Alfa Romeo fined after Kimi Raikkonen's wheel detaches

Alfa Romeo have been handed a €5,000 fine after Kimi Raikkonen’s right-front wheel came off during the Austrian Grand Prix.

Raikkonen had pitted during a Safety Car period, but he prompted it to return immediately after the re-start when his right-front wheel flew off the C39.

The stewards have since said that the nut holding the wheel on was cross-threaded when it was attached to Raikkonen’s car, but cleared them of knowing that the wheel could have come off.

Raikkonen has a tyre failure and joins the long retirement list.

— f1racers (@f1racers_) July 5, 2020

Their report, as quoted by, reads: “Having examined photos of the damaged wheel and the axle shaft it is evident that the wheel nut of the RHS front wheel got cross threaded during the wheel change which was not identified by the wheel gun operator.

“As a consequence the right-front wheel went off when the car was back in the race.

“The stewards accept, however, that neither the team nor the driver had the opportunity to realise that the car was in unsafe condition and therefore did not stop the car.”

Speaking after the race, Raikkonen said: “We had reasonable speed, and then we were unlucky with the first Safety Car.

“Then I think we were in a good position with the tyres but for some reason lost the right front on the re-start.

“I have no idea why, but I think it’s a shame.

“For sure we could have scored some points.”

 Get your hands on the official Alfa Romeo 2020 collection via the Formula 1 shop

Someone who was in the points though was his team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi who finished P9.

“I am really happy with today’s result,” he said.

“After our difficult qualifying yesterday, to get to the points was the maximum we could do.

“The race wasn’t easy, we struggled a little at the start but we got stronger as the race went on. Of course, in such a chaotic race you need a bit of luck, but we were ready to grab any chance with two hands when it came.

“We put up a big fight for this and in the end P9 is a great way to start the season. I am really happy for the guys and girls in the garage and back at home. There’s still a lot to improve but it’s just the first race of the season: there’s plenty of time and I am already looking forward to being back in the car next week.”

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Max Verstappen: I would've easily made podium

Max Verstappen believes that, if not for his electrical issues, finishing on the podium in Austria would’ve been easy.

While Mercedes comfortably had the quickest car all weekend, the Dutchman was consistently their closest challenger.

After qualifying in P3, Verstappen started in P2 due to Lewis Hamilton’s penalty and comfortably held position there at the start. Running the medium tyre, he looked in good shape to challenge Valtteri Bottas for the win.

However, his plans were ruined just 11 laps in when a mechanical issue slowed his car and sent him tumbling down to last place.

It was initially thought to be an engine issue, but an electrical fault now seems more likely. Verstappen himself stated that the team aren’t sure yet.

“I’m not quite sure what happened yet, we’ll investigate and find out but of course that’s not how you want to start the season,” Verstappen said.

“I had a good start, unlike last year, and quite early on I could see that Valtteri was quick so fighting for the win was always going to be a big challenge.”

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While a win may have been difficult to get, the Red Bull driver looked almost certain to take a podium at the least, and he believes that he could have had no trouble doing so.

“I think it would have been an easy podium and third would have been a decent start to the season but what can you do? This is racing and it is what it is, you can’t change the result now,” he added.

“It is a shame for everyone who worked so hard to get us here this weekend but we will just focus on the race next week and hope for something better.”

Things weren’t much better for Verstappen’s team-mate. Alex Albon looked set to get his maiden podium but, trying to take P2, he was hit by Lewis Hamilton and dropped down the order. Laps later, he too retired with a mechanical problem.

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FIA post-race press conference – Austrian Grand Prix

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas won the first race of the season for Mercedes in a chaotic Austrian Grand Prix.

He was joined on the podium by two unlikely names in the forms of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and McLaren’s Lando Norris.

The trio headed off to tell the media all about it.

1 – Valtteri BOTTAS (Mercedes)
2 – Charles LECLERC (Ferrari)
3 – Lando NORRIS (McLaren)

(Conducted by Jenson Button) 

Q: Valtteri, wow! I mean the pressure on you through that race. One safety car, fair enough, but two and the tyre changes for people behind you, but you held it together man. Congratulations. 
Valtteri BOTTAS: Thank you, yeah. There was definitely quite a bit of pressure all through the race. I mean one safety car was still OK, but with the last safety car, I was like: ‘Come on, again?’ There were so many chances to get the lead if I made even a small mistake. He was really quick today, but I managed to keep it together and I could really control the race from my side and obviously no better way to start the season.

Q: Yeah, it’s such an important way to start the season. Having Lewis bearing down on you for most of that race must have been so, so tough. Especially because you had warnings from the team over sensor issues. We saw so many failures out there, I think because of the gearbox, that must have added even more pressure?
VB: Yeah, we had to manage the car quite a lot, so couldn’t really use4 all the kerbs and at some point I was slightly worried that everything would be OK, but I’m glad, both of the cars managed to finish and in the teams standings we’re leading and that’s a very good sign.
Congratulations on an epic win.

Q: Charles, I bet you didn’t expect that result today? 
Charles LECLERC: I did  not expect it either. A huge surprise but a good one. I think we did everything perfect today to finish second. We had a little bit of luck obviously, with Lewis’ penalty and some crashes here and there but it’s part of the race too and yeah, that was the goal – to take every opportunity we had, even though we didn’t have the pace to finish where we were I think. But P2 – I’m extremely satisfied. There’s still a lot of work to do. We are still far away, we are not where we want to be, but anything is possible, so we need to keep the mental strong, all the team work as a team and I’m pretty sure we will come back where want, but it will take time.

