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Hamilton strolls to F1 Styrian GP win as Ferraris crash

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-07-13 09:01
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Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton wears a protective face mask as he celebrates winning the race on the podium on July 12, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

BEIJING - Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton cruised to his first win of the 2020 Formula 1 season in the inaugural Styrian Grand Prix on Sunday, leading his teammate Valtteri Bottas home for a dominant 1-2 finish as the two Ferraris collided.

The irregular nature of the 2020 season saw Formula 1 holding consecutive Grands Prix at the same circuit for the first time, with the Red Bull Ring once again being pressed into service after hosting last weekend's Austrian Grand Prix.

Fresh from a supremely dominant performance in Saturday's wet qualifying session, Hamilton led away from pole and was never truly threatened, seemingly having plenty in hand to keep Red Bull's Max Verstappen at bay.

Starting from fourth on the grid, Bottas opted for a different tyre strategy and took advantage of fresher rubber towards the end of the race to catch and pass Verstappen for second with four laps to go.

The Dutchman did his best to keep Bottas at bay but ultimately had to give best to the Finn and settle for third place, acknowledging after the race that the Mercedes were too quick this weekend.

Verstappen's teammate Alex Albon spent most of the race in a lonely fourth place, seemingly unable to keep pace with the leading trio, and came under threat from a charging Sergio Perez late in the race.

The Mexican had progressed well through the field after some good tyre management, but blotted his copybook by snagging his front wing against Albon's right-rear tyre during an attempted overtake, and slowed with the resulting damage.

Perez's ill wind blew Lando Norris good, as the McLaren driver made up three places in the last two laps to finish in a fine fifth place, after a good battle with Perez's Racing Point teammate Lance Stroll and Renault's Daniel Ricciardo, who took seventh and eighth respectively as Perez limped home in sixth.

Norris' teammate Carlos Sainz took ninth, along with the bonus point for fastest lap, and Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top ten in his AlphaTauri.

But it was a dismal day for Ferrari, with both Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc having to retire very early on after colliding at turn three on lap one. For his part, Leclerc was contrite afterwards, noting that his attempted overtake had been too ambitious.

Renault's Esteban Ocon also failed to see the chequered flag, retiring on lap 26 with a cooling issue.

Following his win in last weekend's Austrian Grand Prix, Bottas leads the drivers' championship with 43 point, followed by Hamilton on 37 and Norris on 26.

In the constructors' standings, Mercedes have assumed their customary lead with 80 points, followed by a resurgent McLaren on 39 and Red Bull with 27.

The third round of the 2020 Formula 1 season takes place next weekend with the Hungarian Grand Prix. 

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