Mercedes avoids gearbox scare at F1 Styrian GP with "solid step forward"

Joanna Estrada
July 13, 2020

Before Formula One kicked off its season last week at Austria's Red Bull Ring, defending champion Lewis Hamilton led all 20 racers to the starting line where an "End Racism" banner flanked them. That was just because I couldn't feel properly what the auto was going to do.

"I think we as Formula One have to be proactive in pushing forward and ending racism and we race as one".

"This feels like it has been a long time coming after a hard weekend last time". "Difficult weekend last weekend but this was a great step forward". "Can we do them all year?" Ferrari's struggles also continued, only placing 10th and 11th.

But after stuttering to an error strewn fourth place at the same track last weekend for the season opening Austrian Grand Prix, the world champion hit back on Sunday in stunning style to take a dominant one-two for Mercedes in front of Valtteri Bottas, admitting he had put in much work to rectify the wrongs between the races at the circuit.

"What a lap", said Sky F1's Martin Brundle as Hamilton improved on his final lap to move 1.2 seconds clear of closest challenger Max Verstappen.

Hamilton sparred with Red Bull's Max Verstappen in the final segment of Saturday's rain-impacted qualifying session, but the Mercedes charger had the last word, beating the Dutchman by a whopping 1.2s margin after executing the ideal lap.

The race itself was somewhat uneventful, other than a flashpoint occurring right at the start at Turn Three.

There was early drama when the two Ferraris collided at Turn Three, Leclerc bouncing off the kerb as he attempted an over-ambitious move to pass Vettel and crashing into the rear of the German's auto. Charles Leclerc later apologised to his teammate, Sebastian Vettel, for the incident, saying he had "let the team down".

With the exception of a single excursion through the gravel, rookie Nicholas Latifi kept himself tidy in his first wet F1 session, qualifying 18th ahead of the stopped Giovinazzi and Romain Grosjean, who completed only one lap before retiring with a water pump issue.

"I am disappointed in myself". I can only be sorry even though I know it's not enough.

"I can't remember that I have seen 1.2 seconds between first and second".

Team boss Mattia Binotto did not pin the blame on Leclerc, although he revealed the Scuderia were at a loss for words. "It's the worst conclusion of a very bad weekend for us.it's not the time to look for responsibility or accuse, it's time to work united". Vettel appeared at fault that time after being overtaken cleanly by Leclerc and trying to regain position.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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