Start, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

Hamilton wins after Grosjean survives horrific, race-stopping crash

2020 Bahrain Grand Prix summary

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Lewis Hamilton scored his 11th victory of the year in a Bahrain Grand Prix which was disrupted by a shocking first lap crash involving Romain Grosjean.

The Haas driver was pitched into a barrier at turn three on the first lap of the race, after making contact with Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTauri. Grosjean went nose-first into the barrier at almost unabated speed, striking it with a force of 53G.

The impact ripped the Haas in two. It erupted in flames, yet despite the huge hit Grosjean remained conscious and was able to climb out of his burning car in less than half a minute, while safety crews arrived on the scene and began dousing the flames.

The race was immediately red-flagged after the crash and did not resume for almost an hour and a half while concrete barriers were used to replace the Armco destroyed by Grosjean’s car.

Once the race resumed, Kvyat found himself involved in another dramatic incident. This time he launched Lance Stroll onto his roll hoop at turn eight. The Racing Point driver was unhurt, but the Safety Car was summoned while he was extricated. The stewards deemed Kvyat responsible for this collision, handing him a 10-second time penalty.

Hamilton’s win never looked in doubt. Valtteri Bottas lost several places at the initial start, then pitted immediately after the restart due to damage.

Max Verstappen pursued the Mercedes more closely than in recent races but second place always looked like the limit of what his Red Bull could do. He had enough of a gap to make an extra pit stop, which he took, to make an attempt on the bonus point for fastest lap.

Sergio Perez ran third all race, steadily increasing his lead over Verstappen’s team mate Alexander Albon. But with four laps to go smoke appeared from the back of his car, followed by flames, and he came to a stop at the exit of turn 10. That handed the final podium position to Albon.

Lando Norris – who was shocked to see a marshal running across the track to the scene of Perez’s retirement – moved up to fourth place ahead of team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr, securing a points windfall for McLaren on a bad day for Racing Point.

Bottas recovered as far as eighth place by the time the Safety Car came out, following Pierre Gasly in sixth and Daniel Ricciardo in seventh. Esteban Ocon and Charles Leclerc collected the final points.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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64 comments on “Hamilton wins after Grosjean survives horrific, race-stopping crash”

  1. Hopefully RB realises Perez is much better than Albon despite today’s result

    1. apparently, PER has said that tomorrow he’ll announce his 2021 plans, so I doubt today’s result has had much influence on it…

      and, unfortunately, the rumor is that he’ll take a sabbatical next year…

    2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      29th November 2020, 19:17

      Unfortunately the Sky post race interview with Horner all but confirmed Albon. Sweeping the fact that Albon was consistently 5 seconds behind a slower Racing Point, he lauded Albon’s podium. It’s done and dusted guys. Albon will keep his seat. Perez will probably go to Indycar in 2022.

      1. Really sucks, perez definitely deserves a top seat, a real problem of current f1 is there are too few top seats, we’ve been a few years with 3 teams we could call top and now with ferrari’s decline not even that any more, and even if you get the red bull seat you still can’t exactly compete with mercedes, it’s terrible chances for all drivers but 2.

        Hulkenberg is another driver who deserved a top team at some point but I think perez even more so.

        I can only hope albon is soooooooooooooo terrible next year that red bull will have no choice but drop him mid season, least deserving driver in a top seat lately, across the season even bottas impressed more than him.

    3. Despite today’s result? Today’s result further proves perez is better, just cause he had a problem with 3 laps to go doesn’t mean he didn’t outperform a driver in a stronger car.

    4. Did Perez really think he could keep that car going another 3 laps? I feel bad for him as it would have been great for him to be on podium two races in a row.
      But when the engine went, he showed no regard for others in keeping that car going so far. No idea if he dumped a load of oil down on the racing line or not, but luckily there was no time to find out.

  2. Running across a highway with cars travelling is already scary… What else when the cars are F1…. That marshall must have been so determined to put off the fire..

