Race - Tuscan GP 2020 - Team quotes
Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean finished 12th while Kevin Magnussen was forced into retirement at the Tuscan Grand Prix, held on Sunday at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello.
Grosjean started 15th on the Pirelli P Zero Yellow medium tires but was caught up in an accident with Kimi Raikkonen, Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly on the opening lap – causing the deployment of the safety car. Grosjean successfully managed to extricate himself from the gravel trap and pitted for repairs, taking on medium tires once more, and held 16th place at the restart. A multi-car pile-up along the start-finish straight eliminated several competitors and forced the suspension of the race on lap 9, with race direction opting to carry out a standing restart on the grid.
Grosjean took the restart from 13th place on Red soft tires before boxing on lap 30 for the White hard compound. A hefty accident for Lance Stroll caused a second suspension to the race on lap 44 and Grosjean resumed 12th on soft rubber. A strong getaway propelled Grosjean up to ninth but he was unable to keep faster cars at bay and met the checkered flag 12th after 59 laps.
Magnussen started 20th on a set of softs and picked his way through the first-lap chaos to elevate himself into 12th position. As the field began to prepare for the restart the concertina effect caused several drivers to check-up along the pit straight. Magnussen was an unfortunate victim of the situation and his VF-20 sustained terminal damage in an accident that also claimed Carlos Sainz, Antonio Giovinazzi and Nicholas Latifi. Magnussen was able to walk away uninjured from the scene.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton kept cool amid the chaos to record the 90th victory of his Formula One career, in front of fellow Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, with Red Bull Racing’s Alexander Albon third.
Haas F1 Team maintains ninth in the Constructors’ Championship with one point.
Haas F1 Team will be back in action for the Russian Grand Prix, at Sochi Autodrom, from September 25 to 27.
“It’s one of the strengths of Haas – we never give up. I had a big hit at turn two on the first lap. The car was switched off, I was ready to retire, then I saw I had two wheels on the grass so I restarted the engine to see if I could get out of the gravel. I was able to get going and the suspension was ok, so we thought – let’s keep going. At the first red flag I saw the state of the car, I didn’t know how we were going to keep racing, half of the left-hand side was missing. The guys said to hang in and we did our best. The last restart was fun, I managed to get up the order a bit. But when you’re missing about two seconds a lap, which we had calculated in aero damage, there’s not much you can do. That said, I’m very happy that we didn’t give up. Nobody can take that from us.”
“What seemed to happen at the restart was that the leader was going slow all the way to the line, which he’s entitled to do, but then somewhere in the middle – between me and the front, somebody decided to go. I guess somebody maybe tried to open a gap to get some momentum, but they went too early and tried to stop again. The guy in front of me started to go, we were flat out for a few seconds, then suddenly they all braked. I braked, I saw people coming past, then I was hit by Giovinazzi – who had nowhere to go. This is certainly something to take a look at – in terms of whether or not this thing about overtaking until the line is a good idea or not. Maybe it’s a good idea to have it somewhere earlier on the straight. We can’t have this happen again. I’d got up to P12 from P20 on the first lap, it had been looking good. This is definitely another missed opportunity.”
“It was an exciting race again. I think we create a lot of the excitement, but in the wrong way. We’re always part of why it gets exciting – which after a while gets old. We ended up in positions where we shouldn’t be ending up. When you’re on your back foot it normally takes a long time to get out. It was a challenging weekend. After three race weekends in a row, everybody’s happy to be going home. My thanks go to all our guys. We’ve had a lot of controversy over these three weekends, but they’ve worked hard and kept their heads high. I want to thank them for that. Now we’ll see everyone again in Sochi next.”
Renault DP World F1 Team’s Daniel Ricciardo finished just shy of the podium after a thrilling, incident-filled Pirelli Tuscan Grand Prix, which featured multiple safety cars and two red flag stoppages. Esteban Ocon retired from the race with a brake issue.
Daniel took the chequered flag just 2.3seconds away from third place after a pulsating 59-lap race in Italy, which ran just short of two and a half hours with a flurry of incidents meaning the race had to restart twice.
Both drivers had made strong and, importantly, clean starts with Daniel holding sixth and Esteban tenth at the end of the first lap. An initial Safety Car period led to a frantic restart with both drivers again staying free from trouble after a multi-car collision, which subsequently led to the first red flag.
Esteban’s car was identified to have a brake issue and was retired prior to the grid format restart with Daniel continuing his way up the order. A smart and well-executed 2.7second pit-stop for Mediums on lap 27 hoisted Daniel into third place as the race headed for an intriguing finale with a handful of cars sniffing for the final podium spot.
But a second Safety Car, which was upgraded to a red flag, meant the field was once again bunched together for the grid restart. Daniel, on Softs, was the quickest car to 200km/h, and that lightning start put him into second place.
Despite a heroic effort, the Australian couldn’t hold on, relinquishing second place a lap later and third with nine laps to go, crossing the line in fourth for the third time this season.
