Photo: Ryan Tveter PR

Carlin’s Peter Li gives thumbs up a day after his airborne accident

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Despite enduring one of the most terrifying accidents in recent memory, Carlin’s Peter Li is already smiling from his hospital bed as he begins his recovery process.

The Chinese driver struck teammate Ryan Tveter during Saturday’s first of three races in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, then launched over the back to go airborne at a seemingly unreal, video-game level height.

Li landed in the gravel trap at a hard rate, but still without further rollover.

He underwent an initial assessment at the infield medical center and then was transferred to a University hospital by helicoper.

Li was diagnosed with multiple broken bones in his heel and four fractured vertebrae, but was alert and speaking with team personnel. The broken bones will require surgery while the fractured vertebrae will not.

Luckily on social media on Sunday, Li’s team posted him giving the thumbs up, as did Tveter, who was released from the infield medical center after the accident.

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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).