Tuscan GP: Hamilton hangs on to win at Mugello after double red flag stoppages
The Brit survived two red flag stoppages, passing teammate at one to win at Mugello.
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton had the win under his belt in F1 Tuscan GP from Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull Racing's Alexander Albon after a chaitic grand prix.
Pole-sitter Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton did not have a clean start in F1 Tuscan GP at Mugello as Valtteri Bottas got the lead from the Brit. Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen had a better start as well but he bogged down pretty soon with power complaints.
Even pre-race, Verstappen complained of software issue with the power unit but they managed to fix it for him to start. However, it played up at the start of the F1 Tuscan GP as Ferrari's Charles Leclerc jumped Alexander Albon to take third.
Racing Point's Lance Stroll was fifth ahead of Renault's Daniel Ricciardo, Racing Point's Sergio Perez, McLaren's Lando Norris, AlphaTauri's Daniil Kvyat and Renault's Esteban Ocon in the Top 10. The Canadian, though, was involved in clash with McLaren's Carlos Sainz.
The Spaniard spun around where Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel hit him as the German had nowhere to go. Just behind them, it was a huge melee where AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly clashed with Alfa Romeo Racing's Kimi Raikkonen and Haas' Romain Grosjean.
Gasly was in the middle with Raikkonen on the left and Grosjean on the right as the Finn rammed into the back of Verstappen. The safety car was deployed as the Dutchman and the Frenchman were the only ones to retire immediately.
Raikkonen, Grosjean, Sainz and Vettel all had to pit but more dramas were in store for F1 Tuscan GP as the re-start had a huge tangle at the back of the grid. Bottas left it until the last minute to apply his throttle but there was already chaos behind.
Replays showed that Haas' Kevin Magnussen took his line when Williams' Nicholas Latifi went to his left as Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi smashed onto the back of the Dane, who then hit Sainz - as all four F1 drivers retired immediately.
The safety car was deployed but it turned to a red flag with Bottas ahead of Hamilton, Leclerc, Albon, Stroll, Ricciardo, Perez, Norris, Kvyat, Ocon, Williams' George Russell, Raikkonen, Vettel and Grosjean, the only ones remaining.
The FIA stewards put Verstappen, Gasly, Grosjean, Raikkonen, Magnussen, Giovinazzi and Latifi under investigation, after clearing Sainz and Stroll for the incident which led the Spaniard spinning at the initial launch.
Post red flag re-start:
The re-start in F1 Tuscan GP worked well for Hamilton as he cleared Bottas for the lead with Leclerc maintaining third from Stroll and Perez but Ricciardo and Albon dropped to sixth and seventh after a poor getaway, especially for the Thai racer.
Norris stationed in eighth from Kvyat as Raikkonen was upto 10th but not for long as Russell got him eventually with Vettel also passing the Finn for 11th. On strategy side, the Mercedes duo were on the medium tyres along with the Williams and Alfa Romeo.
The rest were on the soft as Ricciardo was the first to make the move on a struggling Perez, with Albon following suit with the DRS. They all gained a place courtesy Leclerc, who dropped from third to seventh after losing the podium to Stroll.
It was about strategy then with teams trying to outdo each other in the pitlane and Ricciardo got that to his advantage as he got ahead of Stroll, having pit a lap earlier. Despite losing out to Norris on track, Perez got track position back from the Brit.
It was because Norris had to be stationery for that extra time due to Kvyat coming in. At the front, meanwhile, Bottas wanted to do the opposite of Hamilton in tyre strategy but growing vibrations pushed Mercedes to pit him before the Brit.
As a result, both the Mercedes drivers were on the hard compound as Hamilton led Bottas, with Ricciardo ahead of Stroll, Albon, Perez, Norris, Leclerc, Kvyat and Russell in the Top 10 but the Monegasque pitted again, allowing Vettel to be 10th.
It was all going well until an off for Stroll at Arrabbiata 2 after losing his rear at the curve and smashing onto the barrier. The safety car was deployed but it was red-flagged for the second time just after everyone bar Hamilton had pitted.
It was still Hamilton leading from Bottas with Ricciardo third and then Albon, Perez, Norris, Kvyat, Leclerc, Russell, Vettel, Raikkonen and Grosjean - the 12 drivers remaining in the F1 Tuscan GP for the second standing re-start.
Second standing re-start after red flag:
Prior to the second standing re-start, Raikkonen was put under investigation for pitting late when the safety car was deployed. The Finn was handed a five-second penalty upon re-start as Hamilton led the way from Ricciardo, who got the better of Bottas.
Albon lost out to Perez but re-took the place with the Mexican fifth from Norris, Kvyat, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Leclerc, Vettel and Russell in the Top 12. Meanwhile, it wasn't too long as Bottas got through Ricciardo, who had the Thai on his tail.
And Albon pushed through to clear Ricciardo around the outside Turn 1 to be third as Raikkonen in eighth headed Leclerc, Vettel and Russell behind - the Finn trying to create a five seconds gap to the Williams driver to keep the final point to himself.
It was status quo at the front with Hamilton hanging on to win the first-ever F1 Tuscan GP at Mugello with the fastest lap to his name as Bottas and Red Bull's Albon completed the podium, with the Thai collecting his first Top 3 finish of his career.
Ricciardo's hope of getting a podium vanished in fourth with Perez fifth, Norris sixth, Kvyat seventh, Raikkonen eighth, Leclerc ninth and Vettel 10th but the Finn's penalty meant he dropped to ninth and the Monegasque promoted to eighth.
Vettel had to be content with 10th as Ferrari scored the double for the first time this season with Russell ever close to his first in 11th, with Grosjean rounding the 12 finishers. DNF: Stroll, Ocon, Latifi, Magnussen, Giovinazzi, Sainz, Verstappen, Gasly.
[Image courtesy: Mercedes] [Note: This story was written on FormulaRapida.net]