Gremlins grind George to a halt in Austrian Grand Prix
A fuel pressure problem forced George Russell to retire from the 2020 season opener.
The Briton commenced his battle for the top step of the podium from the best possible position after beating Esteban Gutierrez to pole, posting a 1:16.737s lap to outpace the Mexican by 0.209s.
At the start of the race, however, Gutierrez found the advantage on the initial getaway, pulling alongside and pushing George wide into Turn 1 – an incident that relegated the polesitter to fifth as Charles Leclerc, Alexander Albon, and Nicholas Latifi moved ahead.
Closing in, George cleared team-mate Latifi on lap 3 before advancing into the podium positions when Albon pitted at the close of the fourth tour, next passing Gutierrez with DRS to inherit second place.
With only Leclerc ahead, George followed the Monegasque driver into the pit lane at the end of lap 7, swapping his race-starting Soft tyres for a set of more durable Hards to re-join the race in 10th.
This standing became sixth when Antonio Fuoco, Nicholas Hamilton, Anthony Davidson, and Latifi pitted ahead, with George next passing Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to move into the top five.
Subsequent pit stops for Renault’s Max Fewtrell and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi on laps 13 and 15 promoted George back onto the podium while a second stop for leader Albon created a two-horse race for victory.
Closing in to be within DRS range of Leclerc, George kick-started his fight for first on lap 21, receiving a three-second time penalty two tours later after acquiring multiple warnings for track limits.
With an uphill battle ahead, George overtook Leclerc for the lead on lap 25, only to fall back down to second with seven laps remaining, regaining the position on lap 28 but still with the need to establish a three-second advantage.
Breaking out of DRS range, George extended his lead, sealing victory at the end of the 33rd lap when Leclerc too was handed a time penalty, recording his best result of F1’s Virtual Grand Prix series.
Video Courtesy of Formula 1