Lewis Hamilton survived three race starts to win an eventful Tuscan GP. The first-ever F1 race at Mugello served up a dramatic display with two multi-car crashes in the first nine laps and two red flag stoppages. With this, the British driver has picked up his 90th F1 career win and is just one short of equaling Michael Schumacher’s record.
Valtteri Bottas was unable to convert his early race advantage into a win and had to settle for 2nd place. Behind the Mercedes duo, Alexander Albon finished in 3rd place to secure his first F1 podium finish.
Hamilton takes his 90th F1 win at Mugello
Bottas finishes 4.8 secs behind in 2nd place
Albon scores his first F1 podium finish
Verstappen, Gasly and Sainz retire
Verstappen’s early exit as crashes take centre stage
The Tuscan GP’s chaotic start saw Bottas enjoy a strong launch off the line to take the lead, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc moved up to 3rd place. However, the race was neutralised soon after due to a frantic mid-field crash.
Max Verstappen had already dropped down the order due to a power unit issue and was sent into the gravel after being tagged by Kimi Raikkonen. The Alfa Romeo driver also clipped last weekend’s Italian GP winner Pierre Gasly; the incident resulted in both Verstappen and Gasly retiring from the race.
The resulting safety car triggered another massive crash as drivers in the back of the pack misjudged when to accelerate at the re-start. The crash took out Antonio Giovinazzi, Kevin Magnussen, Carlos Sainz and Nicholas Latifi, triggering a red flag stoppage.
As the grid waited for the race to resume, Renault was forced to retire Esteban Ocon due to overheating brakes. As a result, just 13 drivers were left in the running after just nine laps of racing.
Lap 1 chaos at Mugello – and early exits for Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly #TuscanGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/k6YtcV0maU
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 13, 2020
Hamilton beats Bottas
Hamilton moved into the lead after passing Bottas around the outside of Turn 1 at the re-start. With his eyes firmly set on closing the gap to Hamilton, Bottas even asked Mercedes to put him on an alternative tyre strategy to his team mate. But Mercedes ended up fitting both cars with hard tyres as they struggled with degradation.
Bottas was handed yet another chance when the race was red flagged for a second time on lap 45. Lance Stroll – who was running in 4th place – suffered a high-speed crash at Turn 9 after reporting a puncture.
But Bottas struggled at the re-start and ended up losing a place to Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo. While he did quick work to pass Ricciardo and re-take the position, he was unable to catch Hamilton. The Finnish driver ended up finishing 4.8 secs behind his team mate
Speaking after the race, Bottas expressed his frustration. “It’s disappointing because I had a dream start to the race. Once I lost position at the second re-start, I didn’t have any opportunities,” he said.
“I’ll keep pushing – it has to turn out well for me at some point.”
Albon scores maiden F1 podium
The sole remaining Red Bull Racing driver in the race, Alexander Albon, initially dropped to 5th place at the re-start. But he passed Sergio Perez around the outside of Turn 3 on lap 48 and then set about trying to catch Ricciardo. Albon closed the gap two laps later and sweeped past Ricciardo on lap 51 to take 3rd place and score his first F1 podium finish.
Perez – who will be replaced by Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin next year – ended up finishing in 5th place, ahead of Lando Norris and Daniil Kvyat.
Ferrari score points at their 1,000th GP
Charles Leclerc was running as high as 3rd at one point, but he dropped down the order as the race progressed and ended up finishing 8th. Vettel took the final points scoring position with a 10th place result.
This may not be the ideal scenario for Ferrari at what was their 1,000th F1 world championship race. But the fact that they scored a double points finish after two points-less races will come as a silver lining for the Italian squad.
Raikkonen finished 9th after being handed a five-second penalty for crossing the grass to dive into the pit lane. The Alfa Romeo driver had crossed the line in 8th place, but the penalty dropped him behind Leclerc in the final results.
What does the F1 2020 drivers’ championship look like?
After recording his sixth win of the season, Hamilton has stretched his championship lead to a massive 55 points from Bottas.
Verstappen’s second-consecutive retirement, meanwhile, has dropped him 25 points behind Bottas in 3rd place overall. The Tuscan GP ended up being a missed opportunity for the Dutch driver, who would have potentially been a contender for victory considering the multiple re-starts and fast and flowing layout of Mugello that is well-suited to the Red Bull cars.
F1 will now take a week off before heading to Sochi for the Russian GP on September 25-27.
2020 Tuscan GP results
Red Bull Racing
Alfa Romeo Racing
Red Bull Racing
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