14 Sep 2020

HAMILTON CELEBRATES 90TH F1 RACE WIN AFTER AN ACTION PACKED TUSCAN GP

It’s now 90 F1 victories for Lewis Hamilton following his win at the Tuscan Grand Prix. In an incident packed race that saw 3 safety car periods, it was business as usual for Hamilton while some of the field hit the self-destruct button. He was followed home by his teammate Valtteri Bottas, and Alex Albon in the Red Bull taking his first ever F1 podium. Afterwards Albon thanked the team for keeping faith after a patchy series of performances this season.

The race was red flagged twice following carnage on the main straight at the end of the first safety car, and then a second when Lance Stroll crashed at high speed following a burst tyre.

The win for Hamilton now puts him in clear command of the championship with six wins from nine races and a lead of 55 points halfway through the season. The win also means he is now only one more victory away from matching the record wins held by Michael Schumacher.

The race didn’t start smoothly for Hamilton who was sluggish to get away and found himself in second place behind Bottas into the first corner. Racing didn’t last long though as a coming together between Verstappen, Gasly, Raikkonen, and Grosjean at the second corner on the circuit brought out the Safety Car. Raikkonen and Grosjean were able to continue while Gasly and Verstappen were forced to retire.

For Verstappen the crash hid the more significant issue for the team that the car was already suffering a technical problem and had the crash not ended Verstappen’s race, reliability certainly would have.

Following 6 laps behind the Safety Car the race restarted and there was immediately a second incident on the start straight as drivers in the mid field were confused by Bottas slowing the train behind him until the very last second. While drivers involved in the pile up were critical of the leader’s tactics over their radios, Sky’s Martin Brundle quite rightly responded saying Bottas had done nothing wrong as once the Safety Car has entered the pits, it’s the leader who is allowed to set the pace up to the safety car line when racing must recommence.

There has however been some questions raised as to the positioning of the safety car line in relation to the start line which left over 800 metres on the fastest part of the circuit for the leader to control the pace.

With debris strewn across the track the safety car was redeployed taking the field through the pits before the race was red flagged and the cars lined up in the pit lane. The net result of the incident was Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, Williams driver Nicholas Latifi, Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz were all out of the race.

At the restart 25 minutes later, Hamilton got away much better and took advantage of a Bottas tow down to Turn One, taking his teammate around the outside.

Behind, Albon lost out, dropping three places to P7, and George Russell was busy tussling with Raikkonen for P10.

The pace of the Silver Arrows immediately took its toll as both drivers opened up a gap to the rest of the field. Bottas then dropped back suffering tyre wear issues leaving Hamilton alone at the front.

Lap 18, and Leclerc began to drop down the field, being passed by Stroll for P3 and then Ricciardo, Albon, and Perez, leaving the Ferrari driver in P7 on the day they were celebrating the Scuderia’s 1,000th race in Formula 1. Leclerc switched tyres and entered the race at the back of the pack in P13.

Bottas still suffering from tyre issues pitted closely followed by Hamilton. At this stage Mercedes looked in control and heading for a straightforward 1-2 clean sweep.

However, at Lap 44 Lance Stroll suffered a tyre blowout while navigating the 170 mph Arrabbiata 2 corner. This caused the second red flag of the race while the Racing Point was extracted from the gravel trap and the tyre wall rebuilt.

At the restart, with just 12 laps remaining, Bottas was slow away again and Daniel Ricciardo was up to P2. Bottas quickly regained the place leaving Ricciardo battling it out with Alex Albon for the final podium spot. Ricciardo was keen to hang on to P3 and take Renault’s first podium since 2016 but Albon had more pace and passed the Renault with another well executed move around the outside of turn 1 just 3 laps from home.

Hamilton took the chequered flag, from Bottas in P2, and Albon in P3. Ricciardo took P4, ahead of Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and Mclaren’s Lando Norris. On Ferrari’s 1,000th race the Scuderia duo of Leclerc and Vettel finished P8 and P10 respectively with only 12 cars finishing the race.

Lewis Hamilton said in the post-race interviews that,”It was all a bit of daze. It was like three races in one day. Just incredibly tough today. This track is phenomenal and the heat and keeping Valtteri behind was not easy. All those restarts total focus was needed. It was really, really hard. Valtteri appeared out of nowhere when I saw Danny was behind. I didn’t want him to have DRS. My heart is racing. It is crazy to be here and to have 90 grands prix wins.”

There is now a two week break before we head to Sochi for the Russian Grand Prix where Lewis Hamilton will be looking to take his 91st race win and match the record of Michael Schumacher.

JDC is looking forward to welcoming everyone back to Formula 1 in 2021 for what is expected to be a very exciting and closely run season. If you’d like to experience any of the races on the 2021 calendar, then take a look at our Paddock Club™ hospitality packages or contact JDC Promotions and let us build a bespoke package for you and your guests.

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ianhucklesby

Editor-in-Residence, JDC Promotions Media Centre