Lewis Hamilton won a hectic Tuscan Grand Prix on Sunday in Italy to clinch his 90th Formula One win and move one behind Michael Schumacher’s record.
The first F1 race on a Mugello track with super-fast corners usually used by MotoGP riders was incident-packed throughout. Two crashes on the first seven laps saw six drivers go out, and a red flag suspended the race for the first time after the second one.
A second red flag late on following Lance Stroll’s heavy crash meant another grid restart — on Lap 46 of 59 — and gave Valtteri Bottas another chance to beat race leader Hamilton if he made a strong start from second.
Hamilton held firm and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo overtook Bottas, who passed him back to finish second but lose more ground to Hamilton in the title race.
Bottas pushed hard and got to within 1.1 seconds of Hamilton on the penultimate lap but the British driver clocked a fastest lap on the last one to take a bonus point.
🚩 RED FLAG 🚩<br><br>A puncture sends Lance Stroll off and into the wall at high speed, he’s out of the car and okay.<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/SkyF1?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#SkyF1</a> | <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/F1?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#F1</a> | <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/TuscanGP?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#TuscanGP</a> 🇮🇹 <a href=”https://t.co/uiqEYtKa4g”>pic.twitter.com/uiqEYtKa4g</a>
Red Bull driver Alexander Albon drove well to finish third and clinch a first career podium that will boost his chances of keeping his seat alongside team star Max Verstappen next year.
Hamilton can equal Schumacher’s record for wins at the Russian GP in two weeks and take a step closer to matching Schumacher’s record of seven world titles.
‘The crash was really scary’
The red flag first came out when Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, Haas’s Kevin Magnussen and Williams’ Nicholas Latifi of Toronto collided at the end of a safety car period.
Not much you can do there. The constantiner effect is always pretty bad when you are mid pack. You can only react to the cars directly in front of you and it seemed like the pack went on two separate occasions. Glad everyone walked away from that one. 🙏🏻 <a href=”https://t.co/4nnEvzqbSP”>pic.twitter.com/4nnEvzqbSP</a>
Bottas had been leading for Mercedes, with teammate Hamilton second, and controlling the pace.
As the Finn prepared to accelerate away, the back-markers reacted as if the leaders had already re-started. Sainz hit the back of Giovinazzi’s car as the Alfa swerved.
“I think people were going before you’d gone,” Mercedes told Bottas.
WATCH | Lance Stroll finishes 3rd at Italian GP on Sept 6:
Sainz reported that he and the others were OK. “The crash was really scary,” he said.
“It felt like at the back of the grid where I was that everyone in front of me thought the race was going and we were all flat out until someone realized the race was not on,” added the Spaniard.
“It’s definitely not a nice feeling to do 280 kilometres per hour and suddenly find three cars in the middle of the straight.”
The safety car was immediately deployed again and the race then halted before a standing re-start.
The red flags came out again with 13 laps remaining, and Hamilton leading, when Stroll suffered a puncture and crashed his Racing Point.