Inaugural Tuscan Grand Prix Brings Drama

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Lewis Hamilton (above) emerged victorious in the inaugural Tuscan Grand Prix. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Michael Hernandez, Contributing Writer

Today’s inaugural Formula 1 Tuscan Grand Prix did not disappoint, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton winning and his teammate Valteri Bottas finishing in second. Red Bull’s Alex Albon finished on the podium for the first time in his career. 

When the lights went out, the race barely went through four corners before a safety car was called out due to a crash. The accident led to the retirements of Albon’s teammate Max Verstappen and last week’s winner, Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly. It seemed as if the safety car would enter and the race would continue, but we all thought wrong. In a safety car restart, the leader at the time controls the pace once the safety car is brought in. There is no overtaking until a certain line, allowing the leader to decide when to resume racing speed. In this case, the leader at the time, Bottas, waited until the last moment to resume the race. However, the midfield cars were not able to see what Bottas was doing. That resulted in Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi driving into the rear of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, while also collecting Williams’ Nicolas Latifi and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz. After this massive accident, the safety car was called out, and it was followed by an immediate red flag. This means that after less than 10 laps and only four corners of real racing, there were only 14 drivers left. During the red flag, Renault’s Esteban Ocon retired due to a brake issue, bringing the number of drivers down to 13.

Once the race was back underway, Hamilton led from Bottas, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in third and Racing Points’ Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez were fourth and fifth, respectively, and Albon in seventh. The race then became a bit stale, with a few overtakes due to different cars on different strategies. However, the race was thrown into chaos again on lap 43, when Stroll crashed out due to a puncture. This brought out another safety car before another red flag. This marks the first time that multiple red flags have been shown in a single race since Brazil in 2016. When racing resumed, the top two were the same, with Ocon’s teammate Daniel Ricciardo in third place and Albon in fourth. Sainz’s teammate Lando Norris was in fifth and Perez in sixth. Albon quickly passed Ricciardo to take the final podium spot with less than nine laps to go.

Overall, Hamilton increases his lead in the driver’s championship and his team increases their lead in the constructors championship. The rest of the points positions were: Ricciardo in fourth, followed by Perez, Norris, Daniil Kvyat (Gasly’s teammate), Leclerc, Kimi Raikkionen (Giovanizzi’s teammate) and Sebastian Vettel, respectively. The only non scorers who finished were George Russell (Latifi’s teammate) and Romain Grojean (Magnussen’s teammate). A couple of surprises included Russell (11th), who is still looking for his first-ever points finish, and the fact that Ferrari had both cars in the points. We now have a bit of a break until the Russian Grand Prix, but everyone is excited to see what the next race will give us.