Tuscan Grand Prix – Race


Mercedes have taken the top two spots on the grid at Ferrari’s 1,000th Formula 1 world championship race; VET didn’t get out of Q2… in fact he was lucky to get through the first Qualifying session.

Grid: HAM, BOT, VER, ALB, LEC, STR, PER*, RIC, SAI, OCO, NOR, KVY, RAI, VET, GRO, GAS, GIO, RUS, LAT, MAG
*PER’s 1-grid spot penalty drops him behind teammate STR

It’s the first time there’s been a F1 race here so there’s no historic data for the teams to use when planning pit strategy, but what the past couple of days have shown is it’s going to test the drivers’ fitness as they hit forces exceeding 5G for 59 laps.

HAM: “It is phenomenal this track, they really don’t make tracks like this anymore. Here there’s gravel, less run off areas, massive undulations – I love that man. Portimao is up and down so that should be exciting to drive too, but I love this one.”

Pit lane is now open; cars can head out to the dummy grid
VER reports a problem with his engine, “Before, the engine was almost stalling, like it was on idle. It’s definitely not OK.”

It’s odd to see the safety car painted “Ferrari red” but that might be as close as they get to leading the race
Prediction is there’s a 67% chance of the SC being deployed during the race

There’s quite a strong headwind as they’ll head uphill into Turn 1, so there could be a chance for BOT and VER to slipstream behind HAM and challenge for the lead
Air temperature 30°C; track 45°C; humidity 40%; wind 9.5km/h

Drivers are at the front of the grid for the “End Racism gesture” (interesting wording but I’m not sure what else they could call it), then the national anthem and flypast
Meanwhile the Red Bull mechanics seem to be paying close attention to the rear left of VER’s car – the engine cover is off and there’s a lot of dry ice
Update from the team reporting it was a software problem and it’s resolved

HAM leads everyone away on the formation lap
The top 10 start on the soft tyres they used in Q2; behind there’s a mix of soft and medium compounds
Grid: HAM, BOT, VER, ALB, LEC, STR, PER, RIC, SAI, OCO, NOR, KVY, RAI, VET, GRO, GAS, GIO, RUS, LAT, MAG

01/59: BOT steals P1 before Turn 1
Quite a tangle in Turn 2 – a couple of cars are in the gravel trap
Safety Car deployed

Replay shows GAS hit MAG
VET hit the spinning SAI
VER was struggling even before Turn 1, presumably the engine problem he had getting to the dummy grid

02[SC]: The official app is absolutely useless – it says the order is BOT, BOT, VER… ugh!
RAI and VET pit

03[SC]: BOT, HAM, LEC, ALB, STR, RIC, PER, NOR, KVY, OCO, RUS, MAG, LAT, GIO, SAI, GRO, RAI, VET; out: VER, GAS

04[SC]: Radio from RUS reporting “OCO’s rears are on fire, literally”

05/59[SC]: Incident involving RAI, GRO, GAS, VER under investigation – causing a collision
Incident involving SAI and STR – no investigation necessary

06[SC]: Marshals are still sweeping gravel off the track
SC in at the end of this lap
BOT follows the SC until the penultimate corner

07: As BOT crosses the start line there’s contact further down the field – cars into the wall
SC deployed again
Replay looks like the drivers at the back put their foot down before the guys at the front were at race speed

08[SC]: Red flags – race suspended
I wonder if they’ll penalise BOT for not picking up the pace on the restart? Technically he acts as the SC until he crosses the start line, but is there a minimum speed requirement? If not, should there be?

09[SC]: SC leads the remaining 14 cars into the pit lane
Order is: BOT, HAM, LEC, ALB, STR, RIC, PER, NOR, KVY, OCO, RUS, RAI, VET, GRO; out: LAT, MAG, GIO, SAI, VER, GAS

GRO: “That was stupid from whoever was at the front! They want to kills us or what?! This is the worst thing I have seen.”
HAM: “Unfortunately this is what happens when you turn on the Safety Car lights so late.”
SAI: “Oh my god. That was dangerous.”