Q: You still made the moves count when you had to out there. You were making some great moves in the race. Every time there was an opportunity you seemed to take it and when you are in the position you are, you really have to. 
CL: Yeah, I wanted to be very aggressive because at every safety car I was seeing I was really struggling on exit of Turn 1 all the way to Turn 3 and I knew that there was no opportunity for me here but I knew that my opportunity would come if someone would do a mistake and Lando slowed down a little bit with Sergio at one point and I went for it. And the other one with Sergio also was pretty tough but I really enjoyed it.

Q: Where is Lando? I really want to give you a hug now mate, but I can’t. No words. Awesome. A fantastic race. You guys were always near the front but you got there in the end, you got that first podium. How does it feel? 
Lando NORRIS: I don’t know, I’m speechless I think. The were a few points during the race where I thought I kind of fudged it up quite a bit. I dropped to fifth with a few laps to go. Carlos was almost getting past me, but I didn’t give up and I managed to get past Pérez and I ended up on the podium! It was a long race but I kept going, I kept trying to give it my all. A pretty cool last few laps having to push as much as I can, and you can tell, I’m a bit out of breath. I’m so happy and proud of the team. Considering where we were a few years ago, to last year, to now, I think is a pretty cool achievement and I’m proud to be part of it all.

Q: As you should be. Obviously when you lose your rhythm around here it’s very tricky and as you said you almost got passed by Carlos but then you came back so strong and then you attacked Checo. Very aggressive but it had to be done I guess t6o get within the five-second limit of Lewis. And also you must have a message for this team that has produced this great car for you this weekend? 
LN:The last few laps… when I had to get past Checo, I just knew he had a five-second penalty but nothing more than that. I always seemed to struggle when I was close to the cars ahead, I always seemed more vulnerable to the guys behind. So I knew… not just because of Lewis, because I didn’t know at that time, but I knew I had to try to get past him and then there was the Lewis penalty that came up and then I had to turn it up a little bit and start pushing. Like you said, it’s a lot about rhythm here and I had three really tough laps, locking up, and it was going downhill quite quickly but I recovered well I think and I’m here so I’m happy.


Q: Valtteri, many congratulations. You led every lap but it looked far from easy. Just talk us through it? 
VB: Well, winning a Formula 1 Grand Prix is never easy but today definitely come easy at all. In the first stint Lewis lost a bit of time getting through the Red Bulls, so there was quite a bit of margin. So the first stint actually wasn’t that bad, because I had a decent gap, so I could really control and really make sure we could get to the target stop lap. And I tried to do the right things with the tyres and maintaining the car. The second stint, there was never like massive pressure because I was in front and I could really make sure that we could make it to the end. But there were all these variables in the race. We had some issues with some sensors that were getting damaged by the vibration of the pretty harsh kerbs here, so I had to avoid kerbing. So that costs quite a bit of lap time. And whe4n you’re in the lead, safety car after another, and by the last one I was like “come on”, because in the lead you just want things to be constant and trouble free. So there were many variables. I managed to dodge many bullets today and get the win.

Q: And the re-starts each time, you nailed them? 
VB: Yeah, I think I’m starting to master the re-starts on this track soon, because we had so many today. But you always try to do something different each time., I think the last one was a bit on the limit with safety car line one, crossing with the safety car, but otherwise they were good.

Q: Charles, after you day yesterday when you qualified seventh, I guess you must be very pleased today?
CL: Well I’m extremely happy. It feels like a victory today. We have been struggling from the beginning of the weekend. We’ve had luck in this race with the various safety cars, crashes, penalties but in the end we stayed on track. I gave my maximum and I think we managed the race perfectly with the package we have for the moment and to have a P2, a second place, with the performance we had all weekend, we made the best out of it and I’m extremely happy about our result because the performance is not where we want to be.

Q: And was the car much more competitive today than it was over one lap yesterday?
CL: No. No, unfortunately not. We are quick around the corners but we struggle, so we will have a new package in Hungary to try to fix a little bit more this issue. But we will see. It has been a very, very difficult race today, struggling to overtake and every time someone was making a mistake then I was being very aggressive to try to take the opportunity, which I did, and I’m very happy again to be P2.

Q: Well done, Lando, coming to you. Your first podium in Formula 1. You’ve had a few minutes now to digest it all. What are your emotions now. 
LN: I don’t know… I need to get another one of these (masks). This one is full of champagne, which I’m very happy to say, but it’s like suction, I can’t breathe in it! I’m realty struggling. Cheers. Sorry. I’m just so happy. I was very happy after yesterday. I think we overachieved. We didn’t overachieve but we just maximised everything we had. We just did better than we thought we were going to do because we knew Ferrari were strong and the Racing Points were strong and we knew they were going to be strong today, which they were compared to us. I think today’s race highlighted that we had to keep on pushing through the whole race. Obviously it’s nice when you have a car which is compared to last year more competitive and you can be there or thereabouts on safety car re-starts and so on. I’m so happy, because it very easily could have been the opposite of the result I have right now. I almost got back down to sixth after Charles passed me and it was kind of going downhill and I was all over the place, locking up, going wide, but I knew I had good pace in the car so I had to get my head down and try to get past Perez when he got a five second penalty and yeah, I was fairly aggressive with my overtake but I had to be at that point and then Lewis had a five-second and I only managed to get him on the final lap of the race. I think it was 5.8 onto the final lap and I managed to get it down to 4.8, so I wasn’t in the position I was in and if I didn’t put in the fastest lap of the race, which I’m very proud of, I wouldn’t be here. I just want to say big thanks to the team. I’m probably rambling on a lot but I’m just super happy.


