Ricciardo frustrated after engine change in practice

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Daniel Ricciardo’s home grand prix weekend got off to a difficult start on Friday when Red Bull was forced to change the engine on his car after just one practice session in Australia.

Teams have been allocated four power units for the season in 2015, but Ricciardo has been forced to make an early change due to a problem with the internal combustion engine (ICE) on his car.

The Australian does not believe that this will affect his seasonal quota, but was still disappointed to lose the entire second practice session on Friday because of the problem.

“In FP1 it took us a while to get going and we didn’t get out straightaway,” Ricciardo explained. “A problem with the ICE meant we couldn’t run in FP2, but it’s a problem that we can fix for tomorrow.

“There’s a lot of time to do what we need, so there’s no concerns – it wasn’t worth rushing it to get five laps this afternoon. We don’t believe it will affect one of the four engines, so it’s not a massive shot in the foot.”

Throughout the off-season, Ricciardo could hardly contain his excitement to get back racing after an impressive display in 2014, and made no secret of his frustration on Friday in Melbourne.

“The whole week’s been a bit of a tease,” Ricciardo said. “We’ve talked about racing a lot and haven’t done much of it. I’m more and more anxious to drive, so I’ve got ants in my pants.”

Ricciardo has been joined at Red Bull in 2015 by Daniil Kvyat, who acts as Sebastian Vettel’s replacement. The Russian had a far less problematic day than Ricciardo, completing 45 laps in total.

“Everything went quite well and according to plan today,” Kvyat said. “Everything felt good. We will do what we can tonight to prepare for tomorrow. It’s too early to see where we are compared to the others as yet, but we’ll see where we can improve overnight. Tomorrow we will know more.”

You can watch qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix live on NBCSN from 2a ET on Saturday.

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).