Hamilton scores 51st win from pole position

MOTORING CORRESPONDENT

DEFENDING champion Lewis Hamilton produced an excellent drive to register his first win of the 2020 season during the Styrian Grand Prix race in Austria.

The world champion 85th career win means that he is now six wins shy of the legendary Michael Schumacer’s record. 

Hamilton led from pole to finish and crossed the winning line 1.2 seconds ahead of his teammate Valterri Bottas.

Bottas, who won the first race of the season a week ago, leads the world championship race by eight points.

Hamilton paid tribute to his team, for the win. “The team did a fantastic job, it was just for me to bring it home. I tried to get the fastest lap but not going to get it with 40-lap-old mediums compared to someone with fresh tyres,” he said.

The Mercedes pair completed a 1-2 finish for Mercedes on a day that rivals Ferrari experienced an afternoon from hell. Both their drivers – Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel were involved in an accident at turn three in the first lap and were forced to retire. 

Leclerc, who drove into Vettel, took full responsibility for the crash, which left his team without a point. “I am disappointed in myself. I’m sorry but being sorry is not enough. Seb hasn’t got any faults today. I’ve let the team down after them working a whole week to bring the updates early. Too eager to gain those places in the first lap. I will learn from it,” he wrote on Twitter.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen claimed the last podium position. He was on course for second position but was passed by a much quicker Bottas late in the race.

Verstappen said his duel with Bottas provided some excitement to a race.  “I tried to push for victory but we are just a bit too slow. I pushed as hard as I could. I tried to make it difficult for Valtteri to pass me, even though I knew he was going to get me the next lap. It was fun because the rest of the race was a bit boring,” the Red Bull driver said.

Red Bull’s Alex Albon tied his career-best finish in 4th place, matching his result from Japan 2019. McLaren’s Lando Norris, who finished 5th, remains 3rd in the world championship.

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, who came home in 6th position – and was the only points scorer to finish in the same position as in last weekend’s race here.  Perez beat team mate Lance Stroll to the line by just 0.066, and was only 0.138s ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.  Stroll’s P7 was his best result since finishing 4th in Germany last season.

Renault’s Ricciardo finished in 8th position. Carlos Sainz secured McLaren the fastest race lap for the 2nd time in a week, the team previously having not scored any since the 2017 Hungarian GP.

The next race is the Hungarian Grand Prix at the weekend.

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2020 Styrian Grand Prix, Sunday Photo: LAT Images/mercedesamgf1.com