Here’s how we rated each driver in the Formula 1 season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, as Valtteri Bottas made the perfect start to the campaign…

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes - 9

Valtteri Bottas got his campaign off to a flyer by converting pole position into victory during a race of attrition at the Red Bull Ring. Aside from a spin in qualifying - after he had already done enough to seal pole - the Finn didn’t put a foot wrong as he soaked up race-long pressure from teammate Lewis Hamilton, nailed three Safety Car restarts, and prevailed to the first win on offer in 2020, all despite having to manage gearbox issues that were hampering both Mercedes cars.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes - 6

Not the start to his title defence that Lewis Hamilton was aiming for. The Briton looked red-hot favourite for pole after dominating all three practice sessions in Spielberg, but he was usurped by Bottas in qualifying. A grid drop for failing to slow for yellow flags in Q3 put him on the back foot but Hamilton still had the pace to beat Bottas in the race. A clumsy late collision with Red Bull’s Alex Albon and subsequent time penalty meant he missed out on the podium.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari - 5

A weekend Sebastian Vettel will want to forget in a hurry. The four-time world champion could only qualify 11th in his below-par Ferrari, before a scrappy race followed. A spin resulted from an over-optimistic lunge on McLaren’s Carlos Sainz which dropped Vettel to the rear of the field, before he recovered to claim the final point on offer in 10th, with his job made easier thanks to a number of retirements as only 11 drivers finished.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari - 9

Ferrari appeared to have no hope of a podium after its qualifying disaster but Charles Leclerc starred en route to taking an unlikely second-place finish in Austria. Unlike his teammate Vettel, the Monegasque was able to make it into Q3 and lined up seventh on the grid, before turning in a brilliant drive that was capped off with a bold overtake on Sergio Perez. He profited from Hamilton’s penalty but it was the least he deserved after a battling display.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull - 7

Max Verstappen had been billed as the biggest threat to Mercedes’ heading into the weekend, but even as its nearest challenger, he was still half a second adrift in qualifying and he didn’t look to have the pace in the race. Red Bull had hoped to take the fight to Mercedes by running an alternative strategy with Verstappen starting from second place on Medium tyres, but any hopes of going for the win were crushed after technical issues forced him into an early retirement.

Alexander Albon, Red Bull - 8

Oh, what could have been for Alex Albon. As Red Bull’s sole-remaining hope, Albon drove a smart race to keep out of trouble and looked a sure-fire bet for a podium behind the dominant Mercedes duo. His chances vastly improved when he switched onto Soft tyres following the final Safety Car, meaning he had a grip and pace advantage over the leaders for the sprint to the finish. But Albon was punted off track by Hamilton as he attempted an ambitious overtake around the outside of Turn 4 and later retired. He was convinced he could have won had he not clashed with Hamilton.

Carlos Sainz, McLaren - 7

Carlos Sainz turned in a solid display in Austria to carry on his brilliant form from 2019 despite being overshadowed by his younger teammate in both qualifying and the race. A strong fifth place finish, just three seconds behind Norris, helped McLaren to secure a big points haul that sees it sit second in the constructors’ standings behind Mercedes.

Lando Norris, McLaren - 10

Undoubtedly the star of the weekend. Norris had already impressed in qualifying to land fourth on the grid - which turned into third after Hamilton’s grid drop - and the 20-year-old continued to excel in the race. Despite dropping to fifth early on, Norris remained an outside bet for a podium throughout and a ballsy overtake on Perez put him in prime position to capitalise on Hamilton’s time penalty. However, the job was far from done and Norris needed to deliver the lap of his life on the final tour to set the fastest lap of the race and notch his maiden F1 podium finish.

Daniel Ricciardo, Renault - 7

Daniel Ricciardo initially lost out to Sebastian Vettel with a sluggish getaway but quickly found himself engaged in an exciting scrap for the points-paying positions. The Australian looked destined for a decent result to kick off Renault’s campaign before a loss of power forced him into retirement.

Esteban Ocon, Renault - 6

A quiet if not slightly underwhelming return to F1 for Esteban Ocon,  who rounded out his first grand prix outing in 18th months with a four-point haul in eighth place, largely thanks to the misfortune of other drivers. His recovery to the points came after being nearly half a second off the pace of teammate Ricciardo in qualifying.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri - 8

After missing out on the top 10 in qualifying, Pierre Gasly claimed a strong seventh-place in the race having successfully evaded a multitude of dramas. He fended off Ocon’s Renault and also beat the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi and Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari to get AlphaTauri off the mark at the first attempt.

Daniil Kvyat, AlphaTauri - 7

Daniil Kvyat looked likely to join his AlphaTauri teammate in the points had it not been for a late suspension failure which put him out of what was otherwise a solid showing in the Austrian GP.

Sergio Perez, Racing Point - 7

Sergio Perez led Racing Point’s charge all weekend in Austria, but felt a higher position than sixth place could have been on the cards had the team opted to pit him during the second Safety Car. He struggled with ageing tyres towards the end and also picked up a time penalty for speeding in the pitlane.

Lance Stroll, Racing Point - 6

A much improved qualifying performance enabled Lance Stroll to battle inside the top 10 early on in Austria, but he began to drop down the order amid engine troubles which ultimately proved terminal as his race lasted just 20 laps.

Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo - 5

Alfa Romeo was well off the pace in Austria as Kimi Raikkonen struggled to his worst qualifying result since 2014. The Finn was only really noticed in the race when his wheel fell off following a botched pit stop from his team, compounding a poor weekend.

Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo - 6

Despite Alfa Romeo’s performance struggles, Antonio Giovinazzi drove a smart and sensible race to take two points on offer with ninth place, beating Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the process.

Romain Grosjean, Haas - 5

Romain Grosjean had to nurse his brakes from the start of the race and dropped to last place after an early spin. Following more off-track excursions and getting lost during a trip across the grass, his race ultimately came to an end when he suffered a full on brake failure.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas - 6

Kevin Magnussen fared little better than his Haas teammate and also fell victim to a scary brake failure as he went straight on at Turn 4 under braking amid a scrap with Esteban Ocon on Lap 24.

George Russell, Williams - 8

George Russell was encouraged by Williams’ qualifying performance as he narrowly missed out on a spot in Q2 by just 0.073s, before continuing to impress in the race. Russell looked well-placed to score points in an eventful race until a reliability failure forced him into retirement with just over 20 laps remaining.

Nicholas Latifi, Williams - 6

He may have had no answer to his teammate in qualifying, but Nicholas Latifi’s race pace was more competitive. He nearly had a dream grand prix debut but missed out on points as the last-placed runner in 11th.

 

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