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F1: Verstappen wins in Austria as Mercedes suffers double DNF

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Max Verstappen gave Red Bull Racing its first triumph at their home track by surviving a chaotic Austrian Grand Prix to claim the victory. It is the fourth career victory for Verstappen, and his first of the 2018 Formula 1 season.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel finished second and third, while Mercedes suffered a disastrous day that saw both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas retire – Bottas on lap 15 with a hydraulic failure, and Hamilton with a possible power unit problem on Lap 63.

The day looked promising for Mercedes in the early laps. Hamilton led after getting the jump off the start, while Bottas, who fell back as far as fourth after stumbling off the line from the pole, got back to second after making a three-wide pass on the outside of Raikkonen and Verstappen entering Turn 3.

The two Mercedes WO9s ran 1-2 in the opening stint, but things began falling apart when Bottas pulled off in Turn 3 on Lap 15 with the aforementioned hydraulic issues, causing a Virtual Safety Car to have his machine removed.

Under the VSC, Red Bull Ferrari called their drivers into the pits, while Mercedes elected to leave Hamilton out. It ultimately proved costly when the VSC ended, as Hamilton did not have a big enough lead over Verstappen, Ricciardo, and Raikkonen to stay ahead of them when it came time for him to pit.

Indeed, Hamilton dropped to fourth when Mercedes pitted him on Lap 26, and he was unable to charge forward, with Vettel eventually diving inside of Hamilton entering Turn 3 on Lap 39 to take that position.

It left Red Bull running 1-2 with Verstappen leading Ricciardo, but Ricciardo’s day came unraveled on Lap 39 when he pitted after suffering a blistered left-rear tire. Ricciardo’s day then came to a premature end on Lap 54, when his RB18 suffered a gear sync problem.

His problems moved Raikkonen into second and Vettel into third. Hamilton then ran fourth, but only momentarily before he lost power on Lap 63 and pulled off the track.

Up front, neither Ferrari could catch Verstappen in the closing laps, leaving Verstappen to give Red Bull Racing a home win at the Red Bull Ring. Verstappen also enjoyed a “home win” of sorts, with a strong contingent of Dutch fans converging on the Austrian track.

Haas F1 had their best race of the year, with Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen finishing fourth and fifth, and Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez gave Force India strong results in finishing sixth and seventh.

Fernando Alonso put McLaren in the points by finishing eighth, while Sauber put both of their cars in the points as well, with Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson finishing ninth and tenth.

Race results can be found here and updated standings are below. Vettel now leads the driver’s championship again, by one point over Hamilton. Verstappen now sits fifth, three points behind Ricciardo, while Raikkonen moved up to third.

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Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

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Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

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“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).