Hamilton Win’s Start-Stop, Start-Stop, Start Tuscan Grand Prix
Set in the sweeping, cinematic rural scenery of Tuscany, Italy, the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix turned out to be anything other than an idyllic back-drop for yet another Mercedes demonstration run. No, this race demonstrated the Chaos Theory in action and the only deterministic factor was Lewis Hamilton ending the day with victory number 90, two notions that are not incompatible with the 2020 F1 season. Mercedes had yet again locked out the front row in qualifying. However, Sunday is always where the points are won and lost. Pole sitter Lewis Hamilton temporarily lost the advantage on race day to teammate Valtteri Bottas who made the better start as the race got underway.
It seemed like a Mercedes duel was in the making. However, the first lap crash saw Pierre Gasly and Max Verstappen retire after half a dozen cars got too close for comfort. This brought out the safety car, but the rolling restart caused a second multi-car crash on the main straight and the race was Red Flagged. This halted the proceedings for 50 minutes. At the restart, Hamilton regained the lead heading into the first corner.
The race then settled into a predictable rhythm, the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc was up to a fortuitous third at one point. However, the Ferrari was predictably slow and Leclerc soon fell down the order. Daniel Ricciardo looked to be heading to his first podium after a two-season drought, however, Alex Albon had other ideas.
The Thai driver initially started the race in 4th, but fell down the order during the first re-start. And it appeared as if Ricciardo could easily hold off the Red Bull. However, a second red flag session arrived on lap 43 after Lance Stroll fell victim to tyre failure and a crash barrier. At the restart Ricciardo jumped up to second but was soon put in his place by Bottas.
Nevertheless, Alex Albon also had his sights set on his first podium and with a better tyre compound soon made short work of Ricciardo. But the Renault driver made sure Albon had to work for his first 3rd place finish. Albon had a run at the Mercedes ahead of him and it looked as though he could finish second. However, Bottas and Hamilton were at this late stage simply managing their pace.
As Albon closed in, the Mercedes simply sped up and thereafter comfortably neutralised the Red Bull threat. Hamiton also upped his pace to finish a few seconds ahead of his teammate and bag the fastest lap of the race, adding one extra point to his victory points haul and securing his 90th win. And that was the chaos ridden 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix.
2020 Tuscan Grand Prix, Mugello Italy, Race Results:
Note – Hamilton scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race. Raikkonen received a 5-second time penalty for crossing the line at pit entry.