Rosberg appeared to turn into Hamilton at Turn 2 and pushed the Englishman off the road, but Hamilton rebounded, resumed and recovered to win the race – while Rosberg damaged his front wing and limped home in fourth.
Mercedes has noted a brake issue for Rosberg’s car, telling NBCSN’s Will Buxton of the issue after the race.
Rosberg blamed the brakes directly, via Auto Motor und Sport reporter Tobi Gruner: “I was sure I will win this race. My brakes were overheating. But I was on the inside line. Was very surprised he turned into me.”
Here’s Rosberg’s video with NBCSN’s Will Buxton:
But both Mercedes-Benz head of motorsport Toto Wolff and non-executive chairman Niki Lauda appeared to place the blame on Rosberg after the race.
Here’s Wolff’s video with Buxton, and further quotes via Gruner:
Lauda: "If I know my brakes are not working properly anymore I wouldn't fight as hard as he did. So in my view Nico is a bit more to blame."
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.
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.
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.