Bottas crossed the line 0.6 seconds ahead of Hamilton before the latter was penalised.
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Bottas wins F1 season opener as Hamilton demoted to fourth

Bottas led every leap of the Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg.

VALTTERI BOTTAS WON an incident-packed first race of the new Formula One season in Austria, as Lewis Hamilton was demoted to fourth following a five-second time penalty.

Bottas, who led every lap in a peerless performance, crossed the line just 0.6 seconds clear of his Mercedes team-mate, but the world champion was penalised after he was involved in a crash with Red Bull driver Alex Albon in the closing stages.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc moved up to second, with British driver Lando Norris taking the first podium of his career to finish third.

Red Bull appeared to have pulled off a tactical masterstroke by pitting Albon for fresh tyres during a second of three safety car periods.

On the restart and with just 10 laps of racing left, Albon moved round the outside of Hamilton at the fourth corner but on the exit the Briton refused to concede the position – with his front-left tyre hitting Albon’s right rear.

Albon was launched into the gravel, ending his chances of a dramatic win. The stewards laid the blame at Hamilton’s door.

It marked the second time in three races the pair have collided. Hamilton was also penalised for hitting Albon at last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

The penalty capped a dramatic afternoon for Hamilton, who was earlier sent back to fifth on the grid for a yellow flag infringement in qualifying.

“There were so many chances for Lewis to get the lead if I made a small mistake, but I managed to keep it together and control the race from my side so there is no better way to start the season,” said Bottas.

Hamilton wore a ‘Black Lives Matter’ T-shirt and took a knee before the race in a message against racism. He was supported by 13 drivers, but Leclerc and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen were among six who chose to stand.

“The race is done and I just feel like moving forwards,” Hamilton told Sky Sports.

“It’s not been a great weekend for me. Yesterday was entirely my fault. It was a bit odd today in the preparation to all of a sudden get a penalty, but it is what it is and that didn’t destabilise me, it just encouraged me to go out there and drive as best as I could. And I feel like I did.

“I had great pace to catch up with Valtteri and then a really unfortunate scenario with Alex. It really felt like a racing incident, but I’ll take whatever penalty they feel I deserve and move forward.”

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