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The 2020 Styrian Grand Prix was a Formula 1.5 motor race that took place on 12 July 2020 at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Styria, Austria. The race was the second round of the 2020 World Championship. It was the first running of the Styrian Grand Prix, and was held exactly one week after the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix on the same track, due to the rescheduling of the season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the race, Lando Norris won after starting 5th, ahead of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll. The result saw Norris take the championship lead by 14 points.

Background[]

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic[]

The originally scheduled calendar for the 2020 championship was heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Several Grands Prix were cancelled or postponed after the planned opening round in Australia was called off two days before the race was due to take place, prompting the FIA to draft a new calendar. The start of the championship was delayed until 5 July, with the Red Bull Ring hosting the Austrian Grand Prix as the opening round of the championship. Organisers of the race signed a contract with Liberty Media, the sport's commercial rights holder, to host a second round at the circuit on 12 July (a week after the first race) to be known as the "Styrian Grand Prix". The race was named for Styria, the state of Austria that the Red Bull Ring is located in. The back-to-back Austrian races marked the first time that a country hosted back-to-back races in the same season since 1995 when Japan hosted the Pacific and Japanese Grands Prix. The race was also the first time in the sport's history that the same venue and circuit layout hosted back-to-back World Championship races.

Car Upgrades[]

Ferrari brought and introduced a wide range of updates to the Ferrari SF1000. The upgrades were originally scheduled for the Hungarian Grand Prix but were brought forward after a poor performance at the Austrian Grand Prix. McLaren used a new chin spoiler design.

Championship standings before the race[]

After the first round at the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc lead the drivers the championship by 6 points over Lando Norris, with Carlos Sainz just a futher 3 points back. In the constructor standings McLaren lead with 34 points, just 5 ahead of Ferrari in 2nd place.

Enterants[]

The drivers and teams were the same as the season entry list with no additional stand-in drivers for the race. Jack Aitken and Robert Kubica drove in the first practice session for Williams and Alfa Romeo Racing respectively. Aitken replaced George Russell, while Kubica replaced Antonio Giovinazzi.

Tyres[]

The medium hardness selection of C2, C3 and C4 tyre compounds were made available for teams to use by Pirelli, the same compound selections used at the Austrian Grand Prix on the same circuit the week before.

Practice[]

The first practice session ended with Sergio Pérez fastest for Racing Point ahead of team mate Lance Stroll and McLaren's Carlos Sainz. Lando Norris was given a three-place grid penalty after overtaking another car under yellow flag conditions, which came after Nicholas Latifi was forced to pull over to the side of the track with gearbox issues. Kevin Magnussen was unable to set a lap time during the session due to battery problems.

The second practice session ended with Perez fastest, followed by Stroll and Sainz. Daniel Ricciardo's session ended early when his Renault R.S.20 left the track at turn nine and crashed heavily into the barriers at the exit of the corner, bringing out the red flags. Ricciardo confirmed over the radio that he was fine and was taken to the circuit's medical centre where he was declared fit to race. Lando Norris cited chest and back pain as the reason for doing fewer laps in practice than teammate Carlos Sainz Jr., however his condition had improved by the following morning.

The third practice session was cancelled due to heavy rain.

Qualifying[]

The session was the first entirely wet qualifying session at the Red Bull Ring since the 1998 Austrian Grand Prix and the first at the circuit where non-slick tyres were used since the 2015 Austrian Grand Prix.

Q1 and Q2[]

The first qualifying session began at 15:46 local time, forty-six minutes after the session was originally scheduled to start. All drivers started on the wet compound tyres, and all would continue to use it for the entirety of qualifying. The track was extremely wet, with the cars prone to aquaplaning. The only major incident of the session came towards the end, when Antonio Giovinazzi lost control of his Alfa Romeo after turn seven; his car slid onto the grass and collided gently with a barrier, scattering some debris. Giovinazzi kept the engine running, but soon stopped at turn four, leading to the session being red-flagged with 13 seconds remaining. Giovinazzi was eliminated from Q1 along with Kimi Räikkönen, Sergio Pérez, Nicholas Latifi and Romain Grosjean, who had not set a lap due to an issue with his energy recovery system. George Russell reached Q2 for the first time in his career, the first time a Williams driver had achieved this since the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix.

