Sunday, 13 September 2020 17:44

Photo Credit:Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton took his 90th career victory by beating Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in a chaotic, incident-strewn Tuscan Grand Prix.

The victory takes the Briton to within one race victory of Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 – a landmark he could equal in Sochi, Russia, a week next Sunday.

The most dramatic scenes came during the first re-start, just after the safety car pulled in having been deployed for a smash on the second corner of the race. Valtteri Bottas, the then leader, waited until the last permitted moment to put his foot down. But behind him, some of the pack were overeager and effectively restarted the race before those in front had done so.

As a number of the overzealous got on and off the throttle in a few frantic seconds, madness ensued. Williams’ Nicholas Latifi sped up and slowed down, Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi went into the back of him. Carlos Sainz then careered into Giovinazzi, lifting him into the air. Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was also caught up in the accident. All four were sent into the barriers. A cloud of smoke hid the scene.

Sainz hurt his hand. But all four amazingly walked away.

Before that, Bottas had taken the lead from pole-sitter Hamilton, who made a terrible start.

The safety car almost immediately came out, after just two corners, when Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, last week’s surprise winner at the Italian Grand Prix, ended up in the gravel.

Verstappen had engine problems anyway and would have retired even if he hadn’t crashed. He has now endured two DNFs in successive weeks – a massive dent in his title dreams. 

Following the second and bigger crash, on the start-finish straight, the race got underway again following a 36-minute delay. Hamilton breezed cleanly away from the grid, slotting in behind Bottas and using the slipstream to make his move decisively at the first corner.

Not great by Bottas, but that tow is hard to resist.

Hamilton took the lead and it was plain sailing until Lance Stroll’s Racing Point suffered a suspected puncture on the fast second Arrabbiata corner and smashed hard into the barriers.

The red flag was waved again with 44 of the 59 laps done.

In one of the most dramatic races for years, six cars had retired before a lap of racing had completed.

Red Bull's British-born Thai driver Alex Albon took his maiden podium in third.