Race will restart at 1555 local time
Renault have tweeted to say OCO has been retired due to his brakes overheating
Race control confirm it will be a standing start

Order for the restart: BOT, HAM, LEC, ALB, STR, RIC, PER, NOR, KVY, RUS, RAI, VET, GRO
Out: OCO, LAT, MAG, GIO, SAI, VER, GAS

Some teams have changed tyres, which is allowed during the red flags
Cars leave the pit lane; they will form up on the grid for the restart
BOT, HAM, RUS and RAI on mediums; rest are on softs

SC heads into the pits; grid forms up
HAM’s front left brake is smoking badly

10/59: HAM takes P1 into Turn 1

11: HAM fastest lap 1:23.370
HAM, BOT, LEC, STR, PER, RIC, ALB, NOR, KVY, RAI, RUS, VET, GRO; that’s all!

12: DRS enabled
BOT f/lap
RUS takes P10 from RAI

13: HAM f/lap 1:22.376
RIC closing on PER

15/59: HAM, BOT, LEC, STR, PER, RIC, ALB, NOR, KVY, RUS, RAI, VET, GRO
RIC takes P5 from PER

16: STR challenging LEC for P3
VET past RAI for P11

17: Radio from ALB, “We just need more power”; “Understood”

18: STR takes P3 from LEC
ALB past PER for P6

19: RIC easily past LEC for P4

20/59: HAM, BOT, STR, RIC, LEC, ALB, PER, NOR, KVY, RUS, VET, RAI, GRO
ALB past LEC for P5

21: HAM 1.6sec ahead of BOT; STR over 10sec further back
PER inside LEC for P6

22: LEC pits from P7; hard tyres go on; rejoins P13

25/59: HAM, BOT, STR, RIC, ALB, PER, NOR, KVY, RUS, VET, RAI, GRO, LEC
Radio from HAM complaining his rear tyres are sliding

26: LEC takes P12 from GRO

27: Radio for NOR suggesting they try the undercut; “Do it! Do it!” chants NOR 🙂

28: RIC pits from P4; mediums go on; rejoins P12
NOR passes PER for P5
RAI pits from P11; long stop, waiting for rear jack to drop the car
Radio from BOT asking for an opposite strategy to HAM

29: PER pits from P6; mediums go on
VET and GRO pit too
Replay of RAI’s pit stop – looks like the lights indicating it’s safe to release him were stuck on red

Half distance

30/59: NOR, KVY and RUS all pit
NOR has to wait for KVY to pass his box before he’s released

31: STR pits from P3
Radio from BOT, “front left is finished”; “Box, box”
PER f/lap

32: BOT pits; hard tyres go on; rejoins P3

33: HAM pits; hards – so much for BOT having the opposite tyre – because he pitted 2nd HAM can ask for the same tyre as BOT
ALB pits; mediums

34: BOT f/lap 1:21.874
RAI squeezes past GRO for P12

35/59: HAM, BOT, RIC, STR, ALB, PER, NOR, LEC, KVY, RUS, VET, RAI, GRO
BOT f/lap 1:21.799

37: KVY has closed up on LEC, inside DRS gap

38: LEC pits from P8; mediums; rejoins P11, behind VET

39: Radio for BOT telling him the front right
Radio for HAM telling him to stay off the kerbs; “Which kerbs?”; “All of them”

40/59: HAM, BOT, RIC, STR, ALB, PER, NOR, KVY, RUS, VET, LEC, RAI, GRO
ALB f/lap 1:21.756

41: ALB closing on STR, but STR also catching RIC
Radio from HAM pointing out not using the kerbs is slower; Bono confirms both cars are being given the same instruction

43: LEC within DRS range of VET
STR off, across the gravel

44: SC deployed
BOT pits but HAM didn’t

45[SC]: HAM pits
Replay shows STR’s rear suddenly let go, spun him around and into the tyre wall
Red flags again