Q: (Edd Straw – The Race) Question to Valtteri. When you had the instruction to back off a bit and keep off the kerbs, how difficult was it to adapt your style while still maintaining the pace, while driving effectively a narrower track – especially knowing you had Lewis behind you and unsure about much he was moderating his speed and keeping off the kerbs when there was a race-win at stake?
VB: Initially it was a tricky one because I was watching in the mirrors and I could see Lewis still pushing pretty hard and making use of all the track – but obviously you want to prioritise the reliability. It took a couple of laps to really optimise the new way of driving and avoiding the kerbs. At least… the kerbs here, the more you go onto them, the vibration just kind of ramps up. So you get a feel what is still OK and what is too much. There’s only a few places where you really need to take care, so after one or two laps, we got used to it. In the end, when I tried for the fastest lap, I think a couple of laps to go, I still was off the kerbs. It didn’t feel right but I had to do it.

Q: (Laurence Edmondson – ESPN) Question for Valtteri. You had a problem in FP2 with the gearbox – was that the same issue that emerged in the race. And then also, were there any calls from the team to stop the racing at the front between you and Lewis – and where you aware that you were actually backing him off the podium at the end, when he caught up with you and obviously had the five seconds penalty?
VB: At any point, there was no call from the team that we would stop racing each other but I got the message that Lewis also has to avoid the kerbs, so in that sense we were in the same boat. For me, the whole race was… I could really control and make sure we get safely to the end with a good amount of tyres left and so on. There was no massive trouble at any point. I got the message that he’s got a five second penalty but there was a double yellow, so obviously you have to slow down quite a bit so then I feel like some drivers maybe slow down a bit less so they could catch-up. At the same time, we were still not using the kerbs. So, I tried to compromise making sure I really get to the flag and win the race, not risk too much, but also I tried to go as fast as I could within those limits. It’s not really my fault that he got the five seconds penalty.

Q: (Ben Hunt – The Sun) Question for Valtteri, slightly off-topic compared to what the other guys are taking about. I want to talk about pancakes. I’ve noticed on your social media that you’ve been having pancakes on Sundays. Is that the new replacement for porridge. Is it a lucky little thing you’ve got going on – you seem to be doing quite well for it?
VB: You know the porridge is hidden in the pancakes. I still use the power of porridge but in the pancakes. My girlfriend always makes them on Sunday. We use oats in them – it’s kind of porridge as well. On top of that, I have a bit of porridge before the race. So, that’s the best thing to have. Lots of power.

Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC) Question for Charles. Charles, you took a couple of wins last and had some really good drives. Where would you rate this one in comparison to those. And also, you trailed Pérez and Lando for much of the race. What made the difference in the closing laps – because obviously you and Lando both had new tyres then as well. 
CL: I would rate this one probably as one of my best races since I arrived in Formula 1 because I really didn’t do many mistakes. I’m extremely happy with the performance, also with the strategy, with our choices. It’s not been easy because in the first part of the race the race was actually pretty boring for us but I really pushed to stay focussed and yeah, we were doing some quite good lap times. We were extracting the maximum out of the car and it paid off at the end, so that was great. And towards the end of the race, it was very tricky because Lando had the new tyres too and I was struggling a lot at the restarts to stay behind them, until Turn Four and then, in all the high speed, we were very quick but in the whole first sector we were struggling a lot. I was just waiting for an opportunity, which I had when Lando tried to overtake Sergio but then I think while he lost a little bit of time, I just went for it and then the same for Sergio a few laps later. I saw an opportunity and I just went for it.

Q: (Phil Duncan – PA) Question for Lando. I think I’m right in saying you’re the third youngest podium finisher of all time in Formula 1, youngest British driver to finish on the podium. Can you just explain a little bit about what that means – particularly from the British perspective, beating the likes of Lewis Hamilton and the rest to be the youngest driver to ever finish on the podium.
LN: I don’t know. I don’t have a great answer for it. I think… yeah… just being on the podium no matter what other scenario there is, unless it’s probably the youngest-ever winner or something like that, then I think I’m just very happy to be on the podium in the first place but for something to come along with it such as what you just mentioned, it’s an added bonus – but it’s not like I’ve gone out of my way to beat these records or anything. I think it’s really a bonus that comes along with hard work and getting the podium in the first place. So, yeah, it’s an extra, and it’s nice to know something’s written down and there’s a little extra that goes along with my first podium but I’m… yes… at the end of the day it’s not the sole objective for why I’m here in Formula 1. It’s not just to break records, it’s to try to win races in the first place and try to do well. It’s a nice record to have, I’m proud of it but I’m happier to just be on the podium, rather than breaking any record.

