Controversy stalked Lewis Hamilton all the way through the first Formula One race since Covid-19 – including a five-second penalty for causing Alex Albon to crash.
The Austrian Grand Prix, meanwhile, was won by Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas with a smart drive from pole position. Charles Leclerc was second for Ferrari, with Lando Norris of McLaren third – the young Brit’s first time on the podium.
Hamilton’s penalty meant he finished fourth, despite being only 0.6sec behind Bottas on the track at the end.
The big flare-up came with 10 laps to go as the third of three safety cars peeled away and Red Bull’s Albon sniffed victory.
Albon was lying third but on the fastest, soft tyres. He made his move on Hamilton around the outside of Turn Four but the world champion refused to budge and his front tyres went into the right rear of Albon’s car, sending him into the gravel.
It ended his race.
Bottas led throughout, though for large chunks of the race Hamilton was a second or so within reach.
Norris’ third place was achieved with a brilliant last lap – the fastest of the day – to end up 0.1sec ahead of Hamilton after the adjustment.
The drivers took a knee before the race, bar six of the cast: Max Verstappen, who started second but retired with an engine problem, Antonio Giovinazzi, Daniil Kvyat, Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc and Kimi Raikkonen.
Bottas, who had withstood so much pressure, then took a knee afterwards on the finish straight.
Hamilton drove well, his Albon-involved mistake apart, having been plunged from second to fifth on the grid only 40 minutes before the race for failing to slow down for a yellow flag in qualifying.
Norris became the youngest ever British podium finisher, aged 20, who had started third on the grid.