Lewis Hamilton cruises to another victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix ahead of Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Alex Albon… but race is marred by Romain Grosjean’s horror crash on the first lap
- Lewis Hamilton strolled to an 11th victory of the season at the action-packed Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday
- Max Verstappen, who set the fastest lap, finished in second while Alex Albon took the final podium spot
- It was heartbreak for Sergio Perez, who was in third before he was forced to retire his car with just laps left
- However, the race was marred by Romain Grosjean’s horrific crash on the first lap in Bahrain on Sunday
- Grosjean’s Formula One car explodes into fireball in 140mph crash that split his car in half
Lewis Hamilton won an extraordinary Bahrain Grand Prix after Romain Grosjean miraculously survived a fireball crash at 140mph – one of the most remarkable accidents any driver has ever walked away from.
While it was routine for Hamilton, notching his 11th win of a brilliant season that saw him clinch his seventh world title only a fortnight ago in Turkey, it was the scenes right at the start that will linger in the collective memory.
Grosjean’s white Haas car touched Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTauri at Turn Three of lap one and went careering into the barriers. His car immediately turned into an inferno on impact, orange flames lighting up the night sky.
Lewis Hamilton celebrates after notching his 11th victory of the season at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday
Hamilton’s dominance over the rest of the Formula One field has continued after his Bahrain Grand Prix success
Seven-time world champion Hamilton took the chequered flag with ease, leading in every lap bar one in Bahrain
Hamilton’s latest victory was marred by Romain Grosjean’s horror crash during the first lap though on Sunday
The Haas driver is helped into the medical car before he was taken to hospital for further assessment after his sickening crash
The Frenchman, 34, was stuck inside the blaze for more than 20 seconds as marshals on the ground and the medical car on the road hurried along to douse the fire with extinguishers. Amazingly, Grosjean’s chassis penetrated the steel wall, and he ended up the far side from the track.
He finally freed himself as the rescue team arrived and, with the help of medical delegate Dr Ian Roberts, climbed back over the barrier on to the side from which he had arrived in such spectacular, alarming fashion.
The TV cameras cut away fearing for Grosjean’s life.
His car was split in two in a 56G impact, but he was in one piece, though hobbling. He was taken by helicopter to the BDF Military Hospital 10 miles north of the Bahrain International Circuit with suspected broken ribs and foot. He also had burns to his hands and ankles.
Damon Hill, the 1996 world champion, said: ‘It is a miracle he is alive. We just haven’t seen anything like that since something like Gerhard’s accident in Imola all those years ago,’ added Hill, referring to the 1989 crash that ruptured the fuel tank on Austrian Gerhard Berger’s Ferrari.
Grosjean’s car burst into flames after he drove straight into the metal barriers at 140mph during the first lap
The Bahrain Grand Prix was delayed for 90 minutes while the barrier was mended, with the help of a welder
Grosjean’s Haas car split straight into two after he went careering into the barriers during the early action on Sunday
Hamilton, who won from pole, said: ‘I’m so grateful Romain is safe. Wow… the risk we take is no joke, for those of you out there that forget that we put our life on the line for this sport and for what we love to do,’ said Hamilton on Twitter.
‘Thankful to the FIA for the massive strides we’ve taken for Romain to walk away from that safely.’
Medical car driver, South African Van Der Merwe, sprayed the fire extinguisher on Grosjean and Dr Roberts as they emerged from the fire. He said: ‘I am sure it was only a second or so but it felt like ages and then Romain started to get out of the car himself which was pretty amazing after an accident like that.
‘There was some relief when we got back here and he was OK.
‘It just goes to show that all the systems we developed worked hand-in-hand, the halo, the barriers, the seat belt, everything worked how it should and without just one of those things it could have been a very different outcome.’
