Meeting of champions: Kurt Busch, Lewis Hamilton take part in Monza rally show (PHOTOS)

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Normally the home of Formula One’s Italian Grand Prix, La Pista Magica – Monza – played host to something a bit different this weekend.

The non-championship Monza Rally Show took place over three days, and the event attracted an assortment of top-flight talent from multiple disciplines. One of those drivers was former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch, who finished 32nd in his rallying debut.

But while the Outlaw couldn’t find the top of the leaderboard, he was able to meet up with newly-crowned Formula One champ Lewis Hamilton, who did not compete in the main rally but in a special ‘masters show’ on Sunday:

As for Busch’s thoughts on the event, he said in a release from sponsor Monster Energy: “It’s a blast to race in a foreign country and race against some of the world’s best. In the Masters’ Show, I surprised myself in it and I think I closed out my Sunday very strong.”

Hamilton also said that he had a great time, adding that he wanted to “work with my guys to get a car together so I can come back and compete next year – to do some rallying would be great.”

Also among the main rally competitors at Monza were MotoGP icon Valentino Rossi and Red Bull Global Rallycross star/Gymkhana creator Ken Block:

In the end, former F1 pilot Robert Kubica won the rally over Rossi in come from behind fashion. He was down 5.1 seconds to “The Doctor” entering the final stage, but Kubica finished with a flourish and ultimately beat Rossi by 12.5 seconds.

“We took the same tires but I knew already after the first loop that I was quicker than him, for some reason he did not have the same pace as before,” Kubica said in a team release. “I’m very pleased to win, especially for all the guys at the A Style team.

“Yesterday we took the wrong tire choice, which was too hard, but today it was just right. Throughout this rally, the tire choice was very complicated because of the mixed conditions but we managed to get it right most of the time and enjoy a really good fight against a fantastic driver like Valentino, so I am very happy.”

Some more photos from the event:

source: Getty Images
Kurt Busch puts his Ford Fiesta through its paces at Monza. Photo: Getty Images.
source: Getty Images
Kurt Busch tackles one of the old Monza’s legendary banked turns. Photo: Getty Images.
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New F1 champ Lewis Hamilton greets the Monza fans. Photo: Getty Images.
source: Getty Images
Ken Block, Head Hoonigan in Charge, coming through. Photo: Getty Images.
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Valentino Rossi – he’s not bad on four wheels, either. Photo: Getty Images.
source: Getty Images
Your winner of the Monza Rally Show, Robert Kubica. Photo: Getty Images.

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).