Reigning Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton claimed a comfortable first victory of the delayed 2020 season in the Styrian Grand Prix, as the Ferrari drivers collided.

Hamilton set up his 85th career victory with a scintillating wet-weather pole lap in treacherous conditions on Saturday and converted his first pole of the year to open his winning account.

It was the perfect response from Hamilton after a disappointing, penalty-ridden season-opening Austrian Grand Prix to land just his second win at the Red Bull Ring.

The Briton’s victory sees him cut the gap to Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in the world championship to just six points.

14 seconds behind Hamilton, championship leader Bottas completed a Mercedes 1-2 after passing Red Bull’s Max Verstappen late on, having made the most of being on fresher tyres than the Dutchman after running longer in the first stint.

Meanwhile, Ferrari’s dreadful start to the season continued as both cars retired early on following a collision on the opening lap.

Having already struggled for pace in a wet qualifying, Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel were caught up in a mess in the middle of the pack at the start of the race.

Leclerc was launched over the kerb at Turn 3 when he attempted an over-ambitious late lunge and subsequently rode up the back of Vettel’s car, leaving the German’s rear wing hanging by a thread.

Vettel returned to the pits and retired instantly, while Leclerc made it a double DNF for the Scuderia just a few laps later as neither Ferrari driver made it past the fifth lap.

Alex Albon struggled to keep up with the pace of the leaders as he finished a low-key fourth after surviving late contact with Racing Point’s Sergio Perez.

Perez had driven an outstanding race to recover from 17th on the grid but suffered front-wing damage as he attempted to pass Albon in the closing stages at Turn 4.

He subsequently slipped behind the late-charging McLaren of Lando Norris on the last lap and pipped Racing Point teammate Lance Stroll to sixth in a photo-finish.

Stroll overtook Daniel Ricciardo during a frantic final lap but is under investigation for his late dive up the inside at Turn 3 that forced the Renault driver to briefly leave the track.

Behind eighth-placed Ricciardo came the second McLaren of Carlos Sainz, who claimed the bonus point on offer with a last-gasp effort to take the fastest lap, while Daniil Kvyat rounded out the points-finishers for AlphaTauri in 10th.

Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen was seventh seconds adrift of the top-10 as he fended off a late attack from the Haas duo of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean to seal 11th, with his teammate Antonio Giovinazzi crossing the line a further few seconds behind.

The two-stopping Pierre Gasly failed to turn his brilliant qualifying effort into points as he struggled on his tyres and fell to 15th, ahead of the Williams pair headed by George Russell.

Russell started 11th but fell towards the rear of the field when he ran wide through the gravel while battling for the midfield positions early on.

His teammate Nicholas Latifi was once again the last runner in 17th place, as Renault’s Esteban Ocon dropped out of contention early on with a reliability failure to join the Ferrari duo on the sidelines.

FULL 2020 STYRIAN GRAND PRIX RESULTS.

 

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