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Alex Albon finished second and third respectively behind the seven-time world champion
Verstappen set the fastest lap of the day but could get nowhere near a once again dominant Hamilton on the weekend
Above all, the halo device – protecting the head – may well have saved Grosjean’s life from the impact. It cut through the barrier rather than letting his skull hit the steel.
The race was delayed for 90 minutes while the barrier was mended, with the help of a welder.
When it restarted, Lance Stroll’s Racing Point ended up on its back at Turn 8, having clipped Kvyat (him again!). The Russian was handed a 10-second penalty. Stroll crawled out from the belly of his machine, and was declared unharmed after visiting the medical centre.
The safety car came out.
Finally, the action began once more. Hamilton was in charge, albeit complaining of vibrations, to beat the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alex Albon second and third after Sergio Perez’s engine blew, while in third. That brought about another ball of fire – but nothing at all on the same of the Grosjean deliverance.
With Perez’s misfortune the race ended under a safety car.
But not before someone – a marshal presumably – ran across the track as McLaren’s Lando Norris approached. What a night this was.
There was heartbreak for Sergio Perez with just laps left after his engine blew while he was moments away from taking third
Perez’s Racing Point car is lifted away from the track after his third-place hopes collapsed after his engine blew
Just moments after Grosjean’s crash, the safety car came out after Lance Stroll’s car flipped upside down on Sunday
RELIVE ALL THE LIVE ACTION FROM THE BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX BELOW…
That’s all from us today, everyone!
Thank you all very much for joining us. Have a brilliant evening.
The final word must go to Romain Grosjean after his horrific crash. It was great to see him come out of the sickening incident OK, and we wish him a speedy recovery!
And there we have it! Three hours after the race started, Hamilton cruises to yet another victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Hamilton leads the drivers over the line ahead of Verstappen and Albon.
What a day for Red Bull, who get both cars on the podium. First time that has happened since Japan in 2017.
We are on the final lap and will finish under the safety car. Hamilton will win once again, and Red Bull will take second and third.
Albon can’t believe his luck as he gets set to take third behind team-mate Verstappen, who will get the point for fastest lap.
You do have to feel for Racing Point, it had been a great drive by Perez today who deserved that podium!
Hamilton gets word from his Mercedes team: ‘Stay out, stay out. We think this is going to take a long time to clear. There are two laps to go and there is no over-taking on the last lap.’
Hamilton cruising to first place once again here…
Looks like this race will end behind a safety car now…
There looks like smoke coming from Perez’s car here, and it appears to be getting worse. Doesn’t look like he is going to last here… and he doesn’t!
Albon can smell a podium finish here. He is going to inherit third place here, for his second podium of his career!
AlphaTauri have only opted for Gasly to come in once during this race, and it may backfire with Ricciardo lurking just behind.
Gasly isn’t confident about his car here, claiming he just doesn’t have the traction needed.
Ricciardo catching Gasly now is arguably the biggest change that will take place now.
Unless something extraordinary happens, it should be a Hamilton, Verstappen and Perez podium finish.
And Sainz has managed to overtake Gasly. The Spanish driver now moves up to sixth. It has been a fine day for McLaren so far with five laps remaining.
Gasly isn’t looking particularly comfortable in sixth place. He is only 0.9 seconds ahead of Sainz. Will the Spaniard be able to capitalise and squeeze past the Frenchman?
And there you have it. Verstappen sets another fastest lap at the Bahrain Grand Prix…
Looks like the top three will be Hamilton, Verstappen and Perez at the moment!
Verstappen has managed to clear Latifi and Raikkonen so may have a bit more freedom to go for the fastest lap of the race.
Hamilton is dominantly extending his lead over Verstappen with just over 10 laps remaining in Bahrain.
The seven-time world champion is now over five seconds ahead of Verstappen, who is now pitting.
Presumably he wants to go for the fastest lap point. A slightly risky manoeuvre…
It sounds like Mercedes have asked their drivers to bring home their cars in one piece. Norris sits in fifth and Sainz two places further behind in seventh.
