Lewis Hamilton overcame a poor start plus two red flags to edge out Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas for victory in an incident filled 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix.
Hamilton made a poor start to drop behind Bottas but the Safety Car was soon deployed after an incident at Luco in which Kimi Raikkonen tangled with Pierre Gasly to send the Monza winner crashing out alongside Max Verstappen, who found himself rear-ended into the gravel by Raikkonen.
Bottas led on the restart at the start of lap seven but didn’t hit racing speed until he crossed the start-finish straight, triggering an constantine effect further behind, as Carlos Sainz collided with Antonio Giovinazzi and Kevin Magnussen whilst wiping out Nicholas Latifi as he swerved to avoid the Haas.
12 drivers consequently received post-race received warnings over inconsistent application of throttle and brake in build-up to the incident, including the four who retired as a result of the collisions.
The debris and scattered cars consequently caused a red flag in which Esteban Ocon retired with brake issues on his Renault, before Hamilton aced the restart to control the race to the flag, despite a second red flag after Lance Stroll crashed heavily at Arrabbiata.
Alex Albon clinched his first-ever F1 podium after battling from two slow restarts to edge out Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez, whilst Lando Norris, Daniil Kvyat, Charles Leclerc, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel completed the top ten as just 12 drivers finished the race.
Speaking post race to David Coulthard on his dramatic 90th F1 victory which puts him one win behind equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 wins, Hamilton said; “It is still all bit of a daze but was like three races in one day. Just incredibly tough today I think.”
In terms of the drivers’ standings, Hamilton stretched his lead over Bottas to 55 points with Verstappen a further 25 points behind in third.
Pole-sitter, Hamilton made a poor getaway to lose the lead to Bottas whilst Verstappen got swamped with a power issue, ultimately getting wiped out at Luco by Raikkonen who collided with Gasly both into then mid corner, with the Frenchman also retiring alongside Verstappen to trigger the first Safety Car period of six laps.
Sainz meanwhile got spun round and clipped Vettel who had to pit for a new front wing under the Safety Car
Racing resumed on lap seven as Bottas continued to weave until the start/finish line unaware that Magnussen had bolted further down the field, causing Sainz to clip Antonio Giovinazzi who slammed into Magnussen plus a helpless Nicholas Latifi who had swerved to the left to avoid Magnussen with the Safety Car sent straight back out.
The race was red flagged a lap later for 25 minutes to allow for all four cars plus debris to be cleared from the start/finish straight with stewards post-race warning 12 drivers for inconsistent application of throttle and brake and nobody was entirely at fault for the incident.
The 12 drivers who received a warning were; Magnussen, Kvyat, Latifi, Albon, Norris, Stroll, Ricciardo, Perez, Ocon, Russell, Giovinazzi and Sainz.
Esteban Ocon’s Renault was retired during the stoppage due to brake issues and as everyone lined up for the new standing start on lap ten, it was Hamilton who got the slipstream to make a pass on Bottas into San Donato for the lead.
Further behind, Albon got bogged down to seventh as Stroll, Perez and Ricciardo made better starts, with the trio soon reeling in Leclerc in a fierce battle for third.
Perez however fell back into Ricciardo’s clutches and the Aussie took advantage with an outside move into San Donato for fifth, whilst Stroll managed to get past Leclerc into that very corner three laps later for third just as Albon demoted Perez to seventh.
Ricciardo, Albon and Perez eventually passed Leclerc at San Donato in the following three laps, as the Monegasque struggled with soft tyre degradation which forced him to pit at the end of lap 21.
Ricciardo was the first top-five driver to pit at end of lap 26 with Perez finding himself caught and past by Norris on lap 27 before making his stop at the end of that lap but once Stroll pitted at start of lap 31, the undercut was found to be more effective as Ricciardo took third from the Canadian whilst Albon leapfrogged Perez for fifth when the Thai-British driver made his stop at the end of lap 32.
Up front, both Hamilton and Bottas were struggling with tyre wear despite putting the medium tyres on for the restart with Bottas pitting first from second at the end of lap 31 for hard tyres with the Brit following a lap later.
Hamilton proceeded to maintain a six second gap over Bottas whilst both drivers were told to stay off the kerbs to protect their tyres, until Stroll crashed at Arrabbiata to trigger the third Safety Car and second red flag due to barrier damage and need for a digger to remove Stroll’s car.
The Canadian had got on the kerbs through Savelli and the rear-end of his Racing Point snapped to send him spinning heavily into the barriers at Arrabbiata, although Stroll reported a puncture over team radio after colliding with the barriers.
The race resumed 23 minutes later behind the Safety Car with Hamilton this time starting from pole position in the second standing restart on lap 47 of which Bottas got bogged down to allow Ricciardo through into second, but the Aussie conceded second a lap later despite forcing Bottas round the outside of San Donato.
Albon meanwhile again got a poor getaway on the standing restart but managed to recover fourth from Perez through Borgo San Lorenzo and quickly reeled in Ricciardo, before launching a successful outside move on the Renault driver round San Donato to clinch third.
Ricciardo, Perez, Norris and Kvyat completed the top seven whilst Kimi Raikkonen finished eighth on the road, but a five second time penalty for unsafe entry into pit lane just prior to the red flag demoted him behind Leclerc.
Vettel clung on for the final point in tenth position after fending off a valiant drive from Williams’ George Russell who had ran in the top ten for the majority of the race after the first stoppage, as the Brit recorded his best result since the 2019 German Grand Prix which coincidentally was 11th too.
2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Result
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||59||2h 19m 35.060|
|2||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||59||+ 4.880|
|3||Alex Albon||Red Bull||59||+ 8.064|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||59||+ 10.417|
|5||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||59||+ 15.650|
|6||Lando Norris||McLaren||59||+ 18.883|
|7||Daniil Kvyat||Alpha Tauri||59||+ 21.756|
|8||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||59||+ 28.345|
|9||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||59||+ 29.770|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||59||+ 29.983|
|11||George Russell||Williams||59||+ 32.404|
|12||Romain Grosjean||Haas||59||+ 42.036|
|Lance Stroll||Racing Point||42||Spin|
|Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||6||Collision|
|Max Verstappen||Red Bull||0||Collision|
|Pierre Gasly||Alpha Tauri||0||Collison|