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F1: Valtteri Bottas dominates season-opening Australian Grand Prix

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Though it may have been the Lewis Hamilton Show throughout Formula One practice and qualifying this weekend, it was Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, who took the top spot on the podium after the Australian Grand Prix season opener Sunday.

The Mercedes driver started second and got off a great start, immediately racing to the inside of pole-sitter Hamilton on the run to the first corner to seize the lead of the race. He never looked back for the remainder of the race as his teammate, nor Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, could keep up.

“I don’t know what just happened,” Bottas said. “I don’t know what to say. It was definitely my best race ever. It felt so good and the car was so good”.

The win was the fourth of Bottas’ career and first since his victory in the season-finale Abu Dhabi GP in 2017.

Hamilton finished second in the Australian Grand Prix for the fourth consecutive season, holding off Max Verstappen, who took third and gave Honda its first podium since the 2008 British GP.

“I had to overtake [Vettel] to get the podium, which isn’t easy around here,” Verstappen said. “To start the season on the podium challenging Mercedes is very good for us”.

Rounding out the top five were Vettel in fourth, and teammate Charles Leclerc in fifth. Haas F1 driver Kevin Magnussen finished sixth, Nico Hulkenberg placed seventh in his Renault, and Kimi Raikkonen was eighth in his first GP driving for Alfa Romeo.

Lando Norris, 19, had a respectable finish of 12th in his first Grand Prix for McLaren.

Robert Kubica was the final driver to finish the race in 17th, three laps down. The Williams driver was making his first start since the 2010 season, having missed the last eight seasons because of a serious hand injury sustained in a rallying crash in 2011.

Of the three drivers to retire, the most notable was Perth, Australia, native Daniel Riccardo. The Aussie went into the grass off the start, losing his front wing. He pitted early to replace it but eventually retired on Lap 31 as a precaution.

Full results are below. The next race the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 31.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

โ€œOur first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,โ€ IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. โ€œThe Xfinity Seriesโ€™ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

โ€œWe canโ€™t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.โ€

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.