46[SC]: SC leads them into the pit lane
Drivers jump out; mechanics try to cool the engines and brakes, but keep the tyres warm

STR is back at the Racing Point garage; seems to be ok
RIC is cooling off and grabbing a snack

Race will restart at 1712 local time

Order for the 2nd restart: HAM, BOT, RIC, ALB, PER, NOR, KVY, LEC, RUS, VET, RAI, GRO
Out: STR, OCO, LAT, MAG, GIO, SAI, VER, GAS

Bit of shuffling in the pit lane as the lapped cars (RAI, GRO) are moved aside

Race control: RAI under investigation for pit entry incident
Replay shows the SC light comes on as RAI has passed the start of the pit entry lines, so he cuts across a chevron and dives into the pits

RAI and GRO leave the pit lane – they’ll re-enter the pit lane at the back of the queue
Makes sense, so they’ll have the same tyre wear, fuel usage, etc.

SC leads the shorter-than-normal train around to form up on the grid

47/59: RIC ahead of BOT off the line
ALB around PER for P4
Race control: RAI given 5sec penalty
RUS has dropped to P12

48: HAM, RIC, BOT, ALB, PER, NOR, KVY, RAI*, GRO, LEC, VET, RUS (*RAI has 5sec penalty)
BOT around the outside of RIC to reclaim P2

49: BOT f/lap 1:19.752
ALB closing on RIC
Radio for RAI telling him of the 5sec penalty; RAI screams “For what?!”

50/59: HAM, BOT, RIC, ALB, PER, NOR, KVY, RAI*, LEC, GRO, VET, RUS
LEC takes P9 from GRO

51: RIC defends but ALB takes P3
VET past GRO for P10

52: HAM f/lap 1:19.647
RUS takes P11 from GRO

53: ALB closing on BOT … but is BOT giving himself space so he can go for another fastest lap?

54: BOT f/lap 1:19.432
VET runs wide, kicks up some gravel

55/59: HAM, BOT, ALB, RIC, PER, NOR, KVY, RAI*, LEC, VET, RUS, GRO
RUS closing on VET

56: RUS pushing hard, runs a bit wide too

57: BOT 1.5sec behind HAM; ALB 3.5sec behind BOT

58: Radio for BOT, “Keep the pressure on”

59 = final lap: HAM f/lap 1:18.833

HAM takes the chequered flag
Radio from ALB, “Thanks everyone. Thanks for everything. Thanks for sticking with me”

Provisional result: HAM, BOT, ALB, RIC, PER, NOR, KVY, RAI*, LEC, VET, RUS, GRO
*RAI has 5sec penalty to be applied – that will drop him to P9 between the Ferrari pair

Interviews:
HAM: “It was all a bit of daze. It was like three races in one day. Just incredibly tough today. This track is phenomenal and the heat and keeping Valtteri behind was not easy. All those restarts total focus was needed. It was really, really hard. Valtteri appeared out of nowhere when I saw Danny was behind. I didn’t want him to have DRS. My heart is racing. It is crazy to be here and to have 90 grands prix.”
BOT: “Disappointing. It was a dream start for me. The start was really good and I managed to hold my position at the safety car restart. It seemed like there was never an opportunity once I lost the position at the second start. 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.”
ALB: “It was good obviously it is a while to get here but it was a tough one. I had to work for it. I am happy. I can breathe. It is nice to be here. It was brutal, especially the high speed in sector two. It is more adrenaline going in my body than anything else. I am happy. We couldn’t get off the line so most overtakes had to be on circuit. We can do moves like that. It is fun to drive.”

Result: HAM*, BOT, ALB, RIC, PER, NOR, KVY, LEC, RAI, VET, RUS, GRO
*Fastest lap: HAM, 1:18.833
DNF: STR, OCO, LAT, MAG, GIO, SAI, VER, GAS

[2020 calendar] [2020 line-up]