News Americas, MANAMA, Bahrain, Mon. Nov. 30, 2020: Newly-minted seven-time World champion, Caribbean roots Lewis Hamilton, won again on Sunday, this time at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
It was his 11th win of the season and came after French driver Romain Grosjean escaped from a fiery crash on the first lap.
Hamilton won the 95th F1 race of his career from pole position for Mercedes, ahead of Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Alex Albon in a race that finished under a safety car at the Sakhir circuit.
The race had only rounded three corners, when Grosjean’s Haas speared off into the barriers after contact with the AlphaTauri of Daniil Kvyat. The VF-20 of Grosjean split in two with the force of the impact and causd flames to burst from the car. Fortunately, the Frenchman was able to scramble over the barriers to safety and he suffered a few broken ribs and minor burns to his hands and feet before he was then airlifted to hospital.
“I’m so grateful Romain is safe,” Hamilton said on his Twitter account after the race. “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. Thankful to the FIA for the massive strides we’ve taken for Romain to walk away from that safely.”
After an hour and 25-minute stoppage, the race re-started, and the drivers’ positions taken from where they were at the second safety car line on Lap 1 before the race was red flagged.
The restart on the third lap lasted until just Turn 8, when Kvyat came together, with Lance Stroll’s Racing Point, forcing the Canadian into a roll from which he too, fortunately was able to scramble out of the car unhurt as the safety car was brought out for a second time with Kvyat handed a 10-second penalty.
Hamilton, crucially, had once again maintained his lead from Verstappen, Perez, Albon and Lando Norris in fifth, and when green-flag racing resumed on Lap 9, , it was a relatively simple evening’s work for Hamilton.
“(Grosjean’s crash) was such a shocking image to see…it was horrifying,” Hamilton told reporters after the race. “His car, the cockpit, I don’t know what Gs he pulled, but I’m just so grateful that the halo worked. (The race) really was physically very demanding. I think with the break that we had at the beginning, you get into a mindset, you go out and you’ve got a good start and then that 45 [minute] to an hour wait that we had, it’s so easy to step out of the zone.”
Hamilton added: “That was quite tricky, but then getting back in, (Red Bull) had a lot of speed (in this race), so I was flat out the whole way just trying to keep them at bay. But I’m massively grateful and thankful to my team because at the end of the day they did a great job with the strategy and what a privilege it is to be able to get another result like this.”
The British race car driver, whose family hails from the Spice Isle of Grenada, was crowned world champion in the previous race at the Turkish Grand Prix.
His victory never looked seriously under threat from Verstappen, despite the Dutchman shadowing him for much of the race.