Q: (Alan Baldwin – Reuters) All three of you. You all had great races but it’s the first race that we’ve had without spectators and also with these special conditions. I just wondered if you could say how it felt racing without the crowd and how hard it was to restrain yourselves afterwards given the necessary self-distancing?
VB: During racing, no difference. Obviously you are fully focussed on your race and the driving.
LN: Do you not ever see the crowds?
VB: Not really! So yeah, during the race your full focus is on the thing. So, no difference but I have to say, what I’ve really enjoyed in the normal F1 is before the race, when we do the drivers’ parade, really seeing the support to all the drivers, seeing the spectators, all the fans, all the flags of different nationalities. It really brings a nice atmosphere before the race, as well as after the race, especially if you have a good result like I had today, it would be nice to share it with that atmosphere that we, for sure, are lacking a little bit now, and to celebrate with the spectators. But, I know there are many loyal fans to me watching at home and I know the most important people to me, my family, they’re watching, they’re supporting and they’re living in the moment with me. But no doubt we’re lacking a bit of atmosphere – but it is what it is. Better to be racing like this than not racing at all – I’m sure we’re still making many people happy that are able to watch the racing. But like post-race, all the procedures, how it goes. I think we’re all still learning but I think, I have to say, FIA, FOM, F1 has done a really nice job with setting everything up, and all the teams as well. It feels very pretty bullet-proof, nicely organised, pretty clear and everything – so we all feel the risk of anyone really getting ill is very minimal. That’s good. I think everyone in our team, we feel very safe racing here.
CL: It’s very strange. We are lacking the passion of the fan, which is why I love the sport so much, to see the passion of people that are watching you. I actually look in the grandstands during the race. Obviously not today because there was not much to look at – but yeah, I miss this. But, as Valtteri said, it’s better to race like this than nothing, so very happy to have been back on track and hopefully the fans enjoyed it from home, and hopefully once it’s safe to do so, they’ll be able to come back. It will definitely be better. And also, as Valtteri said again, the podium, normally there’s cheers, people yelling, this time it was not that way, but it’s like this for now and it’s the best we can do.
LN: I agree with both them really. I think we can all be happy we’re here racing and procedures that are put in place are pretty bulletproof like he said but it’s a bit different for me. These guys are used to being on the podium quite a bit, for me it’s my first time and I think it’s something that makes it so special is always having the crowds there, celebrating there with you, whether they are always your fans or not. It just makes up the atmosphere so much and it adds a lot of excitement and so on, so for me to be here now, there’s no fans to share with and so on, makes it a bit more difficult and it’s still enjoyable but it’s hard to share it as much. I don’t know, like they said, we’re all happy we’re here racing. I think it’s that better than we’re here and there’s no fans rather than nothing at all but hopefully in the future, not too long, we can have the fans back in.

Q: (Christian Menath – Question for Valtteri: you were talking a bit about the last lap. That must have been a pretty strange feeling because in the end you’re fighting or you’re helping your biggest competitor for the championship by risking your own result when you go that fast. How strange was that situation and was it ever considered to swap this position? 
VB: It didn’t feel strange to me, these kind of situations, sometimes in racing, you just get into these situations and you have to deal with them and I was just trying to calculate the risk. I really wanted to win the race, obviously, and think about the points for the team but with the circumstances and the issue we had with reliability concerns obviously you don’t want to take too much risk by trying to find two tenths every lap by hammering the kerbs and then I get a DNF on the last lap, that would not be ideal so I tried to do the best I could really and there wasn’t for sure no discussion, at least, that I know about swapping position and in that way securing more points or anything. I don’t know, I wouldn’t think so.

Q: (Chris Medland – Racer) Couple of questions for Lando: would you just explain what you were told on that final lap, obviously setting fastest lap? Did the team just say give it everything or were you given a target? What instruction did you get? And secondly, you started third and were fighting near the front on the fringe of the podium, could you notice a difference in your own personal confidence racing with these at the front throughout? 
LN: I think the last few laps were… it was kind of difficult because initially I only knew about Sergio having the penalty and I was P4 at that point I think, or P5 and obviously I still wanted P4 and I had pace and he was on the outside so I initially had to judge what risk I would take to try and get past him or whether I would hold position and I would just get the position freely through his penalty but I had much better pace and Carlos was right behind me so Carlos would have gone for every move he could have done, just like he did. So I knew I had to get past him but at that point I still didn’t know about Lewis having the penalty either so I was happy to get past him in the first place and I had clean air which was good for me and I could start putting down some decent laps and start catching Charles a little bit but he was still too far ahead to really catch. And then I think it was with three laps to go that I got told that Lewis had the five second penalty and yeah, we used the rest of our engine modes and obviously I pushed it a bit more in terms of track limits and using the kerbs, because like Valtteri said, it’s quite harsh on the car and when you can, you don’t need to take the risks and you may be backing off a little bit but we didn’t really have any concerns so while I was told I could get on with it and really push it and I took the risks that I needed to but yeah, on the final lap I managed to close in, I don’t know what it was, over a second and a bit on Lewis so that was a key. I got the podium on the final lap of the race. If I was any further back or I didn’t put in as good as a lap, I wouldn’t be here so thankfully we have the car which was quick enough, that I was able to close that… because you know, if it was this time last year I wouldn’t have had the car capable of doing so so it shows our improvement as a team and improvement to the upgrades and development over the winter.

Q: And Lando, how were confidence levels out there? 
LN: It’s cool to be able to race at the front, especially off the grid. I was a little bit nervous, I’m not going to lie. All of my practice starts went pretty terribly. I hit anti-stall on every single one actually so I was dreading it, kind of, but I knew Max was on the medium so I knew I had a good chance against him and looking back at last year we were the best starters of the whole grid. I was confident, still, at the same time but lacking a bit of confidence in myself and not making sure I hit anti-stall again and yeah, I had a good start compared to Max and similar to Valtteri, I think. So it was high enough, I had confidence in what I needed to do and achieve and racing with these guys, but at the same time we knew from the very beginning who we were really racing against, even though it ended up as it did I think we definitely weren’t as quick as the Ferrari or the Racing Point today so… We managed to beat three of them, two Racing Points and one of the Ferraris, so I’m very happy with that.

Q: (Mark Hughes – The Race) Valtteri, I just wanted to ask you about the end of that first stint. The safety car came out (lap 26), what sort of shape were you in at that point because Lewis was pulling… How far away were you from your planned stop and what shape were you in with tyres? 
VB: Ah yes, we stopped at that point, yes. Actually we were not that far from stopping, I think, less than ten laps from the planned stop lap so just about to try and lift the pace. Obviously with the big gap I had at the beginning I could really manage the first stint and make sure that… but from my point of view, the best thing to do for me to win the race was to go as long as possible, so I tried to manage quite a lot in the beginning and middle of the stint and towards the end I would have slept. I would have had a bit more margin to raise the pace so everything was pretty much under control, like I felt really towards the end of the race but just (unclear) every single safety car there’s always a risk. You only need one lock-up or a poor restart and you can lose everything. But at that point, yeah, everything was still OK.