  3. Grosjean is so fortunate not to have been trapped in that barrior. His cockpit could so easily have been wedge in the barrior.

    1. His cockpit was wedged in the barrier he was luckly the top was past the barrier otherwise this was very bad.

  4. The FIA and Masi have once again been very lucky today…

    1. FIA and Masi? What? As though this was the result of some sort of negligence that would have gotten them in hot water

      1. Marshal on track. Again.

    2. Yup if anything that halo might have saved him but it made him stuck longer in the fire

      1. Yeah, let’s just balance that out… A few seconds longer in the fire or using my head to smash through a steel barrier…

        I know which one I would take!

  5. A tense race tbh. Glad that Grosjean is ok. Hamilton the king as usual. Bottas the clown. Stellar race by Max and good for Albon with the podium. Though gutted for Perez. Wonder what updates Ferrari were so happy about during the last few weeks, crappy performance yet again.

    1. I thought the race dull. Not sure what was “stellar” about it. Verstappen finished where he ought to have after Bottas had a puncture.
      It was totally overshadowed by Romain’s crash.

    2. How in hell is being 30 sec behind your teammate considered a good race, he had a horrible race in the second fastest car, if anything red bull were extremely close to merc on pace today.

      1. I didn’t think or say Bottas had a good race. Once again this season, he was blighted by bad luck with the puncture. The commentators counted 6 incidents for him, this year, on Sky F1, all out of his control, that have ruined his season. He didn’t mount any kind of decent recovery however.

    3. Podium could well be a parting memory of all that could have been
      – there again maybe a podium is the boost Albon needs to find hs game.

  6. One of those days where I didn’t really care about the result after the start we had. So glad Grosjean is okay, some incredible safety measures and a lot of luck prevented worse. My initials thoughts were not good at all, he’ll be counting his lucky stars tonight.

    Lewis had it all control today, though yet another poor result for Bottas (think he’s looking forward to a reset next year). Verstappen got the maximum out of it as well. The fight for 3rd just got a lot more interesting as well, which will go down to the wire, advantage McLaren.

    1. Surely even Toto realises that Valterri’s performances are embarrassing? It’s all very well having a safe #2 that won’t cause Lewis any problems, but you don’t want to see your expensively engineered car pootling around outside the points for the majority of a Grand Prix.

    2. Sometimes it gets me wondering, with the amount of punctures Bottas seems to have in life, if he is just that unlucky, or just not that stellar in maintaining his tyres.

  7. Delighted that Romain is basically OK.
    Gutted for Perez.

    1. It’s crazy that Perez will most likely spend a year away from F1 while Latifi, Stroll, Giovinazzi, Mazepin, and probably some subpar rookie at AT, will be on the grid. It’s pitiful and somewhat infuriating.

      1. The irony being Perez’s route into F1 was significantly aided by a large amount of money being attached to him.
        As always many or even most of the best drivers never make it to F1.
        Quick example. F3 championship 2014; won by Estaban Ocon, 3rd place was Max Verstappen. The guy who came second you most likely will never have heard of… He wasn’t the “chosen one”

        1. Indeed. In 2004, Lewis ended 5th in Formula 3 championship. No one knows where nr1 to 4 ended.

          1. Indeed. Lewis had the backing of Mclaren at that time.
            Being extremely talented isn’t always enough to get into F1.
            Being the most talented is a desirable rather than essential criteria.

          2. You mean the Euro 3 series? Well the guy in fourth ended up in F1 and beat Hamilton to a F1 championship. And the others were not rookies in that class.

          3. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            30th November 2020, 19:56

            @trib4udi Which team you are with is crucial in lower formulas as much as it is in F1. Lewis raced with Manor in 2004 and wanted to move to GP2 in 05 as they felt like they were wasting their time. McLaren made a compromise by getting him a better seat in ASM to keep him in F3 one more year (as was their plan). The combination of some experience and a decent race team was 15 out of 20 wins. Talent only shines in a decent race team. If you are one of the backmarkers you might get a cursory nod for a decent performance but the oxygen is sucked up by the guys at the front. People like Alonso, Lewis, Kimi, etc. got taken seriously by F1 principally from testing performances. If for example Lewis’s 2006 McLaren test hadn’t raised eyebrows he wouldn’t have got the 2007 seat, Pedro DeLaRosa would have. Some off those forgotten drivers may just have had a poor day testing. There are many factors.

