Tim covers obscure sports leagues no one asked him to: Formula 1

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his car during the Formula One Grand Prix of Tuscany, at the Mugello circuit in Scarperia, Italy, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020. Photo by Bryn Lennon/Pool via AP.

It was quite the exciting race weekend in Tuscany as Formula 1 took to the Mugello Circuit for the Tuscan GP. This race is definitely the most interesting of the season so far, with crash after crash and nearly half the field not even finishing the race. Lewis Hamilton, to the surprise of absolutely no one, took first place. Sometimes you have to wonder if Mercedes’ manager Toto Wolff punishes Hamilton if the British driver finishes anywhere but first place. Hamilton made a powerful statement with his podium finish, wearing a t-shirt over his racing suit saying, “ARREST THE COPS WHO KILLED BREONNA TAYLOR.” Wearing political messages on the podium is expressly banned by Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, Formula 1’s governing body, and if he is punished he will be fined. FIA has launched an official investigation against Hamilton for wearing the shirt. 

This GP was a big deal for some drivers personally. With Alexander Albon’s third-place finish at Tuscany, he earned his first personal podium and became the first Thai driver in Formula 1 history to earn a podium finish. Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh of the Thai royal family drove in Formula 1 during the 1950 through 1955 seasons, but never managed to finish higher than fourth place during an F1 Championship race. After the race and this morning, Albon’s social media has been filled with F1 drivers and fans congratulating him on his big finish. Even rival Charles LeClerc of Scuderia Ferrari said over his driver radio Very good. Happy for Alex though, first podium”, along with sending out a tweet the morning after both congratulating and lightly joking with Albon. 

The big talk of the Tuscan GP wasn’t either of these finishes though. The race was plagued with accidents and disasters for almost half the drivers that took to the track that day. 

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain waves after winning the Formula One Grand Prix of Tuscany, at the Mugello circuit in Scarperia, Italy, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020. Photo by Jennifer Lorenzini/Pool via AP/

The destruction on the Tuscany race weekend started on the first lap going out of the first corner. Coming out of Turn 1 into Turn 2, there were two separate accidents that took place, throwing several cars into the nearby gravel pit. The first impact hit Carlos Sainz’s McLaren when Lance Stroll of Racing Point took a wide turn while he was extremely close to Sainz. This caused Stroll to clip his rear tire behind Sainz’s front tire, and the Racing Point dragged the McLaren behind it. Unable to control the car, Sainz spun in place until the cars around him cleared out. Sebastian Vettle, just behind Sainz, had part of his front wing sheared off by the McLaren. The second crash of Turn 2 was much more dramatic, knocking two drivers out of the race. Coming out of Turn 1, Pierre Gasly of Scuderia AlphaTauri accelerated while Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen slowed down. This caused Gasly to become trapped between Raikkonen on his left and the Hass driven by Romain Grosjean on his right. Still accelerating, Gasly clipped into the chassis of the Alfa Romeo and bumped over its tire. Unable to control the car, the AlphaTauri slammed into the side of Grosjean and then the rear of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull. Raikkonen also hit the back of Verstappen just a second after. Both Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly were stranded in the gravel pits and had to DNF from the race. This was Verstappen’s second straight DNF this season. 

Just seconds after the safety car left the track and the light went green, signaling the restart of the race, there was a chaotic four car crash. The safety car was immediately called back so the field could be cleared. The race was immediately red flagged so the drivers could climb out of the wreckage and walk back to their team paddocks to wait out the rest of the race. Haas driver Romain Grosjean, narrowly escaping the carnage, was heard screaming over team radio, “That was f****** stupid from whoever was at the front. Do they want to kill us or what? This was the worst thing I’ve seen, ever.” All four drivers caught up in the accident walked away uninjured, but this does raise some questions about the safety of restarts going forward for the motorsport. Drivers like Carlos Sainz are urging FIA to take what happened and learn from it to avoid this disaster repeating itself. 

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