Q: (Alex Kalinauckas – Autosport) Charles, you were behind Seb in the opening practice sessions and then got ahead through qualifying and then obviously in the race today. Was there anything particularly that you changed across the weekend? 
CL: No, to be honest on Friday I haven’t been driving well but I was just driving, I was not very happy with the car either but the driving was not well, where I wanted it to be, so I was quite hard after Friday, and then I was quite a lot happier with both the car and my driving on Saturday morning and put everything together in qualifying so I was happy with this. And then the same for the race pace on Friday afternoon, which was pretty bad, actually very bad on my side and Seb’s one was quite a lot better so I worked hard but I drove a lot better today so yeah, there’s quite a bit on driving from Friday to Saturday but also on the car so we just put everything together for Saturday.

Q: (Ben Hunt – The Sun) Got a bit of a food theme thing going on here. Lando, a picture of the salmon, couldn’t do it this time round due to social distancing and all that. … with the photo? 
LN: Ah. Yet to be decided. We definitely have to do something but it’s obviously got to be within a few rules. Maybe some photoshop will come into it and make it look like something but we’re not going to do the same as last year, we’re thinking of something new, because I definitely want to share this salmon with the team and remember it so that’s the reason I always do it. We can always look back at it and remember the good moments. Something is going to be happening but not decided on what it’s going to be yet.

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Mercedes feared ‘instant kill’ gearbox issue for Bottas

Valtteri Bottas says he managed to “dodge many bullets” en route to Austrian Grand Prix victory as Mercedes feared an early gearbox issue would turn into an “instant kill”.

Bottas led all 71 laps of the race in Austria to score victory in the 2020 season opener, but faced race-long pressure from Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, as well as managing recurring gearbox problems.

Mercedes’ engineers were heard regularly warning Hamilton and Bottas to stay off the kerbs during the race, with the issue emerging early on.

“The situation was pretty serious, right away from the start,” Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said when asked by about the issues.

“We saw it started with issues on Valtteri’s car, but it was something that can be an instant kill. Then it started on Lewis’s car. We didn’t really know what it was.

“We know that it was somehow linked to vibration and agitation of the car. That is why we advised them very early on to keep off the kerbs.

“At the certain stage, it looked like we would not finish the race with both cars. So we were trying to really cruise home.”

Bottas felt comfortable in the lead until the late safety cars bunched the field, allowing the likes of Alexander Albon, Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris to all apply pressure from behind.

“Winning a Formula 1 grand prix is never easy, but today definitely didn’t come easy at all,” Bottas said.

“In the first stint, obviously Lewis lost a bit of time getting through the Red Bulls, but there was quite a bit of margin so the first stint wasn’t actually that bad.

“I could really control and really make sure that we made it to the target stop lap, and try and do the right things with the tyres and do the right thing with the car.

“The second stint, there was never like massive pressure, because I was in front and I could really make sure I could make it to the end. There were all these variables in the race.

“We had these issues with some sensors that were getting damaged by the vibration of the pretty harsh kerbs here, so I had to avoid the kerbing, which obviously costs quite a bit of lap time.

“When you’re in the lead, one safety car after another, but the last one I was like ‘come on, again?’, because in the lead you just want things to be constant and trouble-free.

“There were many variables. I managed to dodge many bullets today and get the win.”

Bottas was able to perfect the race restart each time to keep Hamilton at bay behind, but admitted he ran close to the safety car in the final return to green flag running.

“I think I’m starting to master the restarts on this track because I had so many today,” Bottas said.

“But you always try to do something different each time.

“I think the last one was a bit on the limit with the safety car line one, crossing with the safety car, but otherwise really good.”

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Sebastian Vettel happy he 'only spun once'

Sebastian Vettel was so dissatisfied with the performance of his SF1000 that he said he was glad to have “only spun once”.

It has been a difficult weekend for Ferrari and Vettel especially after he missed out on Q3 for the Austrian Grand Prix, leaving him to start from P11.

But a chaotic opening race of the season presented plenty of opportunities, after all Vettel’s team-mate Charles Leclerc was able to finish P2 behind race winner Valtteri Bottas.

But it was a far less triumphant afternoon for Vettel who on Lap 32 only went and hit his replacement at Ferrari for 2021, Carlos Sainz.


Vettel tries to get past Sainz at Turn 3, there's contact and the Ferrari man spins 🔄

The German drops to P15 #AustrianGP 🇦🇹 #F1

— Formula 1 (@F1) July 5, 2020

Get your hands on the official Ferrari 2020 collection via the Formula 1 store

Vettel would be sent into a spin, but ultimately recovered to finish P10, remarkably for the first time in his career.

But the four-time World Champion was just happy that it was his only spin of the race.

“To be honest I’m happy I spun only once,” he said after the race.

“It was tight, it was Carlos, I think, one of the McLarens, I lost the rear and to be honest, I lost it a couple of times – I’m glad I only spun once.

“It was quite entertaining at the end, but the not the result I wanted.”

Despite the podium for Leclerc, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said it was a sad weekend for the team.

He did hint though at some upgrades possibly arriving for the Styrian Grand Prix to take place at the Red Bull Ring next weekend, when Hungary had previously been pinpointed as the first race where new parts would be available for the team.

“We can be happy for the podium but sad for the performance,” he said.

“Yesterday was really bad and after such a bad quali you’re not expecting a good race.

