Lewis Hamilton claimed his sixth race victory of the season, taking the chequered flag in a dramatic and drama-filled Tuscan Grand Prix which saw two red flags.
The victory sees Hamilton extend his lead at the top of the driver standings to 55 points, with Valtteri Bottas passing up a series of opportunities to pass his team-mate. Alex Albon clinched his first podium finish, holding off the challenge of Daniel Ricciardo, who was denied his best result as a Renault driver.
Max Verstappen ended up in the gravel on the opening lap, with a huge collision involving Carlos Sainz, Kevin Magnussen, Antonio Giovinazzi and Nicholas Latifi witnessed immediately after the safety car period.
This prompted a second red flag in successive race weekends, with the second standing start of the afternoon giving Hamilton the chance to reclaim the first place he’d lost to Bottas on the opening lap.
There was another red flag when Lance Stroll ended up in the tyre barrier, with Albon getting past Ricciardo to stand on the podium for the first time alongside the two Mercedes drivers.
DRIVER OF THE DAY - Alex Albon (Red Bull)
It’s been a difficult season for the young Thai driver. Indeed, Albon still seems to struggle off the line, so it says a lot about how he drove that he was able to finish third. “Thanks for sticking with me,” the 24-year-old said over the Red Bull team radio after crossing the line. That reveals some of the pressure Albon was under. This drive highlighted his potential.
Hamilton ‘mentally and emotionally destroyed’
WHERE THE RACE WAS WON
1/59 - Lights out! What drama! Bottas gets a great start off the line and takes the lead! Sainz spins and collides with Vettel who has sustained some drama... and Verstappen has spun into the gravel! His race is over! The safety car is out!
7/59 - Big crash! The safety car had only just come in and there's a big crash near the back of the pack! Three cars have been caught up in it! It's Giovinazzi, Sainz and Magnussen. And the safety car is back out again.
9/59 - Red flag! We had mayhem and a red flag at Monza last weekend and we have another one here! The session is stopped as there is just so much to clear up down the straight. It's going to be a standing start just like we had at the Italian GP.
10/59 - We are racing again! Hamilton goes around the outside of Bottas into turn one and we have a new car at the head of the pack! Albon had a difficult start off the line, but Perez has made up no fewer than four places! He's up into P5 in behind Stroll in P4!
25/59 - Hamilton issue? "This tyre doesn't feel great. Rear is sliding," says Hamilton to the Mercedes pit wall. He is leading the race comfortably, but Mercedes have had some real problems with tyre management this season (see what happened at Silverstone). Have they made another misjudgement here?
45/59 - Stroll out! Stroll into the barriers! The Racing Point lost the rear, as if he got a puncture. Did he pick that up on the kerbs? Is that why Mercedes were so keen to stress to their drivers to stay off them?
47/59 - Another red flag! Can you believe this? We haven't had a red flag since 2017, but we have now had THREE in two weekends! That barrier has taken a pounding from Stroll's Racing Point and so the marshals are going to need some time to rebuild it. The drivers have been pulled into the pits again.
48/59 - Restart! Bottas down to third, Ricciardo up to second! What a start from the Australian! Ricciardo gets past Bottas into turn one! Albon suffered a poor start, but made up for it over the next few corners and he's up into P4. More drama off the line!
50/59 - Bottas back in P2! Up into second! Bottas has managed to undo the damage that was done on the restart and is ahead of Ricciardo again. The Renault now has a fight on his hands to hold on to the podium finish he has worked so hard for this afternoon. This should be a really interesting scrap until the finish.
51/59 - Albon past Ricciardo! Albon gets past the Renault! What a fantastic pass from the Red Bull, going around the outside of Ricciardo into the second turn of the circuit. Albon held his nerve by going wheel to wheel with the Australian and now has Bottas in his sights. The Red Bull has some real speed. Second place isn't out of the question!
Hamilton wins the Tuscan GP! Hamilton takes the chequered flag! It's another track for the world championship leader to win at. Bottas crosses the line in second and behind him Albon completes the podium! What a result for the young Red Bull driver. That will feel very sweet after what has been a challenging season.
Lewis Hamilton - Tuscany GP
Image credit: Getty Images
PIT EXCHANGE OF THE DAY
"That was f****** stupid from whoever was at the front. They want to kill us or what? This is the worst thing I have seen ever,” Romain Grosjean said after the four-car crash that shook up the entire race after only seven laps. Indeed, it was a dangerous incident, with the back of the pack racing before the front. That resulted in a number of cars ploughing into the back of others.
Albon looked to gain confidence after the second restart and that was clear in the manner he passed Ricciardo with eight laps to go. Heading into turn two, the 24-year-old went the long way around Ricciardo and held it into turn three. He could have pulled out, with the two cars wheel-to-wheel, but held his nerve to take third place off the Australian.