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Hamilton hopes Mercedes doesn’t invoke team orders

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Lewis Hamilton hopes that Mercedes’ Formula 1 bosses do not invoke team orders following his clash with teammate Nico Rosberg on the final lap of Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix.

The two Mercedes drivers collided while battling for the lead at the Red Bull Ring, leaving Rosberg with damage that meant he could only finish the race fourth.

Hamilton managed to continue and pick up his third victory of the season, cutting the gap to Rosberg in the drivers’ championship down to just 11 points.

Rosberg was deemed to have caused a collision by the stewards, leading team chief Toto Wolff to suggest that team orders may be used in the future to prevent repeat incidents.

Mercedes has persisted with letting its drivers race despite previous clashes, but the latest incident appears to have gone down as one too many.

However, Hamilton told reporters after the race that he wants to be able to race Rosberg freely on-track, having seen the impact of team orders before.

“I grew up wanting to race, and to get to Formula 1 and race the best and be the best by out driving another individual,” Hamilton said.

“I think they showed a replay of maybe Michael [Schumacher] and [Rubens] Barrichello many years ago and I was disappointed as a fan back then. We never want to see team orders like that ever happen.

“The great thing is that Toto and Niki [Lauda] have been great these past three years in allowing us to race and that’s what racing is about. It’s not always going to be blue skies and perfect, but that’s motor racing.

“We’re driving at 200 mph and you expect us to drive around and never have a problem? I doubt it.

“So I hope that it doesn’t change and I hope that we can continue to race. That’s just my honest opinion from my love of this sport.”

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).