“I’m happy the way the team has worked through the weekend when you are in such a bad situation it can be hard for the team – the team were united and I’m proud. For next week we’ll analyse the data, maybe bring updates, we are working hard at Maranello on updates… we will see.

“Without looking at last year and comparing it, we’re qualifying a second off [pole] and losing seven-eight tenths on the straights. I’m quite disappointed, but very surprised by the difference and it’s up to us to understand how it’s happened.

“Compared to last year, the engine performance is not as good as it was.”

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Norris thought he had ‘fudged’ podium shot

McLaren’s Lando Norris says he thought he’d “fudged” his charge to a debut Formula 1 podium during a “few moments” of a chaotic Austrian Grand Prix.

Starting from third following Lewis Hamilton’s three-place grid drop for a yellow flag infringement in qualifying, Norris dropped to fifth in the opening laps.

Late five-second penalties for Hamilton for contact with Alexander Albon, and for Sergio Perez for pitlane speeding, Norris found himself in podium contention in the closing laps.

An aggressive move on the Racing Point at Turn 3 gave him some clean air, which he used to post the fastest lap of the race on the final lap and end up within 4.8s of Hamilton at the chequered flag – netting him a first F1 podium in third by just two tenths on corrected time. 

Commenting on the race, Norris said: “I’m speechless. I think there’s a few points in the race where I thought I kind of fudged it up quite a bit.

“I dropped to fifth with a few laps to go, Carlos [Sainz] was almost going to get past me.

“But I didn’t give up and I managed to get past Perez and ended up on the podium.

“I mean it’s a long race, but I kept going and kept giving my all, [I had] a pretty cool last few laps trying to push as much as I can. I am a bit out of breath, but I am so happy and proud of the team.

“Considering where we were a few years ago to now, I think it’s a pretty good achievement, so I’m proud to be part of it.”

Norris says he was aware of Perez’s penalty, but not Hamilton’s at the time, and his hard pass on the Racing Point was more down to being vulnerable to attack from behind owing to struggles following cars.

“The last few laps, when I had to get past Checo, I knew he had a five second penalty but nothing more than that,” he added.

“I always seemed to struggle when I was close to the cars ahead and more vulnerable to the guys behind.

“So I knew – not just because of Lewis, because I didn’t know at the time [he had a penalty], I knew I had to try to get past him.

“And then when the Lewis penalty came, I knew I had to turn it up a little bit.”

McLaren had to lay off around 1200 of its staff across its company during the coronavirus-forced lockdown having been hit hard by the financial fallout wrought by the pandemic.

All of that came months after a member of its race team tested positive for COVID-19 on the eve of the Australian Grand Prix, which led to its withdrawal from the race and ultimately the outright cancellation of the event.

Team boss Andreas Seidl noted that there was “nothing better” than Norris’ result for the team after such a “difficult period”.

“Obviously I’m just proud to be honest to be part of the team today,” Seidl told Sky Sports F1.

“There could be nothing better for the entire team, especially after this difficult period, and such a result to get P3 and P5 I think, it’s simply unbelievable for the entire team.”


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Christian Horner hoping for a Lewis Hamilton 'apology'

Red Bull principal Christian Horner is expecting Lewis Hamilton to apologise for again making contact with Alex Albon when he was in podium contention.

The Safety Car had returned to the pits following Kimi Raikkonen’s retirement, and Albon went about taking P2 away from Hamilton.

Both Mercedes were struggling with gearbox sensor issues and were told to stay off the kerbs.

And using DRS Albon had a run on Hamilton down into Turn 4, shades of the classic Brazilian Grand Prix of last year.

Based on Hamilton's reaction, he's not at fault for the incident with Albon. #F1 | #AustrianGP

— JJ (@TomcatNASCAR_2) July 5, 2020

But just like what happened at Interlagos back in November, Hamilton and Albon collided with the Red Bull man sent into the gravel and to the back of the pack, once again ending his hopes of a first podium finish.

Hamilton was given a five-second penalty, meaning he dropped from P2 to P4, whilst Albon would retire from the race shortly before the end.

After their first coming together back in Brazil Hamilton apologised for the incident, and Horner is hoping for another one.

“It’s been one of those days, this sport can be pretty brutal sometimes and it feels like today has been one of those days,” he told Sky F1.

“Alex drove a good race, he didn’t deserve that, five seconds [penalty] doesn’t do anything for him.

“He could have won that race, strategically we had made the right call to have gone on to the soft tyres, he was in a strong position.

“Twice in three races, you’d start to think he’s got something in for him.

“There was a very similar incident the other way around where Alex squeezed him but gave him enough room at the start of the race.

“You can say that [you need to be patient], but he got the job done, the pass was made, it wasn’t like he was on the entry or whatever, so what overtake is safe at the end of the day?

“I doubt Lewis was every going to wave him past, so we had to use that grip advantage [of the soft tyres] and the grip is in the corners.

“So he has done that. It was just a misjudgement by Lewis at the end of the day, it would be good if he apologised for it.”

Horner said the problem which caused Albon to retire late on was a “totally different” issue to the one which had earlier handed team-mate Max Verstappen a DNF.

“No, it looks something totally different, it looks like something on the power unit side with Alex,” he said.

“But we don’t know whether that’s a result of the knock that he’s had in the trip through the gravel, so we need to get the car back.

“We turned the engine off as a precaution.”

Asked for any positives from the weekend, Horner replied: “That it’s over.

“Coming out with zero points having been in a position to challenge for a victory with Max early on, again we got the tyre call right there and he would have had a really competitive afternoon.

“And for Alex to come away with zero points, in what is going to be a shortened season, feels pretty brutal.

“The positives are we were able to put together a competitive race, but we have some pace to find before next weekend, some work to do, and we will come back in a weeks’ time to try and do a bit better.”