The rain intensity increased during Q2 however the session proceeded without incident. Those eliminated were Charles Leclerc, George Russell, Lance Stroll, Daniil Kvyat, and Kevin Magnussen.

Q3[]

Heavy rain continued into Q3 but gradually decreased over the course of the session. Carlos Sainz took pole with a lap time of 1:20.671, ahead of Reanult's Esteban Ocon and team mate Lando Norris.

Post Qualifying[]

Norris' penalty issued during the first practice session demoted him from third to firth on the grid. Three drivers were investigated for breaches of the sporting regulations after qualifying; Pérez for ignoring yellow flags during Q1, Räikkönen and Leclerc for breaches of red-flag protocol during Q1, and Leclerc again for impeding Kvyat during Q2. No action was taken regarding the first three allegations, however Leclerc was issued a three-place grid penalty for impeding Kvyat, demoting him from 7th to 10th on the grid. On the morning of the race, Giovinazzi received a five place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change, whilst Romain Grosjean was forced to start from the pit lane due to a breach of parc fermé regulations by his team, who worked on his car for over 3 hours more than allowed by the regulations, without the presence of a scrutineer. Whilst the normal punishment in such cases is disqualification from the Grand Prix weekend, Grosjean avoided this as the team blamed an ERS water pump problem that had to be repaired in order to allow him to participate.

Qualifying Classification[]

Qualifying position Car number Driver Constructor Qualifying times Final grid position
Q1 Q2 Q3
1 55 Spain.png Carlos Sainz Jr McLaren 1:18.590 1:18.836 1:20.671 1
2 14 France.png Esteban Ocon Renault 1:19.687 1:18.764 1:20.992 2
3 4 Britain.png Lando Norris McLaren 1:18.504 1:18.448 1:20.925 5 [1]
4 10 France.png Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1:20.192 1:18.744 1:21.028 3
5 3 Australia.png Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:19.662 1:19.229 1:21.192 4
6 5 Germany.png Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:20.243 1:19.545 1:21.651 6
7 16 Monaco.png Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:20.871 1:19.628 N/A 10 [2]
8 63 Britain.png George Russell Williams 1:20.382 1:19.545 N/A 7
9 18 Canada.png Lance Stroll Racing Point 1:19.697 1:19.645 N/A 8
10 26 Russia.png Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri 1:19.824 1:19.717 N/A 9
11 20 Denmark.png Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:21.140 1:20.211 N/A 11
12 7 Finland.png Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1:21.372 N/A N/A 12
13 11 Mexico.png Sergio Perez Racing Point 1:21.670 N/A N/A 13
14 6 Canada.png Nicholas Latifi Williams 1:21.759 N/A N/A 14
15 99 Italy.png Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1:21.831 N/A N/A 15 [3]
16 8 France.png Romain Grosjean Haas No Time N/A N/A PL [4]
107% time: 1.27.017 [5]

Race[]

Race Report[]

Opening Laps[]

The race was run in dry conditions, in contrast to the entirely wet qualifying meaning all 20 drivers had a free choice of starting tyres as is permitted by the Sporting Regulations. . At turn one Sebastian Vettel fell to 9th place behind George Russell and Lance Stroll. In an attempt to overtake his teammate on the inside of turn three, Charles Leclerc collided with Vettel, breaking Vettel's rear wing. The safety car was then deployed to clear debris from the turn three incident. Both Ferraris entered the pits at the end of the opening lap and Vettel's car was retired from the race. Leclerc's car had suffered front wing and floor damage and his front wing was replaced. Racing resumed on lap four. Russell, running in 6th place, left the track at turn six and went into the gravel. He was able to continue racing but rejoined at the back of the field in 14th place. At the end of lap four, Ferrari determined that the damage to Leclerc's car was too great to continue and he entered the pits to retire from the race.

Mid-Race[]

On lap 25 Esteban Ocon entered the pits to retire from the race, his car suffering from a cooling issue. On lap 32, Sainz suffered a slow pit stop which would go on to cost him three positions. After the first round of pitstops, the top 5 was Ricciardo, Stroll, Pérez, Sainz and Norris.

