BOTTAS WINS INSTANT CLASSIC
In a race that no-one could have predicted, in a race that has surely become an instant classic and a fan favourite. Valtteri Bottas came out on top whilst dealing with gearbox sensory issues on his Mercedes whilst Charles Leclerc came home to finish second place after starting seventh place in his Scuderia Ferrari and one of the many shocks of the race was the podium achieved by McLaren's Lando Norris who just months after his teammate (Sainz) achieved his maiden podium in Brazil, Norris has achieved what is surely a dream of his is to be on a socially distanced Formula One podium.
In a race full of drama, penalties and retirements with cars dropping out of the race within 14 laps up until around lap 60 and penalties being awarded right at the death to add to the already mounting drama this season opener had built up. The retirements include;
1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) - Lap 14
2. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) - Lap 19
3. Lance Stroll (Racing Point) - Lap 22
4. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) - Lap 26
5. Romain Grosjean (Haas) - Lap 50
6. George Russell (Williams) - Lap 51
7. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) - Lap 55
8. Alex Albon (Red Bull) - Lap 69 (classed as finishing 13th)
9. Daniil Kvyat (Alpha Tauri) - Lap 70 (classed as finishing 12th)
This left just 11 runners in the race including debutant Nicholas Latifi (Williams) who managed to finish in last but just one place of off a points finish on his F1 debut. In front of him was Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) who for the first time in over 200 F1 Grand Prix's finished in tenth place - to take the final point.
In ninth came home Antonio Giovinazzi beating his best finish of tenth at Austria last year. Esteban Ocon managed a points finish in his return to F1 in eight place. With Gasly (Alpha Tauri) finishing seventh, Perez (Racing Point) coming home in sixth after taking a five second penalty for speeding in the pitlane. Sainz in the much improved McLaren came home in fifth with Lewis Hamilton finishing fourth after receiving a five second time penalty of his own after colliding with Albon in a repeat of Brazil 2019 in very much the same circumstance where if Albon had been able to get through he would have likely taken his maiden F1 podium. And in a podium no-one would have been able to predict at the beginning of the weekend Lando Norris takes third with an extra point for fastest lap with Leclerc in second and Bottas finishing first taking 25 points for him and Mercedes.
And to think that just weeks before this instant classic Leclerc, Russell and Albon were racing virtual lawnmowers live to thousands of viewers.