Jenson Button's verdict on the big talking points from F1's Austrian GP

July 05, 2020

On Hamilton's double penalty and Bottas' win

For the second year in a row, Lewis Hamilton lost out to Valtteri Bottas at the year's first race. Like Australia 2019, the six-time champion also crossed the line in second place behind his Mercedes team-mate, but this time was classified fourth after picking up a time penalty for a collision with Alex Albon. That followed what was a three-place grid drop ahead of the race for not slowing sufficiently for yellow flags in qualifying.

Button: "A real tricky couple of days for Lewis with the penalties - but this is one weekend.

"I was his team-mate for three years and I know he comes back really strong after this type of weekend.

"But a great one for Valtteri, he didn't put a foot wrong."

On the Bottas-Leclerc-Norris top three

Socially-distanced and on the grid it may have been, but the 'podium' ceremony was certainly an enjoyable place to be for the post-race interviewer. For Lando Norris, third place represented a maiden F1 podium finish aged 20.

Button: "What adrenaline there was through that race! Really nice to interview those three.

"They are so excited. First of all it's the first race of the season, so to be here they are excited. They all drove great races. An unexpected podium, but fair play to them all - a great job."

On Vettel's spin and difficult weekend

Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari swansong began with a disappointing 10th-place finish after the four-time champion dropped down the order via a botched overtake on McLaren's Carlos Sainz - the driver who will replace him in 2021. Ferrari have admitted they are a long way off the pace they want to be, but Charles Leclerc still salvaged an unlikely podium place.

Button: "It was quite an embarrassing spin. I've always stood up for Seb but that was one that he'll look back and be very upset with himself I think.

"But, luckily, we've got a race next weekend and he'll hopefully have a better one."

On off-the-pace Ferrari's unexpected podium

A second-place finish for Leclerc certainly hadn't been the expectation for underperforming Ferrari heading into the race amid struggles with the SF1000's pace. But with Red Bull scoring no points, it meant Ferrari have opened an early 19-point lead over their rivals in the standings. McLaren, meanwhile, take an early second slot behind Mercedes.

Button: "It's funny because he [Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto, in his post-race Sky F1 interview] didn't mention Mercedes in a way as a competitor. He said 'with our competitors not scoring many points...'

"So he knows who his competitors are, which is good. It is Red Bull and I think next week we're going to see some good points haul for those teams. But it's going to possibly rain and mix it up again!"

On the unusually high-attrition rate

Only 11 of the 20 drivers finished 2020's first race - the highest attrition rate at a Grand Prix since Australia 2015. Even more unusually, all nine retirees appeared to be stopped by technical problems on their cars. Race winners Mercedes also experienced reliability concerns with their gearbox during the race.

Button: "We had so many problems from cars with gearbox issues and brake failures. It's really weird to see this in a new season.

"It's not like things are new with these cars, with the gearbox transmissions. A lot of retirements and it's really mixing it up. It made for an exciting race and mixed-up result."

The new Formula 1 season is underway in dramatic style on Sky Sports F1 and continues this coming week with the second race at the Red Bull Ring - the Styrian GP. Find out more & subscribe.

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