      2. Very harsh on Tsunoda, he looks very promising.

        1. Tsunoda is very promising, however I really really hope he’ll get another year to settle into himself and his racing before moving him up – I’m just afraid it’s going to be an Albon all over again :(

          1. I have watched Yuki in this years F2, he seems exciting and I hope he gets to F1 next year too.

          2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            30th November 2020, 20:00

            @mianmian Not the same at all. Yuki is extremely fast, just lacks a bit of racecraft. Albon has the racecraft but just isn’t fast. Racecraft can be learned. Speed is instinctive.

  8. Very humbling day and glad Romain is ok. God bless the halo which I hated at first but now feel thankful for. This sport seems to bite us when we least expect it and there isn’t one fan, driver/team member that is ready for something like that.
    That track Marshall at the very end could have been decapitated on live tv as well, F1 needs to make sure that doesn’t happen again, what is that? Twice in one year with Marshalls almost getting hit?

    1. Coventry Climax
      29th November 2020, 23:21

      “Almost getting hit” like in in “if I hadn’t so stopped so well in time for the red traffic light, I could have gotten killed”?
      Shouldn’t have happened, true, but let’s not exaggerate.

      1. youtube track marshall hit in F1 and you will find one of the most god awful scenes in F1 history, it’s not an exaggeration bro.
        1977 South African Grand Prix. An F1 car hits you it’s not like the movies where it flings you up 50 feet in the air and you get back up.

  9. Sigh. The only thing I wish for is that there weren’t those overly motivated idi…innovators at FIA who brought us the new front wings for 2019, the new thinner rubber etc. Without these “improvements for following and overtaking,” I believe we’d have the same amazing seasons as the 2018 was. Instead, the F1 has changed into a participation event where the prizes are handed out long before the start.

  10. Other than the two crashes early, it was extremely boring… Stopped watching after the second pit stops
    Sad to hear about Perez’s DNF though. He really deserved the podium today

    1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      29th November 2020, 19:19

      @fish123 so you missed a great battle for 4 5 and 6 between McLaren and Renault.

  11. Happy to see, that Grosjean walked away from this, these cars are very good at safety, and despite of there are debatable decisions around F1, the safety aspect is much better. I have seen some hundreds of GP’s during the recent 3 decades, but it was one of the worst looking ones. The explosion, and the monocoque going through the barrier was very shocking. I hope that we will hear some positive news about Mr. Grosjean soon, and I wish him nice post-F1 years.

    The race was not bad, 7- is ok as an average rating, probably the compounds were a bit too soft compared to this abrasive track surface. As the weather was likely colder than it’s used to be at Bahrain GP’s, and as the track is abrasive, even the hardest three compounds could have been granted more than a plain obvious 1 stop strategy for most entrants. I found the 3 stops for almost everyone a bit too much, a slight overshoot. I would like to have 2 stops as an average, to allow the best tyre mages to have occasional 1 stop strategies or some occasional 3 stop strategies as well.

  12. Luckily a series of unfortunate events ended up well. It was a massive crash that we haven’t seen for a while. Still we have had one fatal accident and one similar to todays in F2 (Russia).
    Makes me wonder is it again time to make F1/F2 slower again.
    They are braking lap records race after race and we have seen a few quite a shocking crashes again in a short period of time.
    Whatever they will do to improve safety one thing is certain. Speed is the main thing that causes crashes. Of course F1 cars can’t be too slow but I think it is one thing FIA needs to think again.

  13. I actually wonder whether Grosjean may sit out the remainder of the season, if he does has broken ribs then I don’t see him racing again. There are rumours that he is off to indycar but I wonder if he might think of hanging up his helmet after surviving that.

