Hamilton overcomes the chaos of Mugello

Hamilton overcomes the chaos of Mugello

90th victory for the Briton in a rugged race, where Sainz abandoned after a terrible crash on the finish line.

Hamilton overcomes the chaos of Mugello

It was a victory after two red flags and three starts from a standstill. A victory in a very eventful race, where only 12 cars reached the checkered flag. One more success for Lewis Hamilton , who rounded off his 90th victory, just one behind Michael Schumacher's record. The podium of the Tuscan GP was completed by Valtteri Bottas and Alexander Albon , while Carlos Sainz lost any option in a chilling accident on the finish line.

Mugello, a track as fast as it is narrow, designed for the greater glory of MotoGP, was the scene of several crazy episodes. The latest was seeing Hamilton on the podium in a T-shirt that read “Stop the cops who murdered Breonna Taylor “, while his partner Bottas muttered his usual disappointment and Albon got credit for the next few months. Ferrari, in its 1,000th GP, after the abandonment of eight rivals, could only place Charles Leclerc in eighth place and Sebastian Vettel in tenth.

And that there was everything in the more than two hours of fighting on the track. Hamilton, from pole position, had been hooked at the start, so Bottas took advantage of the facilities immediately. The Briton's mistake being serious, his misery was a joke compared to Max Verstappen's . The scare on the grid, when the Red Bull mechanics intervened urgently on the car, was confirmed with a loss of power that completely took the Dutchman down.

The delay of the 'safety car'

On the way to turn 2, Pierre Gasly collided with Romain Grosjean , also causing Sainz to spin and attack Verstappen. The options of the man destined to challenge Mercedes were left in the gravel. Michael Masi , race director, took the 'safety car' onto the track, with the idea of removing all the carbon fiber debris scattered on the asphalt.

After six laps at low revs, the Safety Car turned off its lights too late, at Turn 15, and that slow warning triggered all subsequent misfortunes. Bottas did not want to accelerate too early so as not to give Hamilton the possibility of the slipstream and the consequences were suffered in the middle of the peloton.

Nicholas Latifi reacted earlier than expected and swept away everything in his path. Antonio Giovinazzi gave full throttle to run headlong into Kevin Magnussen and Sainz couldn't avoid the inevitable either. “They want to kill us or what? It's the worst I've ever seen!” Exclaimed Romain Grosjean , a privileged spectator. Only Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel, somewhat further behind, could come out unscathed.

First red flag

Four cars gutted in the middle of the straight, forcing Masi to the red flag. Again, like a week ago in Monza, all the survivors to the 'boxes' to give the stewards time and space in the cleaning work. To the six dropouts, we had to add Esteban Ocon , a victim of overheating in the brakes of his Renault.

Ferrari rushed to fix multiple flaws in the back of Vettel's car, while the rest of the engineers racked their brains to figure out the strategy with the tires. The riskiest solution was to mount the hard compound, with which to rush to the checkered flag, but Mercedes bet on the middle, with all its pursuers with the soft one.

Back on the grid, Hamilton was not going to miss another opportunity. As soon as the traffic light went out, he got rid of Bottas with a brilliant overtaking at the San Donato curve. Without the uncomfortable presence of Verstappen, the World Cup leader had it all in his face to do and undo as he pleased. Bottas only had to vent on the radio: “I want my next set of tires to be different from the one you put on Lewis.”

Hamilton overcomes the chaos of Mugello

The only concern for Mercedes, precisely, would be the rapid degradation of the tires. The only weak point in their car, which almost ruined their triumph in the British GP, made an appearance again. “Stay away from the pianos,” Pete Bonnington warned the leader. “We are concerned about the front tires,” they insisted Bottas. And they weren't crocodile tears, so they put the hardest footwear on their two cars. With almost eight seconds ahead, nothing seemed to stand in the way of Hamilton on his way to victory.

Hard Stroll crash

However, the fight from behind between Daniel Ricciardo , Lance Stroll and Albon was going to completely change the landscape. They all had strong reasons for the risk. Renault was looking for its first podium since the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix, Stroll wanted to shake off the bad taste in Monza's mouth and Albon simply couldn't afford another disappointment. On lap 44, the Canadian suffered a puncture while negotiating the second Arrabbiata and his impact against the barriers forced the second red flag.

Third off Sunday start and disastrous role for Bottas, unable to find traction against Ricciardo. Only a few meters later, the Finn was able to react, to regain position and set a fast lap. With 10 laps to go, one could even imagine a hand-to-hand fight for the win. Nothing of that. Albon took advantage of the verve of his Red Bull at Turn 1 to wake Ricciardo from sleep and Hamilton kept the record straight to the finish.

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