Pérez began to move further forward after his pit stop, passing teammate Stroll on lap 46 and then Daniel Ricciardo two laps later to claim the lead. Pérez then set a number of fastest laps. Gasly later became the first driver to make two pit stops, having started third but fallen to 9th on his hard-compound tyres. On lap 62 Sainz let Norris pass for fourth.

Closing Laps[]

On the penultimate lap, Pérez attempted an overtake on Formula 1 driver Albon at turn four. The cars made contact resulting in Pérez breaking his front wing. The 15-second gap behind Pérez then began to close as the damage caused him to fall back. Stroll, who had been close behind Ricciardo for almost 30 laps, made an overtake attempt for second place at turn three, running deep and causing both drivers to take to the runoff area. Stroll took the position and the move caused Ricciardo to fall to fourth place behind Norris. On the final lap, Norris passed Stroll for second place on the straight after turn three, before catching the ailing Pérez at the final corner to take the win.

Norris took the chequered flag to claim his first victory of the season and the 4th of his career, followed by Perez and Stroll to complete the podium, with Ricciardo and Sainz behind. Pérez, Stroll and Ricciardo crossed the finish line three-wide, separated by just over 0.2 seconds, but maintained those respective positions.

Post Race[]

Stroll was investigated by the race stewards for his penultimate-lap overtake on Ricciardo, however this was deemed a racing incident and no further action was taken. Ricciardo later described the move as "desperate" and stated that he expected Stroll to receive a penalty. Leclerc apologised for causing the opening-lap collision with Vettel, remarking "I am just disappointed in myself. I’ve done a very bad job today. I let the team down." Vettel stated he was "very surprised" that Leclerc attempted the overtake, noting that the team had intended to assess the performance of the updates brought to the SF1000 for the race.

After the race, Renault launched a formal protest to the stewards regarding the legality of the Racing Point RP20 and its alleged similarities to the previous season's Mercedes.

Race Classification[]

Position Car number Driver Constructor Laps completed Time/Retired Grid Points
1 4 Britain.png Lando Norris McLaren 71 1:23:52.153 5 25
2 11 Mexico.png Sergio Perez Racing Point 71 +0.917 13 18
3 18 Canada.png Lance Stroll Racing Point 71 +0.983 8 15
4 3 Australia.png Daniel Ricciardo Renault 71 +1.123 4 12
5 55 Spain.png Carlos Sainz Jr McLaren 71 +26.021 1 11 [6]
6 26 Russia.png Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri 71 +37.229 9 8
7 7 Finland.png Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 71 +45.097 12 6
8 20 Denmark.png Kevin Magnussen Haas 71 +45.368 11 4
9 6 France.png Romain Grosjean Haas 71 +45.913 PL 2
10 99 Italy.png Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 71 +50.668 15 1
11 10 France.png Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 71 +1:05.465 3
12 63 Britain.png George Russell Williams 70 +1 LAP 7
13 6 Canada.png Nicholas Latifi Williams 70 +1 LAP 14
Ret 14 France.png Esteban Ocon Renault 25 Overheating 2
Ret 16 Monaco.png Charles Leclerc Ferrari 14 Collision Damage 10
Ret 5 Germany.png Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1 Collison 6
Fastest lap: Spain.png Carlos Sainz Jr (McLaren) – 1:05.619 (lap 68)

Championship standings after the race[]

Drivers' Championship standings
Change Position Driver Points
+1 1 Britain.png Lando Norris 44
+2 2 Mexico.png Sergio Pérez 30
+/- 3 Spain.png Carlos Sainz Jr 26
-3 4 Monaco.png Charles Leclerc 25
+10 5 Canada.png Lance Stroll 15
Constructors' Championship standings
Change Position Driver Points
+/- 1 Britain.png McLaren 70
+1 2 Britain.png Racing Point 45
-1 3 Italy.png Ferrari 29
+1 4 France.png Renault 20
-1 5 Italy.png AlphaTauri 19

External links[]

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  1. Lando Norris received a three-place grid penalty for overtaking under yellow flags during the first practice session.
  2. Charles Leclerc received a three-place grid penalty for impeding Daniil Kvyat during qualifying.
  3. Antonio Giovinazzi received a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change.
  4. Romain Grosjean was required to start from the pit lane after his team broke parc fermé regulations.
  5. As qualifying was held on a wet track, the 107% rule was not in force.
  6. Includes 1 point for fastest lap
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