AlphaTauri’s Gasly is sandwiched in between them in sixth.
Bottas makes an early decision to go on the inside of Ocon, and squeezes ahead into ninth.
Can he make a late surge up the standings following his tough tough start?
Meanwhile, it’s looking very good for his Mercedes team-mate Hamilton…
Hamilton is 3.4 seconds ahead of Verstappen. He was 3.2 ahead of the Red Bull driver on the previous lap.
It will be a battle for first stop between the pair, with Perez way back in third about 25 seconds behind.
Sainz is the next to pit, and just like his McLaren team-mate Norris, is put onto hard tyres.
But he isn’t happy there after a few 10ths extra in the pitstops brings him out behind Leclerc into eighth.
Ricciardo persists and manages to get past his team-mate Ocon once more.
The Australian knew he could attack their after coming out of the pits, and duly capitalised. Ricciardo is in 10th and Ocon in 11th.
After that slow pit stop, Verstappen clocks another quickest lap – that is blistering pace!
Perez also puts on the hard compound tyres and comes back out in fifth…
Hamilton too has also pitted. That is a much better stop as he moves onto shiny new hard compound tyres, before coming out just ahead of Perez.
This is interesting. Verstappen is pitting again (maybe a strategy to overtake Hamilton), but it’s a long long stop. That took 5.1 seconds…
He needed a fast pit stop then but it didn’t work out for him at all.
Bottas manages to squeeze past Ferrarri’s Leclerc. The Mercedes driver moves back into the points but it has been a nightmare day for him so far…
Sainz has the chance to get past his young McLaren team-mate Norris but the latter is certainly holding his own in fifth.
We are almost 2 hours and 20 minutes since the formation lap got underway. It has been full of drama.
Ricciardo clearly not happy with Renault’s strategy and wants more. The Australian asks his team: ‘Why are we chasing each other? I think we need to do something?’
And eventually Ricciardo has been let past his Renault team-mate Ocon and moves up to seventh.
The Bahrain Grand Prix has never been led from start to finish. Hamilton has made loads of history this season, and he could be about to make more today.
The seven-time world champion still leads ahead of Verstappen and Perez, and is looking very comfortable…
Ocon tried to make it hard for Sainz but the Spaniard manages to squeeze past the Renault driver to move into sixth.
Strong start by McLaren, with Norris in fifth and Sainz immediately behind him.
Gasly and Bottas both pit. It’s the second stoppage already for the Mercedes driver.
The Finnish driver comes back out in 14th place.
Albon very much has Perez in his sights here. Is a podium in the pipeline for the young Red Bull driver?
Albon is sitting in fourth at the moment… this should be a good battle going forward!
Norris moves into sixth race after overtaking Bottas on the inside. He is running a very solid race so far.
Verstappen with the quickest lap of the race so far. The Red Bull driver was a full second quicker than Hamilton on that one.
‘We have nothing to lose here so let’s just go full send.’ Verstappen tells his team radio. Great mentality from the Dutchman.
Verstappen now chooses to pit after his earlier complaints that his car felt like a kangaroo.
Also Perez decides to put too meaning Hamilton retakes the lead. Both Verstappen and the Racing Point driver move onto hards. Can they last for the rest of the race?
Race leader Hamilton pits, and medium tyres go on. He comes out behind Verstappen and Perez in third, with the two ahead of him yet to pit.
Albon pits behind him too, but it’s not the quickest…
Ocon passes Vettel after changing his tyres.
Hamilton has been on the radio saying he has vibration on his tyres, so is expected to put very soon.
Norris pushes hard after pitting and squeezes in front of Latifi into 10th.
Ricciardo’s Renault team-mate Ocon also pits.
Behind him, Kvyat comes in for his 10-second penalty.
Also, Raikkonen pits too.
