Horrific Crash Overshadows Another Win For Lewis
29TH NOVEMBER 2020: THE BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX
- 1. Lewis Hamilton
- 2. Max Verstappen
- 3. Alexander Albon
- 4. Lando Norris
- 5. Carlos Sainz Jr
- 6. Pierre Gasly
- 7. Daniel Ricciardo
- 8. Valtteri Bottas
- 9. Esteban Ocon
- 10. Charles Leclerc
“I don’t know if the word miracle exists or if it can be used, but in any case I would say it wasn’t my time (to die).“ (Romain Grosjean)
Thankfully it’s been a long time since we’ve seen such a horrific crash in Formula One.
Today, on the opening lap, between Turn 3 and 4 - Haas’ Romain Grosjean appeared to veer dramatically across the track before colliding with Kvyat and hurtling towards the barriers at 137mph.
The unusual angle pierced the car to the barrier and split the Haas into two parts – causing fuel to be released and the car to burst into flames – trapped sideways in the barrier.
It was a long 30 seconds before we saw Grosjean jump free from the vehicle. Sustaining an impact of 53G, Grosjean went to hospital with burns on the back of his hands.
There has been much talk since of the ‘halo’ having saved his life. Certainly a testament to how far the sport has come regarding safety. And quite possibly a miracle.
So, back to the race. Following the crash, there was a 45 minute stoppage - while the damaged barriers were replaced with concrete ones.
Not long after the restart, another crash – as Lance Stroll rolled his Racing Point car after a collision with Daniil Kvyat. Stroll was unhurt, but out of the race.
Hamilton controlled the race from the restart, but it wasn’t as easy as it looked. He struggled with tyre management and holding off pressure from Verstappen.
“It was physically very demanding. With the break we had at the beginning…it is so easy to step out of the zone.” (Hamilton)
It was Hamilton’s 11th win of the season, equalling his best. He can no longer equal Schumacher/Vettel’s record of 13th wins in a season this year – after testing positive for COVID Hamilton will miss the race this coming weekend.
Verstappen drove well to finish 2nd, maintaining the pressure on Hamilton throughout the race. But he was still disappointed, perhaps because he was so close to a win:
“We didn’t really go aggressive with the strategy.. we also had a slow pit stop. Second isn’t too bad.”
Perez had been on course for a well-deserved 3rd place – but an apparent engine failure with 3 laps to go forced him to retire.
His retirement handed Albon 3rd place, the Red Bull driver previously having failed to seriously challenge Perez for the podium:
“Obviously a bit of luck with what happened to Sergio (Perez).” (Albon)
With Perez out, Leclerc was promoted to 10th place and the points – after Ferrari struggled today. Vettel finished 13th.
It was another disappointing day for Mercedes driver Bottas. After a poor start, he was in 6th at the red flag for Grosjean’s crash, then 4th at the restart. But he suffered a slow puncture on the 1st lap of racing and was forced to make an emergency pit. An 8th place finish was the best that he could do.
So, the next race is in Bahrain again at the Sakhir Grand Prix, this time on the ‘outer track’ – promising to be ‘short and fast.’ All new, so we are not sure what to expect – but obviously looking forward to it!
And the World Champion won’t be involved, as Hamilton is self-isolating after a positive COVID test. He is replaced by 22 year old British driver George Russell.
This race promises to be different...