F1 report: Welcome to the new normal

Formula 1 roars back into life with two races at one circuit, two stunning single-lap displays and two Mercedes wins to set the tone

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After a difficult opening race, Hamilton dominated the Styrian Grand Prix to close the gap to championship leader Bottas to six points

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For the first time in F1’s history, it hosted two consecutive grands prix at the same circuit. The Austrian and Styrian grands prix were the opening salvos of F1’s dramatically virus-compacted season. The fact that they were hosted at all was fantastic testament to the effort and ingenuity of F1. That each race should have produced not only great action, but two of the most amazing laps ever seen – one each from Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton – was more than F1 could have dared hope.

The radio information was coming at Norris thick and fast in the last two laps of the Austrian Grand Prix – and he was processing it while simultaneously driving out of his skin. “Hamilton has a 5sec penalty. Two laps to go. Stay in Scenario 7 until Turn 3. Last lap. Turn 2 single press overtake here and out of T3. Out of Turn 8 hold overtake for 5ecs. Give it everything. Out of the last corner as well.”

He was in fourth place on the road, but desperately trying to get within 5sec of Lewis Hamilton’s second-place Mercedes, which had incurred a time penalty that made it just about possible – at the very thin end of feasible – on corrected time, for Norris to achieve his first podium. He began the last lap 5.53sec behind. He was going to have to lap his McLaren over half a second quicker than Hamilton’s Mercedes on that final blast.

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