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Formula 1: Raikkonen laments missed pole in Azerbaijan

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Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen looked destined to grab the pole for Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the Finn leading teammate Sebastian Vettel by two-tenths of a second heading into the final sector of his qualifying run on Saturday.

However, a big mistake in Turn 16 saw Raikkonen get the power down a little too hard on corner exit, kicking the back of his SF71H out and costing him over a second in lap time. All told, the error dropped him to sixth on the grid.

“I went sideways. That’s about it. It was really frustrating losing a pretty decent lap at that point,” said Raikkonen in a piece posted to Formula1.com.

He explained further that he attempted to go easy entering Turn 16, knowing it had also affected several other drivers, but it was to no avail.

“No excuse. I took it easier even on the entry because obviously it’s been a bit tricky all day,” Raikkonen said. “Went sideways, I got it back but at that point already, I knew it was all gone as it’s all flat out and long straights. It was a mistake and cost us quite a few places. Not the greatest ending.”

Raikkonen’s teammate Vettel will start on the pole, with Mercedes AMG Petronas’ Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas starting second and third. The Red Bull Racing duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will also start ahead of Raikkonen in fourth and fifth.

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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.

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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).