Hamilton has since said that he thought the crash was a “racing incident”.

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‘Stand by’ Justin Allgaier ready for starring role at IMS

Justin Allgaier knew this day was possible, but it still caught him off-guard when Hendrick Motorsports called on him as a relief driver this weekend in the NASCAR Cup Series.

When NASCAR restarted its season in May after a nearly two-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many teams went about designating a “relief driver” in case one of their regular drivers ended up contracting the disease or was placed under a precautionary quarantine.

Allgaier, who drives fulltime in the Xfinity Series for JR Motorsports, had agreed to the role with HMS and on Friday afternoon he got the call.

Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson and his wife, Chandra, had tested positive for COVID-19 and Allgaier was needed to drive Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet in Sunday’s Brickyard 400.

Until Johnson is medically cleared and completes NASCAR’s protocols to return to action, Allgaier could see several starts with Johnson’s team.

“I was honored when they called as asked me to be that guy. I looked at other drivers that have had fill-in rolls in the past and they’ve all done a great job with it. Especially at Hendrick Motorsports, they had a plan in place to make the drivers comfortable, make sure the drivers are fast,” Allgaier said Saturday following the Xfinity race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“That resonates with me as a driver because you’re already on pins and needles when you’re filling in for someone. Even before the pandemic and since, they have had a set of my gear in the hauler. That way I can jump in and drive any of their cars.

“They unloaded the car last night to make sure my stuff was inside of it. (Sunday) morning I’ll have to jump in and make sure that I’m comfortable before they roll through tech.”

Allgaier always understood the situation was possible but until Johnson’s announcement Friday no driver in any of NASCAR’s top divisions had a confirmed coronavirus diagnosis.

“I’ve been sitting every week on stand-by for HMS. They’ve been extremely helpful in that regard on my end. They have a back-up plan for not only myself but for all of their guys,” he said. “So, I’ve sat every week and to be honest, I thought it was kind of crazy.

“I really didn’t expect this opportunity to come. When I got the phone call (Friday) it was about 10 minutes before all of you found out. I couldn’t ask for a better team.

“I’m excited in one aspect, but on the other side of this we’re thinking about Jimmie and his whole family. No matter what happens (Sunday) on the race track, we want to see Jimmie get healthy and see him back at the race track as soon as possible.”

Still, this could prove an unexpected bonus for Allgaier.

Johnson is retiring from fulltime competition in NASCAR at the conclusion of the 2020 season and HMS has yet to hire a replacement for Johnson.

A potential audition? 

Allgaier, 34, has 11 wins in the Xfinity Series and has finished has high as third in the series standings (three different times). He has also made 76 starts in the Cup series, virtually all with smaller, unfunded teams with a best finish of eighth at Bristol, Tenn., in 2015.

“I would say that the list for potential drivers for the No. 48 is long. I don’t know where I fit on that list, but I’ve been very lucky to have a great relationship with Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet, be a part of their program, driving in some of the wheel-force tests for them, Allgaier said.

“For me, this is 100 percent about what I can give. It’s going to be important to go and do what I can do. If an opportunity were to come out of that for me to go somewhere, I would love for that opportunity.

“On the other side of that, I have a great relationship with my team. There’s a lot of moving pieces on that puzzle that would have to be addressed.”

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F1 results: Austrian Grand Prix, Bottas wins amazing race

Valtteri Bottas won an incident-packed Austrian Grand Prix, the first race of the delayed 2020 Formula 1 season, for Mercedes at the Red Bull Ring.

Mercedes’ dominance was challenged by Red Bull but Max Verstappen, who was running second behind Bottas, was forced out with an electrical failure early on. Towards the end of the race, Alex Albon took fresh soft tyres during a safety car period and was passing Lewis Hamilton for second when they made contact, and Albon was spun around.

Ahead of the race Hamilton was moved back on the starting grid from second to fifth, for not lifting off under yellow flags in qualifying when Bottas went off ahead of him.

Bottas led from the start, McLaren’s Lando Norris briefly grabbing second before Verstappen retook the place by Turn 3. Hamilton tried to pass Albon at Turn 4, but was rebuffed. Albon passed Norris for third when DRS was enabled on Lap 3, and Hamilton followed suit a lap later at Turn 1. Hamilton then used DRS to power past Albon for third on the run to Turn 4 on Lap 9.

Verstappen was 3s behind Bottas when his car slowed with an electrical problem at the start of Lap 12. He toured back to the pits, where Red Bull tried to fix it with no avail.

The safety car was deployed on Lap 26 when Haas’s Kevin Magnussen suffered a big spin due to a brake failure, just as Esteban Ocon’s Renault was overtaking him at Turn 3. That sent all the leaders into the pits for their tyre stops, during which Sergio Perez (who took the medium tyre instead of the hard) almost hit Norris, who suffered a slow change on his left-rear wheel.

At the restart, Carlos Sainz attacked Charles Leclerc for sixth but was clipped by Sebastian Vettel as he tried to take advantage, causing the Ferrari driver to spin. Perez soon blasted past Norris for fourth on Lap 33.

Both Mercedes drivers were warned about sensor issues, and told to stay off the kerbs, due to gearbox concerns. Bottas was told he was in “worse shape than the other car”.

Romain Grosjean (brake issues) and George Russell both retired with 20 laps to go, the latter causing a second safety car due to being forced to pull off the track. The restart lasted a matter of seconds, as Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo lost its right-front wheel at the penultimate corner, requiring a third safety car – but not before Albon had grabbed third from Perez.

It left a 10-lap sprint to the finish, with the Mercedes pair ahead of the fresh-tyred Albon, who attacked Hamilton but they collided at Turn 4 and Albon was punted into a spin through the gravel. Hamilton was given a 5s penalty for causing the collision.

