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F1: Bottas wins dramatic Austrian opener for champions Mercedes

Spielberg, July 5 (IANS) Finlands Valtteri Bottas bagged a dramatic first race of the delayed Formula One season for champions Mercedes here on Sunday, as Lewis Hamilton was handed a five-second time penalty that dropped him from second place.

Formula One returned this weekend after the 2019-20 season was savaged due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Mercedes pair of Bottas and Hamilton enjoyed a comfortable performance advantage throughout the 71-lap encounter, as per a report on formula1.com.

It was only in the last 10 laps that the race burst into life, with Hamilton handed his penalty after sending Alex Albon into a spin.

Charles Leclerc finished second for Ferrari with McLaren’s Lando Norris taking his first podium.

Held at the Red Bull Ring without spectators, Hamilton took fourth place behind Norris and ahead of the second McLaren of Carlos Sainz and Perez.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had a race to forget, as he experienced a loss of power after just 11 of the 71 laps, costing him a chance of shooting for a third straight win at the Red Bull Ring — while teammate Albon appeared to suffer a similar problem just two laps from the end.

Mercedes had black-liveried cars as the world champions made a visual stand against racism and for diversity in the wake of ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign.

The 2020 season kicked off with the Austrian Grand Prix and will be followed a week later by a second race at the same track on July 12.

The Hungarian Grand Prix will take place a week after that, before a break. Then there will be two back-to-back races at Silverstone (August 2 & August 9), followed by the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona (August 16).

The Belgian Grand Prix will follow that on August 30, with the Italian Grand Prix at Monza a week later on September 6. All the races will be supported by Formula 2 and Formula 3.

–IANS

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