Promising qualifying ends in double DNF on lap one for Lotus in Australia (VIDEO)

1 Comment

Lotus F1 Team’s hopes of a strong start to the 2015 Formula 1 season were quickly extinguished as both Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean retired after just one lap in today’s Australian Grand Prix.

After a troublesome 2014 season, Lotus looked to hit back in Melbourne, and appeared to be in good shape after both of its drivers qualified inside the top ten on Saturday.

However, Maldonado’s race lasted just one corner when he was spun into the wall by Sauber’s Felipe Nasr, denying him a chance of points.

“Racing is like this,” the Venezuelan said. “It was quite busy start, going into a narrow corner. I just felt a big hit on the back and didn’t see what happened. It’s disappointing because it was a great chance for us to have a great race.

“The pace of the car was looking much better than in qualifying, so looking forward we can learn from this race. It was a good weekend until today, it’s looking quite promising. In two weeks we will be again fighting for points and again doing our best to be even more competitive.”

Grosjean’s race did not last much longer, with a loss of power on his E23 Hybrid forcing him to park up and retire at the end of the first lap in Melbourne.

“We had a loss of power on the formation lap, there was a technical issue which we are investigating,” Grosjean said. “It’s not how you want to end your race, but we know the car is good and we’re miles ahead of where we were last season. We have a good baseline with the E23 and a good engine.

“We also have new pieces that we are bringing over for the next races, so more performance coming. The first race is always a bit of a tricky one, you never know what might happen and, unfortunately it was bad luck for us today but it doesn’t matter: I’m still very hopeful for the year.”

Given that just 11 cars finished the race in Australia, today was a golden opportunity for Lotus to make a good start to the year and pick up a good haul of points. Now, the team will be turning its attention to the next race in Malaysia and hoping for a better weekend.

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
1 Comment

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).