Finland’s Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) won the Formula 1 season’s opening Grand Prix on Sunday, the competition, held behind closed doors in Austria after more than three months of delay due to coronavirus, was characterized by the gesture of several pilots and mechanics kneeling the ground as a sign of support for the fight against racism.
It was with an opening Grand Prix behind closed doors won by Finn Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) that the Formula One season started on Sunday, July 5, after more than three months of delay due to the corona virus. “It would have been nice to share it with onlookers,” said the winner.
Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and Briton Lando Norris (McLaren), climbing for the first time on the box, complete the podium in a twist.
After smothering his champagne-made mask that flowed freely on an otherwise unusual podium, online and with no dignity to present the trophies, Lando Norris also regretted the absence of the public.
“Being here now and not being able to enjoy it with the fans makes things a little harder to understand,” complained the young man, who is playing his second season in F1.
This first real estate man in 2020, in front of empty stands, was merciless to the mechanic, with no less than nine withdrawals of twenty single chairs in the beginning (Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll, Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean, George Russell, Kimi Raikkonen, Alexander Albon and Daniil Kvyat).
Mercedes also feared for its gearboxes for much of the race.
Support for the fight against racism
Before the start, fourteen out of twenty pilots, and several mechanics, placed one knee on the net as a sign of support for the fight against racism.
All pilots were dressed in T-shirts with the words “End Racism”, except Hamilton who carried the slogan “Black Lives Matter”.
Encouraged by the British driver, the first black driver in the category, several drivers and teams, as well as F1 and the International Automobile Federation (FIA), recently took a stand against racism following George Floyd’s death at the hands of police in the US in late May.
On Sunday, the pilots were left to express in their own way their commitment to this fight.
Originally scheduled for March 15 in Australia, the season began to be postponed until early July. Only eight Grands Prix appear on the preliminary calendar, while the championship promoter (Formula 1) wants to program between 15 and 18, instead of 22.