Hamilton six wins off Schumacher’s record total after dominating 2nd race of the season; Incredible surge from Norris to take fifth after last-lap drama; Ferrari’s Vettel and Leclerc collide on first lap
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 12/07/20 4:05pm
Lewis Hamilton took his first victory of Formula 1 2020 in dominant fashion in the Styrian GP as Mercedes proved too quick for Max Verstappen, while Ferrari imploded after a first-lap collision between Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc.
After acing pole position in a qualifying deluge, Hamilton provided another masterclass – this time in dry conditions – to streak away from his rivals in a calmer sequel to last weekend’s season-opener at the Red Bull Ring.
“I’m so grateful to be back in first place,” said Hamilton. “It feels like a long time coming since the last race last year and to come back in after a difficult weekend last week is a great, great step forwards.”
Sky F1’s Jenson Button, Hamilton’s former team-mate, added: “He didn’t put a foot wrong in qualifying, he was light years above everyone else on his lap, and today – lights to flag – he did everything he had to do.”
Hamilton is now just six wins away from Michael Schumacher’s record of 91.
He is also only six points behind Valtteri Bottas in the championship, with the Finn keeping his lead thanks to converting fourth on the grid into second place, overtaking Verstappen late on for a Mercedes one-two.
Verstappen drove and defended valiantly, but Red Bull just did not have the pace of Mercedes.
“I tried, but we are just a bit too slow,” said Verstappen. “I pushed as hard as I could.”
That speed difference between the top two teams was proved by Alex Albon finishing 44 seconds behind race-winner Hamilton.
And Albon almost lost fourth altogether, making contact with a charging Sergio Perez, who started 17th, at the same Turn Four corner where the Red Bull driver collided with Hamilton the week before.
Perez sustained front wing damage and dropped back, allowing Lando Norris to enjoy another unbelievable late surge – passing Daniel Ricciardo, and both Racing Points – to take fifth on the last lap.
Lance Stroll and Ricciardo are under investigation for their final-lap tussle.
But the real controversy was provided, once again, by Ferrari. Hampered by slow pace to start the 2020 season, Ferrari shot themselves in the foot as Leclerc shunted into the back of Vettel heading into the third corner of the race.
The collision broke Vettel’s rear wing and the German immediately retired from the race, with Leclerc – who has taken full responsibility for the incident – following him into the garage and an early DNF soon after.
Styrian GP top 10 result
1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
3. Max Verstappen, Red Bull
4. Alex Albon, Red Bull
5. Lando Norris, McLaren
6. Sergio Perez, Racing Point
7. Lance Stroll, Racing Point
8. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault
9. Carlos Sainz, McLaren
10. Daniil Kvyat, AlphaTauri
More to follow.