Lewis Hamilton has taken a formidable 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix victory. Red Bull drivers claimed the runners up spot on the podium with Max Verstappen finishing second and Alex Albon finishing third. But the race started with a horrifying crash involving Romain Grosjean that saw his Haas explode into flames. It was followed by an incident that flipped Lance Stroll’s Racing point upside down, with more drama and heartbreak for an eventful race around the Bahrain International Circuit.
A conventional start saw Hamilton lead into turn one. But further, down the order into turn three, the Haas of Romain Grosjean veered off violently following a touch with the AlphaTauri of Daniil Kvyat and into the inside Armco barrier at high speed and exploded into flames. But the medical car and marshals arrived immediately to the scenes to douse the fire. Thankfully, Grosjean was seen rising from the flames in his own power and was pulled into safety. Despite the Haas breaking in half after ploughing through the barriers, Grosjean is reported to have only suffered small burns to his hands and ankle, and a possibly broken rib. His condition is expected to be confirmed soon, but the French driver was flown to a nearby hospital for treatment. But credit to the safety measures which have been put in place, especially the Halo that same the life of Romain Grosjean in the incident.
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The race was red-flagged immediately after the incident. After a long wait of over an hour in repairs to the barriers, the race resumed with standing start and a new grid.
At the restart, Hamilton again got off the line well with Verstappen, Perez and Bottas behind. But again back down the order, Kvyat was again involved in an incident where he touched wheels with Lance Stroll’s Racing Point. Stroll’s car flipped dangerously and landed upside down. However, the Halo again proved to be detrimental to protecting Stroll from harm. While the safety car was summoned, Stroll was able to get out of the wreckage safely, and unharmed. Kvyat was awarded a 10-second stop-go penalty for causing a collision.
Once the race resumed, it was Hamilton, Verstappen and Perez at the front. Bottas dropped down to 16th after a puncture meaning Albon was in fourth. While the top four drivers held station for a majority of the race with different tyre and pitstop strategies.
It was three laps to go when Hamilton was geared to win and Verstappen hoping to steal the fastest lap. But in third place, the Mercedes power unit in the Racing Point of Perez blew up. The Mexican tried to keep going as long as he could. But eventually, when the rear end of his car caught fire, he was forced to pull over. Albon then assumed fourth place as the race finished under the safety car.
Among the points finishers of the race, the two McLarens finished fourth with Norris leading Sainz in fifth. Gasly claimed a sixth-place finish fending off a late charge from the Renault of Ricciardo in seventh. Bottas, Ocon and Leclerc were the final three drivers in the top 10.
While the race was dramatic, and heartbreaking for Racing Point with a double retirement. The silver lining was watching Grosjean survive such a terrifying incident. While he is reportedly alright, his condition is still to be officially confirmed. The season sees two more races and would be Grosjean’s final year with Haas. It is possible that Grosjean may not be back in time for the Sakhir GP or the Abu Dhabi GP. Either way, we at Express Drives extend our thoughts to Romain Grosjean and his family for a speedy recovery, and to see the Frenchman, a family man and father of three boys, hopefully in the paddock soon.
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