Red Bull GRC: Sandell, Dyne deliver Bryan Herta Rallysport first double top-five of year

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Patrik Sandell finally had a bit of good luck go his way in the fourth Red Bull Global Rallycross round of the season, even if bad luck returned during the final itself.

Sandell ended second at the MCAS New River final round, after leading the opening four laps of the race. He also won a heat race.

Unfortunately, the driver of the No. 18 Kobalt Tools Ford Fiesta ST for Bryan Herta Rallysport lost the lead on the restart when the race was red flagged for Brian Deegan’s accident.

Still, after two DNFs in Daytona and failing to even make the final at Ft. Lauderdale, Sandell might be able to kickstart the rest of his season following this runner-up result.

“The Kobalt Tools team had a great weekend; we were fast all day winning the heat,” Sandell said in a team release. “We were leading the first part of the feature, but unfortunately there was a red flag came out and that’s part of the game sometimes. But we came back strong and got the Kobalt Tools car on the podium!”

Teammate Austin Dyne, who finished second in Round 2 at Daytona, fought through fuel pressure issues on Sunday, but still ended fourth in the No. 14 Castrol MAGNATEC entry.

“The first run it was okay, we struggled to find a fuel pressure problem and were just sputtering and down on power,” he said in a release. “On the start it tried to stall, and I saved it with the clutch. Then it would clear out and run fine. When the red came out and we were in 5th, and that didn’t really help our (engine) problem.”

“We had an awful start, but ended up passing four cars down the backstretch, and ended up in the top three. But we were down quite a bit of power, and just managed to miss the podium with a fourth place finish. Had we had full power, we easily would have podiumed the Castrol MAGNATEC car again.”

The result marks the first double-top five finish for Bryan Herta Rallysport this season.

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

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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).