Ricciardo pits early on after a tough start to his Bahrain Grand Prix. He opts to swap from medium to hard compound tyres.
The Australian drops down to last after his pit stop.
Hamilton still leading by 2.4 seconds over Verstappen.
Perez is further back but is just about holding on ahead of Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Albon.
Bottas starting to make his way back up the field now, moving into 14th after his early tyre puncture.
His team-mate, Hamilton, remains in the lead ahead of Verstappen and Perez.
Leclerc’s Ferrari looks like it is struggling on its tyres, they may be just about getting too hot. The Frenchman drops down to 10th.
Meanwhile, Kvyat will get ten seconds added on as a penalty after his collision with Stroll.
Verstappen, who is looking to get ahead Hamilton into first, certainly isn’t happy with his Red Bull.
Verstappen says on his team radio: ‘My car’s jumping around like a kangeroo I swear.’
Meanwhile, Sainz manages to squeeze past next season’s Ferrari team-mate Leclerc on Turn 1. Brilliant move and he gets into seventh.
Then Ricciardo nips past Leclerc and the Australian moves into eighth.
Stewards are looking at Kvyat for an incident with Stroll, which led to the safety car coming out. Being looked at right now…
Sainz moves up into eighth overtaking Ricciardo.
The Australian hasn’t enjoyed a good start here. He has been on the back foot everywhere!
We have a green light again. Now fingers crossed there are no more delays…
So Hamilton, Verstappen and Perez make up the top three.
Outside the top three, Norris has made up four places into fifth while Sainz has also made significant movements up the grid.
Good moments here for McLaren.
Haas driver Magnussen was also forced to pit under the safety car, opting to put on hard tyres.
Yet to have a complete racing lap…
Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer said: ‘Lance is fine, and said he is doing OK. He was just hanging upside down by his seatbelt but he is fine.’
Early pit stop for Bottas after a punctured tyre. He jumped back up to fourth for second restart but is now 16th after picking up debris.
The cars are slowly driving round behind the safety car, with the marshals trying to get Stroll’s car off the track.
And now we have another delay in the race with the safety car out.
Lance Stroll’s car flips upside down after a collision with Kvyat.
That is the second time this race where Kvyat has been in a collision. They both went for the same bit of the track, in a racing incident.
Stroll seems absolutely fine.
Hamilton gets off to a good start, Verstappen stays ahead of Perez, who got off to a brilliant start.
Bottas manages to get past Albon into fourth.
Engines are getting fired up now. Fingers crossed for a safer start this time round!
Sainz on the Grosjean crash: ‘It was a tough moment. As soon as I saw him jump out of the car, it was really really great news. I couldn’t be any more relieved.
‘It just shows whenever we jump in these things, we are putting our lives at risk.’
Here is how the top 10 looks when we get ready to restart:
Hamilton, Verstappen, Perez, Bottas, Albon, Ricciardo, Norris, Ocon, Gasly, Vettel
Just had confirmation that there is 12 minutes until restart now.
The 19 other drivers have a huge task on their hands to get mentally ready for this race again!
The metal barrier Romain Grosjean crashed into has been replaced by a section of concrete barriers.
The intention is still for this race to be restarted.
Still no restart time in place. The pit lane is extremely busy, with teams allowed to repair any damages if needs be.
We will keep you updated with all the latest.
Driver of the medical car – Alan van der Merwe – had this to say:
‘Big surprise for us, we have never seen that much fire in 12 years, and an impact like that. We took a bit of time to process what was going on, and then Romain got out of the car himself which was pretty amazing.
‘All the systems we’ve developed, the halo, the barriers, the seat belts – everything worked like it should.’
Haas team principal Steiner then goes over to embrace and thank Van der Mere. A huge sigh of relief all round.
According to the BBC, Grosjean hit the metal barrier so hard and at such an angle, that the car went through the barrier before subsequently splitting the car in half.
The front half, which Grosjean was in, was lodged in the barrier after smashing into it at around 140mph.