    1. With races the following two weeks, I doubt Grosjean could be driving.
      They said he has burnings in hands and ankles, and probably broken ribs.

      Hanging helmet is a big decission, even more if we think he is looking for a seat in Indy.
      But on the other hand he is 34, and has a wife and 3 little children.

      Will see.

    2. @broke84 From what I know, he got some burns.

    3. Sadly he won’t be back almost for certain. I would not be surprised if he has a lung injury from the hot gases and fire. He will be missed in F1, I enjoyed his days at Lotus with Kimi a lot.
      Thank you Romain.

    4. I would not be surprised at all if that was his last race, just given the injuries he has. I think next weekend is 100% out of the question. I know racing drivers are wired differently to everyone else, but he must be questioning whether he wants to race again given his young family.

      1. My advise to Grosjean would be to quit now. He’s sloppy and gets into a lot of crashes. Today was a slice of luck that he will never get again. Enjoy retirement with the wife and kids.

        1. Today’s crash was probably the result of something getting stuck under his front wing and making his steering null.

          I like how you feel you can dish out advice on someone’s professional life without full knowledge.

  14. A pointless SC as the car was well out of the firing line. Not that VSC would’ve made a difference to the ending.
    Overall, a messy race, but most importantly, good that Grosjean is fine.
    Cruel luck to Perez, though.

    1. When a marshall is stupid enough to run across the track in front of F1 cars, I’m not going to have a go at Masi for putting a full safety car out. Given the race they had, I would like them to be overly cautious to be honest

  15. Dayum what a strange race. Exploding Frenchman, tumbling Canadian, and booring British winner. I guess considering the company booring is just fine.

  16. The midfield fight was great. Surprised by the McLaren pace. So unlucky for Perez after a great drive. Nothing was more on point than him outdoing Albon in the Red Bull, but frustrating to know it’s probably all for nothing.

    And as usual Red Bull getting some speed in the last races of the season.

  17. About a hundred years ago there was this car game on PC called DeathTrack where you had a car race, but you could also eliminate your opponents with all kinds of weapons or just ram them into dust.
    Today Kvyat gets the DeathTrack award for taking out two rivals.

    1. Kvyat was totally blameless in the Grosjean incident and your “joke” is in very bad taste.

      1. Coventry Climax
        29th November 2020, 23:33

        I’m also not too sure about his guilt in the Stroll incident. Stroll could have, and should have, known that Kvyat was there, yet he chose to leave zero space. OK, Kvyat was a bit ‘optimistic’ maybe, but still. I feel Kvyat was more or less punished for not being able to dissolve. Bit of an overreaction by Masi’s racing police, after the Romain incident?

        1. Yeah I’m with you on this one, I don’t get why it was necessarily Kvyat’s fault on the second one, it looked more like Stroll turning into him to me.

          I genuinely don’t understand what the rules are on giving space to other drivers, sometimes they are supposed to give space other times supposed to not stick their nose in (like today). Is there a rule for when a car counts as officially beside another and deserving of space? Kvyat’s front wheel was
          in front of Stroll’s back, surely he should be given the space right?

  18. Maybe it was explained in some commentary but I was watching the Dutch (Ziggo) one and missed it so here goes the question: why did Bottas restarted the race in 4th (grid) and he had fell to 6th or even lower at the first race start?

    1. @bakano According to commentators, the starting order after a red flag is usually determined by the standing in the previous lap. Since there was none, they decided to use the standing at the second pit lane.

    2. @bakano they mentioned the grid positions were taken from where the field passed safety car line 2. I’m not exactly sure where that is, probably just before the first corner.

      1. Thanks @adrianmorse. I couldn’t understand the criteria

  19. It was a tense few minutes, I thought I had seen a second driver die on live tv. I happened to be watching Justin Wilson’s crash at Pocono. Feel horrible for Perez, he deserves a seat in F1.

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