Bottas scampered clear to win by half a second over Hamilton. But Hamilton’s penalty meant Leclerc finished second ahead of Norris, with Hamilton falling to fourth. Norris also scored the extra point for fastest lap.

F1 Austrian Grand Prix race results:

Cla Driver Laps Time Points
1 Valtteri Bottas 71   25
2 Charles Leclerc 71 2.700 18
3 Lando Norris 71 5.491 16
4 Lewis Hamilton 71 5.689 12
5 Carlos Sainz Jr. 71 8.903 10
6 Sergio Perez 71 15.092 8
7 Pierre Gasly 71 16.682 6
8 Esteban Ocon 71 17.456 4
9 Antonio Giovinazzi 71 21.146 2
10 Sebastian Vettel 71 24.545 1
11 Nicholas Latifi 71 31.650  
12 Daniil Kvyat 69    
13 Alex Albon 67    
  Kimi Raikkonen 53    
  George Russell 49    
  Romain Grosjean 49    
  Kevin Magnussen 24    
  Lance Stroll 20    
  Daniel Ricciardo 17    
  Max Verstappen 11    

F1 Austrian Grand Prix race fastest laps:

Cla Driver Laps Time Interval km/h
1 Lando Norris 71 1’07.475   230.378
2 Valtteri Bottas 68 1’07.657 0.182 229.758
3 Lewis Hamilton 67 1’07.712 0.055 229.572
4 Charles Leclerc 64 1’07.901 0.189 228.933
5 Carlos Sainz Jr. 63 1’07.974 0.073 228.687
6 Sergio Perez 63 1’08.305 0.331 227.579
7 Alex Albon 50 1’08.432 0.127 227.156
8 Sebastian Vettel 71 1’08.623 0.191 226.524
9 Antonio Giovinazzi 70 1’08.796 0.173 225.954
10 Esteban Ocon 70 1’08.932 0.136 225.509
11 Pierre Gasly 64 1’09.025 0.093 225.205
12 Kimi Raikkonen 48 1’09.031 0.006 225.185
13 Daniil Kvyat 50 1’09.135 0.104 224.847
14 George Russell 49 1’09.317 0.182 224.256
15 Max Verstappen 5 1’09.351 0.034 224.146
16 Nicholas Latifi 63 1’09.662 0.311 223.146
17 Romain Grosjean 46 1’10.228 0.566 221.347
18 Lance Stroll 4 1’10.326 0.098 221.039
19 Daniel Ricciardo 8 1’10.610 0.284 220.150
20 Kevin Magnussen 23 1’10.720 0.110 219.807

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Car Reviews

Tesla Wins PC Magazine's Readers' Choice Award Goes For Connected Cars

Tesla’s vehicles definitely attract attention from people due to their futuristic technology features.

This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX, which makes and sells aftermarket Tesla accessories. The opinions expressed therein are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs, nor have we been paid by EVANNEX to publish these articles. We find the company’s perspective as an aftermarket supplier of Tesla accessories interesting and are willing to share its content free of charge. Enjoy!

Posted on EVANNEX on July 05, 2020 by Charles Morris

Connectivity is one of the four features that will define the 21st-century automobile. The pundits promise us that the car of the future will be autonomous, connected, electric and shared. Everything that’s a thing these days has an acronym, and some are using “ACES” to describe this tetra-trend. But what exactly do we mean when we say “connected?”

Cars have been connected to the outside world almost since the beginning—the first car radio seems to have been installed in 1924. Since then, satellite radio, navigation systems, Bluetooth telephone integration and smartphone controllers such as CarPlay and Android Auto have all taken their places on the dashboard (physical or virtual).

As every Tesla owner or fan knows, the innovative automaker has taken connectivity to an entirely new level. Not only do Tesla’s vehicles elegantly implement all of today’s expected driver assistance and entertainment, but they have an important feature that no other auto brand can match: over-the-air software updates. One of the joys of Tesla ownership is getting into your car and realizing that an upgrade, or a handy new feature, has been enabled while you slept.

The only other automaker that offers a form of two-way connectivity is GM—its OnStar system, which enables remote diagnostics and emergency road services, has been around since 1996. VW says it will implement OTA updates for its upcoming ID family of EVs, and Ford says it will offer over-the-air update capability on its Mustang Mach-E, and will offer it on “most redesigned vehicles in the US” starting this year.

At the moment however, Tesla’s vehicles are unquestionably the most connected on the road. So, it was no surprise that, when PC Magazine added a new section on vehicle connectivity to its annual Readers’ Choice survey, Tesla topped the rankings. The mag’s editors did seem a bit surprised at “the consistently incredible ratings the EVs got for connectivity features and overall as vehicles.”

PCMag defines connectivity in the broadest possible sense, to include a vehicle’s infotainment system, navigation, wireless support and dashboard interface. Even a backup camera (standard on all new vehicles in the US since 2018) is considered a connectivity feature. Tesla’s large screen assured a win in this category: 9.8 out of a possible 10. Mercedes-Benz came in second with a 9.6.

PCMag’s readers gave Tesla a 9.6 for GPS navigation (the #1 spot); 9.4 for Bluetooth implementation (tied for #1 with GMC);  and a 9.3 for the overall system interface.

Above: Yes, this prior software update is already ‘old’ news, but it still showcases an example of how Tesla’s interface is always advancing (YouTube: Tesla)

Tesla topped the rankings overall, with a 9.6 as a car and a 9.5 for connectivity.

For obvious reasons, PCMag’s survey included no questions about over-the-air updates. Maybe next year it will.


Written by: Charles Morris; Source: PC Magazine

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