“I’m really happy with today’s race and we’re so close to the podium again. It was a long day, a long race with the stoppages and incidents, but the main thing is that all the drivers are okay. It looked like we were on for third towards the end of the race, so it’s a shame to come so close. We can’t get any closer than that and we’ll keep pushing. Our starts were good, we got Valtteri [Bottas], but he and Alex [Albon] were just too quick to hold on. It hurts not to be on the podium after that, but fourth is still a big result today.”
“We had a brake overheating issue, which is why we had to retire today. Under the Safety Car, the rear brakes were on fire, which caused damage to the rear of the car and the brake line and we couldn’t put the car back together during the red flag. We were in a good position at the start, but I had to go around, Carlos [Sainz] and I lost a couple of positions there. I felt we had the pace for solid points. It looked a cool race to be in with lots going on. It’s getting pretty crazy this year, which is interesting and there are more opportunities for big results.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal
“After a rollercoaster of emotions since Friday, it’s good to be disappointed with fourth! We have believed in that podium for a while and the team probably deserved it, but Alex Albon had better pace at the last restart with the Red Bull. It was a very eventful race, but I believe we did all the right things. Daniel drove a great race to finish where he did. The only regret is that we had only one car in this brilliant race as Esteban had to retire due to a brake overheating problem; the root cause of which will have to be investigated. The main takeaway from this weekend is that we should never take anything for granted. We came here expecting a very difficult weekend with track characteristics that usually do not suit our car, but we still managed to make it work. It’s another indication that we can extract more while the factories develop future improvements. It’s also been a fantastic first event at Mugello, a great track for the drivers and their machines!”
— George Russell finished 11th in an action-packed Tuscan Grand Prix at Mugello
— Nicholas Latifi’s race came to an unfortunate end early on with the Canadian caught up in a four-car accident on a safety car restart
— George started the race 18th, with Nicholas lining up 19th, both on the medium compound tyre
— George took the opportunity to change onto a new set of the medium compound tyres during the first red flag period. He then pitted on lap 29 for the hard tyre, before making a final stop for the soft compound on lap 43 of the race
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
At the end of an incident packed race we are disappointed not to have finished in the points. We anticipated a complicated race and had prepared accordingly, but we couldn’t quite take full advantage.
Both cars started well and made good progress on the opening lap, running 11th and 13th when the first safety car was deployed. At the subsequent restart, Nicholas was very unlucky to get hit by the cars behind as the pack concertinaed approaching the control line. With George, we made good tyre and strategy decisions throughout the race to get him to ninth place at the second safety car, and in a position to race Leclerc for eighth. Frustratingly the subsequent red flag lost us track position and allowed Grosjean and Raikkonen to un-lap themselves. We had a poor final stint, losing places at the restart and then struggling to overtake Vettel.
Overall, we did a good job this weekend and worked very hard to deservedly get ourselves into a strong position in the race. We now need to refine the small details to elevate our race performance from very good to excellent.
It’s such a shame as the race was under control, and I was in P9 before the last red flag. I was driving like hell, everything was stable, the tyres were good, and I was ready to bring the car home. With the last restart, we had some wheel spin and this made the final stint very diffciult. I am disappointed for myself and the team as I feel like we deserved that. Under normal circumstances with the great initial start we had, we would have been in the points.
For the restarts at this track, we knew that the leader was going to go as late as possible because of how far forward the line is along with the slip stream effect. When you are in the middle to the back of the pack, the concertina effect is always much more exaggerated especially as these cars are so fast. I almost hit Kevin (Magnussen) in the apex of the last corner when everyone braked again, and then again it seemed that everyone went, and you are just reacting to the cars around you. The cars ahead then braked once more and there was nothing that I could do to avoid it. It is unfortunate because we avoided the chaos at the start and picked up quite a few positions. I was excited to see how the race was going to unfold, but that is racing sometimes.
“Well, first of all I’m glad everyone is okay after such a dangerous accident. That’s the main thing. We really need to look into what happened and figure out what triggered the whole situation to make sure it never happens again. It’s not the first time these restarts have got dangerous when you’re at the mid-to-back of the field, and something needs to be done.
“On the positive side, I got a good start. It was a day to take risks and try to go forward at the start because the pace all weekend hasn’t been great. Unfortunately, I had slight contact with a Racing Point, fighting for P5 into Turn Three, which sent me into a spin. We still had the whole race ahead of us and from P15 at the restart I could’ve fought into the points. Unfortunately, we never got to race again this afternoon.
“Last but not least, I want to thank the mechanics and the entire team for all their effort and hard work after doing nine races in eleven weekends. We keep going.”
“I’m happy with today. It was a long race from the start to the finish with the two red flags, but I don’t think we could’ve asked for much more. I think we capitalised on other people’s mistakes but didn’t really have the pace to do a lot more.
“Everyone that finished ahead qualified ahead and was much quicker, so I’m happy with how we performed. The car was still very tricky to drive, so I struggled with some confidence. We’ve got a bit to work on for next time, but I think from my side it couldn’t have been a much better race.