Romain Grosjean suffered one of the most dramatic accidents of modern Formula One history at the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix – but he miraculously survived.
The Frenchman’s Haas hit the wall at 53G and burst into a ball of flames, splitting his chassis in half and, astonishingly, sending him through the barriers. TV cameras cut away and the race was stopped.
Fears for his safety were palpable in the Sakhir circuit, sparsely populated because of Covid but suddenly heaving a collective sigh of apprehension.
READ THE FULL STORY BELOW…
Reports are coming out from Haas that Romain is on his way to hospital. He has suspected broken ribs.
Will keep you updated with further developments.
This will be extremely difficult for all the drivers after seeing that horrific crash…
There will be a minimum delay of 45 minutes!
Haas team principal Gunther Steiner had this to say: ‘He is doing OK. He had light burns on his hands and his ankles. He is shaking but he is conscious, and fine. I didn’t have any direct contact with him.
‘I just want to thank the medical team. The marshalls and the FIA people did a great job. It was scary.’
That really is awful, but a huge huge huge relief in Bahrain.
Grosjean’s car squeezes just in front of Kvyat’s… before the Haas man drives straight into the barriers.
And the impact caused the car to burst into the flames before splitting in half. Never quite seen anything like that.
And on the other side is a burnout tyre from Grosjean’s Haas.
Reports claiming Gorsjean has burns to his legs…
This race may take some time to get underway again!
It looked like there was contact between Grosjean and AlphaTauri’s Kvyat.
Flames went up following the crash, but fortunately Grosjean is OK.
The Haas driver is already out of his car, which caught fire, and now in the medical car talking away. Looked very worrying for a moment.
A nasty nasty crash early on, which leads to an early red flag immediately.
Grosjean looks like the man who is out of the race.
Hamilton gets away well, Verstappen gets underway well! He moves up to second.
Bottas has lost four places already.
Majority of the grid have opted for medium compound tyres to start off with.
And Hamilton leads out the formation lap. Almost there now!
Chance of rain, by the way, is just 20 per cent…
The drivers are now all in the cars ready for the formation lap.
Hamilton is looking as determined as ever. Will it be another routine win, and can the seven-time world champion extend his massive 110-point lead?
Bottas, Verstappen and Co have plenty of work to do… but there are opportunities on this track to overtake!
Not long to go now until we get underway in Bahrain.
After the ‘End Racism’ stand, it’s now time for the national anthem of Bahrain.
And what a setting we have in Bahrain…
Just under 25 minutes to go until the Bahrain Grand Prix gets underway.
Here is the top 10 from Saturday’s qualifying, with Hamilton once again leading from the front.
1 Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1:27.264
2 Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 1:27.553
3 Verstappen (Hol) Red Bull 1:27.678
4 Albon (Tha) Red Bull 1:28.274
5 Perez (Mex) Racing Point 1:28.322
6 Ricciardo (Aus) Renault 1:28.417
7 Ocon (Fra) Renault 1:28.419
8 Gasly (Fra) AlphaTauri 1:28.448
9 Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1:28.542
10 Kvyat (Rus) AlphaTauri 1:28.618
JONATHAN McEVOY: Lewis Hamilton put himself in line for a century of poles before the season’s over by setting the fastest time in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Fresh from winning his seventh title in Turkey a fortnight ago, the world champion registered pole No 10 in 2020 and 98th of his career.
With another round in Bahrain coming next week and then the closing race in Abu Dhabi the following weekend, the British superstar can make it to 100 poles to cap his year of nearly unbroken record-breaking.
FULL STORY BELOW…
Hello everyone, and welcome to Sportsmail’s live coverage of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton starts on pole yet again after another impressive display during qualifying. Can Bottas, Verstappen or Co stop him or will he continue his absolute dominance and end the season on a high?
You can find out right here…
Share this article
Source: Read Full Article