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Tuscan Grand Prix: Five key talking points

Tuscan Grand Prix: Five key talking points

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Tuscan Grand Prix: Five key talking points

Tuscan Grand Prix: Five key talking points

Lewis Hamilton used every bit of his experience to overcome a stop-start afternoon at the Tuscan Grand Prix.

The Mugello race was dogged by incidents and red flags as Hamilton claimed the 90th victory of his Formula 1 career, putting him just one shy of Michael Schumacher's all-time record.

Despite leading into turn one, Valtteri Bottas lost further ground to his Mercedes team-mate in the championship standings while Max Verstappen, who was already only an outside bet for the title, saw his hopes fade with a second successive retirement.

But there was jubilation for the second Red Bull of Alex Albon as the Thai-British driver secured his first podium.

So what did we learn from a crash-laden first outing at Mugello?

Game, set and match for Hamilton?

Nine races down, eight to go. We have reached the desperation stage for Bottas, or so it seems.

The Finn produced a strong performance across the weekend, topping all three practice sessions.

But as from Q2, Hamilton again assumed control of the weekend and left Mugello with pole, fastest lap and victory.

Starting the stronger of the two, Bottas assumed the lead into the first corner but on the first of two restarts after red-flag periods, Hamilton was able to return serve and reclaim the position.

Seemingly struggling for pace on the medium compound tyres, Bottas requested a different strategy to Hamilton to allow him to fight. Pitting first, it initially appeared the Finn had got his wish, but when Hamilton pitted a lap later, the status quo resumed.

Bottas now trails Hamilton by 55 points in the standings and, following his lap one retirement, Verstappen has fallen 80 points off the championship lead.

The chances of Hamilton letting such a considerable advantage slip continues to fade with each passing race as the Briton has one hand on his seventh championship crown.

Albon finally tames the Bull

It has been clear to see for all this year how difficult the Red Bull RB16 has been to drive if your name is not Max Verstappen.

But at Mugello, something finally clicked for Alex Albon and how he needed this result after Pierre Gasly's triumph in Monza.

An improved qualifying performance bagged fourth on the grid and even though he had a slow start, his recovery only needed four overtakes and not ten. And boy did he overtake.

Team principal Christian Horner coined Albon the nickname 'Mr around-the-outside' after a handful of moves at the carousel-like turn one, notably in claiming his third place from Daniel Ricciardo. A further particular highlight of his race was a manoeuvre on Sergio Perez around the outside of Poggio Secco.

Albon was a man on a mission and there was nobody he would allow to prevent him from experiencing a first F1 champagne shower.

Going forward, however, it is important this momentum is carried into future races.

No respect between drivers?

There are murmurings of a lack of etiquette starting to envelop Formula 1.

Ricciardo, among others, spoke of the drivers breaking 'gentlemen's agreements' during qualifying in Monza by passing cars waiting to build a gap to the car ahead.

On this occasion, the questions of etiquette surrounded the safety car restart orchestrated by Bottas.

The usual process followed is that the safety car lights will be switched off to indicate an imminent restart, that the leader will assume control of the race and, at some point before the control line, will restart the race.

At the front of the race, the process was followed and the fact the FIA stewards handed warnings to 12 drivers, all of whom were towards the middle or back of the order, highlights the confusion or lack of discipline in this area.

Only Bottas, Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc, Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen, escaped without a warning of the 18 drivers running at the time.

However, questions remain as to the exact cause of the incident.

Was it Bottas driving too slow at the head of the field? Was it Kvyat trying to gain some momentum before the start/finish line? It doesn't really matter.

Although the incident has been dealt with from a disciplinary standpoint, it is likely we haven't heard the last of this topic.

Racing Point upgrades up in smoke

Racing Point arrived at Mugello with a major development to its RP20, well, on Lance Stroll's car at least. It included a new sidepod shape, a new floor and engine cover to go with it, and some updated brake ducts as well.

Imagine the horror on the pit wall as they saw Stroll hurting into a barrier on the outside of the high-speed Arrabbiata corner. The car was wrecked after a suspected rear-end failure caused by carbon debris on track.

Worse still, as the marshals recovered the vehicle, fire could be seen pluming out from underneath the bodywork. By the end of it all, the bodywork was off and the car ruined.

A new chassis will surely be introduced for the Russian Grand Prix, but will the team have enough parts to update both cars or will Stroll, by virtue of his higher championship position, again be the only car to run the upgraded parts?

Ferrari 1000 not out

As has been the case with Ferrari across the 2020 season as a whole, the SF1000 lacked pace, struggled on its tyres and was a pale imitation of some of its predecessors.

But on the occasion of its 1,000th grand prix weekend, Ferrari successfully navigated the carnage to secure points finishes with both cars for just the third time in 2020.

Ignore the fact that only 12 cars crossed the line, the team was only able to defeat a Haas and a Williams.

Ninth [with Leclerc promoted to eighth courtesy of a time penalty for Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen] and 10th was not what the Scuderia had in mind when planning its anniversary celebrations. Yet with the way things have gone this season, the complaints will be minimal.

Given the various ups and downs of the Scuderia across its history in the sport, it seems safe to say the Ferrari will again rise to the top one day, and the Italian national anthem will again become a familiar sound to fans.

Before you go...

Racing Point suspect carbon debris caused Stroll shunt

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