1.20pm: There is set to be a moment of reflection prior to the Austrian national anthem being played at today’s race. It is expected at this point that some of the F1 field will take a knee in support of Black Lives Matter.
Norris addressed the situation on Twitter and said: “One quick message too before people make assumptions about what decisions drivers take on the grid to express their support against racism. We all share the same belief in ending racism and supporting equality for all.”
1.15pm: At the opposite end of the grid to Bottas, Williams new boy Nicholas Latifi will start the first Grand Prix of his F1 career from last place. The Canadian, whose father has been tipped to pump some of his fortune into struggling Williams, crashed during Free Practice 3 and saw the incident impact his qualifying run.
2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen finds himself in the unfamiliar position of starting alongside Latifi on the last row, where the most-experienced and least-experienced drivers on the grid meet. Just ahead of Raikkonen will be Alfa Romeo team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi and Latifi’s team-mate George Russell.
1.10pm: Plenty of pre-race focus has been on whether drivers will take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Verstappen says he will not do so and tweeted: “I am very committed to equality and the fight against racism. But I believe everyone has the right to express themself at a time and in a way that suits them. I will not take the knee today but respect and support the personal choices every driver makes.”
Leclerc, likewise, will not take a knee and tweeted: “I believe that what matters are facts and behaviours in our daily life rather than formal gestures that could be seen as controversial in some countries. I will not take the knee but this does not mean at all that I am less committed than others in the fight against racism.”
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1pm: Bottas set a new lap-record at the Red Bull Ring yesterday as he and Hamilton both managed to undercut the time put down by Ferrari’s Leclerc last year. The 30-year-old went round the circuit in this picturesque corner of Styria in just 1:02.939.
Hamilton was not far behind, though, clocking in at 1:02.951 during Q3 – after which he avoided a potential grid penalty having been accused of ignoring yellow flags and contravening track limits. The Brit has a seventh F1 title in his sights and will want to start with a bang today. However, he may drop to 10th if Red Bull’s late protest sees stewards change their mind.
12.45pm: Hello and welcome to Express Sport‘s live coverage as the Austrian Grand Prix kicks off the 2020 F1 season. Valtteri Bottas starts on pole after the Finn and Lewis Hamilton underlined Mercedes‘ superiority over their rivals during qualifying yesterday. Hamilton is, however, in danger of losing second spot after Red Bull asked stewards to review their decision to not penalise the reigning champion for possibly ignoring yellow flags during Q3.
It’s an altogether different story for Ferrari, who look well off the pace of their long-time rivals and even Red Bull. Sebastian Vettel will start down in 11th in Austria, with his Prancing Horse team-mate Charles Leclerc seventh on the grid.
Max Verstappen completes the top three in Spielberg and this year goes in search of a third win on the bounce at the Red Bull Ring following his victories in 2018 and 2019. The Dutchman’s Red Bull team-mate Alex Albon will start fifth, just behind surprise package Lando Norris, of McLaren.
The action gets underway at 2.10pm (BST) but we’ll be here to bring you the all-important build-up.
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Published at Sun, 05 Jul 2020 12:18:00 +0000