Two penalties were too much even for world champion Lewis Hamilton, Red Bull met disaster at their Austrian home race and their former four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel also had a Formula One season opener to forget as well.
Hamilton managed to fight from fifth on the grid, after being docked four places for speeding in qualifying, but a five-second penalty over a late collision with Red Bull’s Alex Albon made him have to settle for fourth.
Max Verstappen, winner of the last two Spielberg races, had to retire early in second place.
Teammate Albon followed him out late on after his dream of a first podium ended a little earlier in the incident with Hamilton as he tried to pass the champion for second.
Vettel also spun as he started his final season for Ferrari from 11th on the grid and finished second last in 10th.
Nine drivers failed to finish and Mercedes also battled gearbox sensor problems for race winner Valtteri Bottas as well as Hamilton.
“It’s not been a great weekend for me, yesterday was entirely my fault and to get a penalty today.
It is what it is,” Hamilton said after missing the podium by two-tenths behind McLaren’s Lando Norris, who recorded the fastest lap of the race in the final lap.
“I had great pace, it was a really unfortunate scenario with Alex for us to come together again, I’ll take whatever penalty they feel I deserve and move forward.”
Ferrari meanwhile appeared a little off the pace, although Charles Leclerc impressively finished second from seventh on the grid.
But Vettel, whose contract at the Scuderia has not been renewed beyond the season, had a weekend to forget.
Hamilton, who had made plenty of headlines in the run-up and during the weekend with his big support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and along with 13 other drivers had taken a knee before the start,
took it all in his stride as a somewhat elder statesman now.
He managed only 11th in qualifying and while working his way up made a too optimistic passing move on Carlos Sainz — his successor at Ferrari from 2021 — to go spinning.
Vettel admitted “there was just something wrong” all weekend as he lamented: “It was very difficult to drive, I didn’t recognise the car.
I had a lot of problems staying on the track.”
Hamilton’s next chance comes right away on Sunday on the same course, where he has now missed the podium four times since his lone win there in 2016.
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