A horror fire accident made Lewis Hamilton’s 95th Grand Prix victory almost a minor matter. The seven-time Formula 1 world champion won Sunday in Bahrain ahead of Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Alex Albon and celebrated his eleventh win of the season. The third last race of the season was overshadowed by the mad crash of the Frenchman Romain Grosjean, who miraculously escaped slightly injured. Lance Stroll was also unharmed in a rollover.
The Grosjean accident happened on the starting lap, Stroll’s one immediately after the race resumed. But even the fact that the Canadian had to crawl out of his “on the roof” Racing Point was almost a minor matter on this crazy first Sunday in Advent.
Because before that, Grosjean had lost control of his Haas immediately after the start after he had hit the front tire of Daniil Kwjat’s AlphaTauri while changing lanes. The Frenchman’s car then raced into the lane barrier at over 200 km / h, the car was literally cut into two parts by the guardrail. The front cockpit area with the pilot also buried itself under the metal barrier and began to burn like a blaze.
Fortunately, because of the starting lap, the medical car was there quickly, and while the fire-fighting work began, Grosjean emerged from the wall of flames like a winder and escaped with a jump over the guardrail. The driver had to be supported afterwards, but seemed okay. According to Haas team boss Günther Steiner, Grosjean was flown to Manama hospital with burns to his hands and feet. Geneva-born Grosjean was voted “Driver of the Day”.
“It’s shocking. They were pictures that we haven’t seen since the 1990s,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, initially addressing the accident. The accident is comparable to that of Niki Lauda, because it would have torn the Austrian’s Ferrari in two parts at the Nürburgring, said Wolff and emphasized the high level of safety development in the motorsport premier class. “I don’t even want to imagine how this accident would have ended a few years ago. But even if the safety is high, it is still a very dangerous sport.”
Thus, the third to last World Championship run did not really start under 500 floodlights until about an hour and a half after it actually started, then luckily it ran for long stretches – almost – without further incidents. Hamilton, who has long been established as world champion, made sovereign starts both times and from then on always had Verstappen in his rear-view mirror, who had “inherited” two starting positions from Bottas. The Finn had no chance due to an early tire failure and only finished eighth in the end – he has not yet secured the vice world title against Verstappen.
Verstappen tried to get closer to the leader at the second pit stop using an undercut, but that’s when the pit crew, weakened by some corona failures, failed. The fact that two Red Bulls made it into the top 3 for the first time since 2017 was also due to Sergio Perez’s bad luck. The Mexican, who was second behind Hamilton most recently in Istanbul, retired with the engine burning with three laps to go. The fact that a marshal ran across the track while the race was running caused another horror.
In any case, Hamilton’s victory was finally secured by the neutralization. The Briton also immediately spoke about the accident as his fourth Bahrain triumph. “The pictures were shocking. It’s terrible to see something like this,” he said. It was also clear to the Englishman: “That could have been much worse and reminds us that this is a dangerous sport.”
Hamilton can now equalize more records after his eleventh win of the season. If he wins the last two races in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, he would be 13 wins of the season and tied with the two Germans Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. Even the biggest World Cup lead is still within reach, with Hamilton currently 131 points ahead of Valtteri Bottas. In addition, Hamilton can still come to 100 poles.
After the podium comeback in Istanbul, Vettel was only 13th with less points in his Ferrari after the podium comeback. In the constructors’ championship, Racing Point fell back to fourth behind McLaren after the unlucky “zero”. The next Formula 1 GP will also be held in Bahrain in a week, but then on the short external course