Lewis gets 90th win amid chaos

Mercedes ace just one victory from equalling Schumacher's mark; Ferrari struggle again

Lewis Hamilton leading the pack at the Tuscan Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver overcame a stop-start race, amid two red flags, for a sixth win this year as he extended his lead in the drivers' standings to 55 points. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Lewis Hamilton leading the pack at the Tuscan Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver overcame a stop-start race, amid two red flags, for a sixth win this year as he extended his lead in the drivers' standings to 55 points.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

FLORENCE • Lewis Hamilton yesterday celebrated the 90th win of his Formula One career, one short of Michael Schumacher's all-time record, after a crazy crash-strewn Tuscan Grand Prix that was stopped twice.

His teammate Valtteri Bottas completed the Mercedes one-two at the Ferrari-owned Mugello circuit, while Thai driver Alex Albon came in third for Red Bull to claim his first career podium finish.

"It was all a bit of a daze. It was like three races in one day," gasped Hamilton, who finished 4.880 seconds clear of Bottas for a record 222nd points finish in a race with three standing starts.

"Just incredibly tough today. All those restarts, the focus that's needed during that time, it's really, really hard. This track is phenomenal and the heat and keeping Valtteri behind was not easy.

"My heart is racing. It is crazy to be here and to have 90 grands prix."

The race was Ferrari's 1,000th championship grand prix, but the best the motor sport's most successful team could manage was eighth for Charles Leclerc, with teammate Sebastian Vettel coming in 10th.

Hamilton's sixth victory in nine races this season put the Briton on 190 points, 55 clear of Bottas with eight rounds remaining, with the six-time world champion and championship leader also taking an extra point for fastest lap.

The Silver Arrows, who celebrated their 100th win in the modern era, are now 152 points clear of second-placed Red Bull in the constructors' standings.

However, Bottas called his runners-up finish "disappointing".

"It seemed like there was never an opportunity once I lost the position at the second start," the Finn said. "That is how it goes. I will just keep pushing and keep trying to get better. It has to turn out well for me at some point."

Red Bull, however, were thrilled with British-born Albon after his teammate Max Verstappen, who is third in the standings and 80 points behind Hamilton, retired in the gravel at the second corner.

  • 222
    Races in which Lewis Hamilton has scored points - an F1 record

  • TUSCAN GRAND PRIX

  • RESULTS

    1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 2hr 19min 35.060sec *fastest lap

    2 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes +4.880sec

    3 Alex Albon (Tha) Red Bull +8.064sec

    4 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault +10.417sec

    5 Sergio Perez (Mex) Racing Point +15.650sec

    6 Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren +18.883sec

    7 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) AlphaTauri +21.756sec

    8 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari +28.345sec

    9 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo +29.770sec

    10 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari +29.983sec

    11 George Russell (Gbr) Williams +32.404sec

    12 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas +42.036sec

    DNF

    Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull

    Pierre Gasly (Fra) AlphaTauri

    Carlos Sainz (Esp) McLaren

    STANDINGS
    DRIVERS

    1 Hamilton 190pts 2 Bottas 135 3 Verstappen 110
    4 Norris 65 5 Albon 63

    CONSTRUCTORS

    1 Mercedes 325pts 2 Red Bull 173 3 McLaren 106
    4 Racing Point 92 5 Renault 83

Team principal Christian Horner told Sky Sports: "I am really pleased for him.

"He has bounced back the last couple of weekends. He has been getting stronger and stronger.

"He is Mr 'Round the Outside'. It is a disadvantage that he is too nice. When he puts the helmet on, there is a real racer.

"This podium for him will give him a boost of confidence. I think he will build from here nicely."

The race was first stopped eight laps in after a mass collision among backmarkers when the safety car, deployed at the end of the opening lap, headed back into the pits and was red-flagged again with 13 laps left when Canadian Lance Stroll crashed his Racing Point car after an apparent puncture.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2020, with the headline 'Lewis gets 90th win amid chaos'. Print Edition | Subscribe