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Hamilton claims Bahrain victory after Grosjean cheats death

Hamilton claims Bahrain victory after Grosjean cheats death

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Hamilton claims Bahrain victory after Grosjean cheats death

Hamilton claims Bahrain victory after Grosjean cheats death

Lewis Hamilton won a Bahrain Grand Prix that was overshadowed by a horrific fireball crash involving Romain Grosjean from which he was lucky to emerge with his life.

On the opening lap at the Bahrain International Circuit, Grosjean's car was engulfed in flames and split in two after the Haas made contact with the inside barrier on the exit of turn three.

In the build-up to the incident, Grosjean speared right, and in doing so caught the front-left wheel of Daniil Kvyat's AlphaTauri that helped propel him into the barrier at speed.

Mercifully, Grosjean managed to escape from the cockpit as the fire raged around him, aided by medical car driver Alan van der Merwe and Dr Ian Roberts, as well as the marshalls positioned at the service road next to the incident scene.

Grosjean was taken to a local hospital in Bahrain after sustaining minor burns to his hands and ankles, while it is understood he also fractured a rib/s.

After a delay of an hour and 25 minutes following barrier repairs, the opening lap of the night-time restart resulted in another incident in which Lance Stroll's Racing Point was flipped over onto its roll cage.

Kvyat was again involved as he attempted to cut underneath the Canadian, and while no blame can be apportioned for what occurred with Grosjean, on this occasion his attempt to overtake was adventurous.

As with Grosjean, the halo played its part as Stroll was left hanging upside down before being attended to again by a busy Dr Roberts.

It led to the introduction of the safety car that stayed out for six laps before racing was finally able to get underway an hour and 40 minutes after the five red lights had first disappeared.

On both starts, Hamilton was clean away from pole position while the chaos unfolded behind him, with the Briton ultimately going on to claim the 95th win of his F1 career, 11th this season and fifth in a row.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen was able to keep Hamilton in his sights but failed to apply any degree of worthwhile pressure in a race that required a rare two-stop strategy, and ended behind the safety car after Sergio Perez's Racing Point blew three laps from the finish while holding a comfortable third place.

Hamilton crossed the line just 1.254 seconds clear of Verstappen, with the Dutchman's team-mate Alex Albon the main beneficiary of Perez's bad luck as he was able to step on to the podium for the second time in his career.

It was the first time Red Bull finished a race with two drivers on the podium since the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix.

In claiming the point for fastest lap, Verstappen has closed to within 13 of Valtteri Bottas for second in the drivers' standings after the Finn could only manage eighth.

That was primarily due to Bottas collecting a puncture on the opening lap after the restart that pitched him to 18th - and last but one at the time - following which it was a case of damage limitation.

With McLaren duo Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz finishing fourth and fifth, it means the fight for third place in the constructors' championship is now almost a two-horse affair going into the last two races.

With Perez's late failure, McLaren now leads Racing Point by 17 points, while Renault is 27 points adrift after Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon claimed seventh and 10th.

As for Ferrari, they are effectively out of the running, with the Scuderia 30 points off the pace as Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel could only manage 10th and 13th.

Pierre Gasly was the other points score in the top 10 with sixth.

In the end, the result at a point in a season when both drivers' and constructors' titles had already been won, was virtually irrelevant given the incident involving Grosjean.

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