WATCH LIVE: Australian GP Race Day live on NBCSN from 12:30a ET

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With practice and qualifying now in the books, the 2015 Formula 1 season gets fully underway on Sunday with the Australian Grand Prix, giving the drivers their first wheel-to-wheel action of the year.

Lewis Hamilton looks to begin his championship defence in the best possible fashion by claiming a second victory at Albert Park on Sunday.

Starting from pole position, the Briton will fancy his chances after outclassing Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in qualifying.

You can watch the Australian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 12:30a ET today. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.

The breaking news heading into the race on Sunday is that Williams’ Valtteri Bottas will not be taking part in the grand prix, having sustained an injury to his back during qualifying on Saturday.

As a result, just 17 cars will line up on the grid at Albert Park following Manor’s failure to qualify and subsequent rap over the knuckles from the stewards.

Behind the all-Mercedes front row, Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel share the second row of the grid as the battle to be the ‘best of the rest’ hots up. There was very little to separate Williams and Ferrari throughout pre-season, and this looks set to continue in Australia on Sunday.

The other big point of interest in Australia is how the rookie drivers fare. Roberto Merhi had been due to make his debut for Manor, only for the team to not complete a single lap in practice or qualifying and therefore fail to qualify.

That leaves just three drivers – Carlos Sainz Jr, Max Verstappen and Felipe Nasr – making their debuts on Sunday, and all will be hoping to impress.

Only 17 cars may be starting, but this year’s Australian Grand Prix promises to be a thriller to kick off the 2015 season.

You can watch the Australian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 12:30a ET today. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.

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).