While the series has yet to hit the real-world track in 2020 because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s delivered two memorable 10-lap races with 10 riders furiously playing on PlayStation video game consoles.
LCR Idemitsu Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami took the lead after the Lap 1 chaos but quickly was passed by Banaia and Vinales. Nakagami then ran into the wheel of defending series champion Marc Marquez and later took out Alex Marquez.
In his virtual debut, nine-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi took seventh, narrowly missing a chance to pass Danilo Petrucci in the last corner.
“I tried,” Rossi told the MotoGP website. “I tried at the last corner because Danilo was there, not too far away from me, but Danilo was too good on the PlayStation. So, I touched him and I crashed. But anyway, I enjoyed it! My level isn’t fantastic but I will try and improve. for sure.”
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.