
A five-second time penalty after a collision with Red Bull man Alex Albon left world champion Lewis Hamilton in fourth place behind McLaren man Lando Norris, who was 0.1 seconds ahead of the British world champion thanks to the fastest lap. Vettel’s stable rival Charles Leclerc was still in second place behind Bottas. “You have to accept the punishment, it continues,” said Hamilton.
“I’m glad I got the car,” said Bottas, who, like Hamilton, had gearbox problems. “In the end, everything went well.” With a mouthguard on the podium, he was happy with the trophy for his Grand Prix success, then splashed champagne without any dust particles. Second place for Leclerc was “a big surprise, but a good one”. He wanted to take “every chance”.
Formula 1 had to wait seven months since the season finale in Abu Dhabi and four months after Australia’s canceled start. The restart after the Corona crisis then took place with a symbolic act: 14 of the 20 pilots got down on one knee as a sign of protest against racism. In addition to Hamilton, the strongest supporter of this gesture, Vettel also participated in the campaign. In addition, all drivers wore black T-shirts, most commonly labeled as “End Racism”. Hamilton’s shirt said “Black lives matter”.
The Brit, who wants to match Michael Schumacher’s record of seven World Cup titles this season, suffered a setback shortly before the start. Hamilton had to start fifth instead of second because he broke yellow warning flags in his fastest lap during qualifying. The race officials protested the Red Bull team. “You have to be sporty,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
More news from Formula 1
Hamilton’s teammate Bottas, who secured pole position for the Englishman on Saturday, led the field into the first corner after the red lights went out. Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, the winner of the previous two years, was already two seconds behind the Finns after the first round.
However, the Dutchman has experienced a disaster. Due to technical problems, he still pulled his car into the pits in lap 13, but had to end the race early. “It would have been an easy stage, but what can I do?” He said.
After his qualifying debacle, Vettel tried to make up for eleven places in the backfield. Hesse in Spielberg was annoyed by his retirement from Ferrari at the end of the year. He had still received clear signals that the race team actually wanted to continue with him. Vettel then named Mercedes as an option for 2021. “We’ll stick with our two boys,” said Daimler CEO Ola Källenius, but rejected a change of German on the Sky TV channel.
In an emergency with a strict hygiene concept, the racing series still wants to save the World Cup year. At the top, however, the picture of recent years has not changed. The silver arrows, painted black as a sign of discrimination, were leading. And even after the first stop during a safety car phase in lap 26, Bottas and Hamilton were the first duo to get back on track.
The field shrank, the Grand Prix was released four laps later. Then there was a crash at Vettel, who wanted to pass Sainz in his third Ferrari successor. The German made a spin in a duel with the Spanish McLaren man and dropped back to position 15 with seven ranks.
Bottas and Hamilton had to worry. Due to problems with the transmission sensors, both drivers were instructed to stay away from the curbs. The Mercedes duo survived these vibrations, just like a second safety car phase from the 52nd round. When Alex tried to overtake Albon, Hamilton remained cool despite the touch, while Max Verstappen’s stable rival had to make a trip to the gravel bed. The Briton received a five-second sentence, which left him behind.