I finally got a chance to watch my first live Formula 1 race yesterday! The 2020 Austrian Grand Prix was definitely something new to me as a sports fan. Growing up as a fan of NASCAR, a uniquely American sport, F1 just had a different feel to it. But it was a good kind of different. I’ve studied the basics of how the sport works, and wrote a previous blog post about it, which you can look at here, if you want.
But after chomping at the bit for the last two months to watch my first race, I finally got the chance at just after 9 AM yesterday morning. I now see the global appeal of Formula One much more clearly. I understand why many people get so excited about it! I view the sport as like 1990’s NASCAR, but with a global reach. I’d call it “The Racing Olympics.” Superstar drivers from several different countries compete to be crowned the best in the world, driving cars powered by HUGE global manufacturers like Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Aston Martin. The only thing keeping me from becoming an F1 superfan is the fact that there are currently no American drivers. But it was still a ton of fun to watch!
The 2020 Austrian Grand Prix was a WILD race! Out of the 20 drivers who initially started the race, seven weren’t able to finish because of various issues. Everything from power failure, to a couple wrecks, to someone losing a tire. Almost half the grid failing to finish a race is uncommon. Of the past F1 races I’ve watched on YouTube, usually there are 3-4 drivers who don’t finish. Perhaps everyone’s trying to knock the rust off as the season gets underway. Who knows? Here are the highlights from the race.
From the get go, I was mesmerized by everything with the race: The beautiful location in the Austrian countryside, brilliant driving by young drivers Charles Leclerc for Ferrari and Lando Norris for McLaren, and the excitement with which commentators David Croft and Martin Brundle called every lap. Plus the finish was exciting as well! Lewis Hamilton, one of the greatest drivers in F1 history, was bumped out of third place, and off the podium as he was given a time penalty for causing a wreck. This allowed Lando Norris, a very young 20 year-old driver for McLaren, to snag the first podium finish of his career by a mere tenth of a second after race officials calculated everything. Happy for him!
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari’s young hotshot finished second, and had an absolutely amazing bit of driving to get himself into podium position late in the race! It still boggles my mind how these guys can drive these cars with such precision. They can go from 200+ miles per hour on a straightaway with the throttle wide open, to 50-60 miles an hour in a tight corner without missing a beat or wrecking the car. That’s absolutely INSANE to me!
But Leclerc braked as late as he possibly could heading into a very tight corner, and managed to sneak by Sergio Perez for third place at the time. I’m still a new F1 fan, but I am quickly becoming a fan of Charles Leclerc. The 22 year-old driver from Monaco is aggressive, kind of a rebel against the rules, and he’s nice to fans and media from all I’ve read and seen. Plus he’s overcome some very tough personal tragedies in his life recently. A year or two ago, he lost both his father and best friend within days of each other. And yet he still managed to race a few days later. Not only that, he fought all the way from the back of the pack to win his first career race that weekend in honor of them! That kind of mental toughness and heart is the mark of a future World Champion. I can’t help but like him and root for him!
Valtteri Bottas, a Finnish driver for Mercedes, won the Austrian Grand Prix, with a solid race. Congratulations to him. But I would be lying through my teeth if I said I wasn’t more excited by the prospect of seeing what all the younger drivers can do this year. There’s a whole bunch of them: Charles Leclerc (22 years old), Lando Norris (20 years old), George Russell (22 years old), Carlos Sainz (25 years old), and Lance Stroll (21 years old). There’s definitely a youth movement going through F1. It seems like an absolutely perfect time for me to be a new fan of the sport. As I continue to grow as a fan, I’ll see these young guys grow as drivers. I see at least a couple future World Champions in that group!
But for now, race #1 of the 2020 Formula One World Championship is in the books! Next up? A little bit of Deja Vu, as the teams will meet in Austria again on July 12th for the Styrian Grand Prix at the exact same track. But I’m just as excited for this upcoming race as I was for my first one!
2020 Formula One World Drivers Championship Top 10
- Valtteri Bottas (25 Points)
- Charles Leclerc (18 Points)
- Lando Norris (16 Points)
- Lewis Hamilton (12 Points)
- Carlos Sainz (10 Points)
- Sergio Perez (8 Points)
- Pierre Gasly (6 Points)
- Esteban Ocon (4 Points)
- Antonio Giovinazzi (2 Points)
- Sebastian Vettel (1 Point)
2020 World Constructors Championship Standings
- Mercedes (37 Points)
- McLaren (26 Points)
- Ferrari (19 Points)
- Racing Point (8 Points)
- AlphaTauri (6 Points)
- Renault (4 Points)
- Alfa Romeo Racing (2 Points)
- Williams (0)
- Red Bull Racing (0)
- Haas (0)