“Finally, thanks to the team for their hard work over this opening stint of races. It hasn’t been easy for the team at track or the guys and girls back at the factory, but their support has been incredible.”
Andreas Seidl - Team Principal
“First, the most important thing today is that Carlos and all the guys involved in crashes are okay. After that, wow – a race of three… halves! After a great start, Carlos was unfortunate to spin in traffic and then was the victim of chaos at the Safety Car restart. A frustrating day for him. Lando had a good day: he kept cool all the way through a long and challenging afternoon. He and the team performed very well throughout.
“We really struggled with performance this weekend, when compared to our main rivals in the Constructors’ Championship, but we’re very happy with the final outcome of today’s race, bringing home eight important points. Nine races in 11 weeks has been the most intense schedule F1 has ever organised, and our team – both here at the track and everyone back home in the factory – has risen to the challenge magnificently. We’ll travel home now and try to give everyone a bit of rest before looking forward to a more normal schedule in the next few weeks.”
“I’m really happy and it took a while to get here! It’s something I’ve always wanted and one way or another we haven’t been able to get it so to be there today is pretty special. It’s really nice to give the Team something back after they’ve supported me since day one and show them what I can do. It was a tough race and definitely not one of the easy ones. This track is brutal, especially the high speed corners in sector two, and with so many re-starts to manage we had our work cut out. We struggled to get off the line so I knew I had to be aggressive to get all the overtakes done but we had a really good car and we know it’s good on the brakes so we used that to our advantage. When we lost two positions on the final re-start, I was fired up as I wasn’t going to let the opportunity of a podium go by so I pushed hard to get third and I’m over the moon with today’s result.”
“I am of course very disappointed as I know this could have been a really good race for us. I had a good launch at the start of the race and went around Lewis but then the car just didn’t accelerate so I lost a lot of speed and had no power. I then dropped back into the midfield and got hit from behind. When you drop into the middle of the pack in the first few corners like that it’s quite easy to get involved in a crash so I’m not disappointed about that, we shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place. There isn’t much more to say but it is just really disappointing for the Team that we had to retire again, especially when we looked so competitive but it is of course good to see Alex maximize the result and get on the podium.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal
“A bittersweet day but it’s fantastic to see Alex take his first F1 podium. He’s done a great job all weekend and he had to pass some tough competitors to fight his way back through the field after a couple of difficult starts. All credit to him because he hasn’t let the negativity or external criticism get him down, he’s picked himself up and put in a first class performance. I think this podium will give him a boost of confidence and self-belief and I’m sure he will only get stronger from here. Unfortunately, Max was unable to show us what he had today after such a promising qualifying and positive feeling ahead of the race. He did the hard bit with a great initial launch and was alongside Lewis, but then he experienced a loss of power which caused him to drop into the middle of the pack where he was hit from behind, ending his race in the gravel. It is enormously disappointing for him because he was really up for it today and you could see we had a good overall package. The issue is being looked into by Honda and the Team in order to ensure this does not happen again.”
“It was a very difficult race today, both physically and mentally, so I think we can quite proudly say as a team we didn’t make any mistakes, which is great. It was important for us to get some good points, so I’m happy with the result and I’m pleased with my driving. The team did a great job in difficult circumstances during the two red flags, and our strategy calls today were the right choices. There was a lot of mess behind us, but in front it was quite stable, so P7 was a very good result and we took some more points to close the gap in the championship.”
“It’s a shame to finish the race just after the first corner. It was quite messy coming into Turn 1 with so many cars side by side. I saw some space between Kimi and Romain in Turn 2, I ended up in the middle and had nowhere to go, so we collided and that was pretty much it. I don’t think there is anyone to blame, but it’s a shame as I feel like we missed an opportunity for points today. We showed good pace all weekend and, even if we didn’t have a great qualifying, I was confident we could recover today. Obviously, I would have liked to have been out there with the guys and fight for points, but I think we need to take the positives here because the performance so far has been good, so we need to carry this to Sochi.”
Jody Egginton (Technical Director)
"An eventful race! Pierre was caught up in the opening lap incident, which unfortunately put him out of the race before it had a chance to get going for him. It’s a shame as, although he qualified out of position, he would have likely moved forward in the race, potentially into a points-scoring position. Daniil avoided the fuss at the start and then got his head down and settled into the race, focusing on managing his tyres and pushing when required, keeping himself in position and in contention for points all race. The team and driver navigated the two red flags well and were deservedly rewarded with some good points today.”
Franz Tost (Team Principal)
“It was a very exciting race with a lot of entertainment, which is what the fans like so they must be happy today. Two red flags are very rare in Formula 1 and, unfortunately, we were involved in the first of the incidents, when Pierre was caught in a sandwich between Grosjean and Raikkonen. Because of this, the car was quite heavily damaged, and he wasn’t able to continue. However, Pierre was OK after the crash, and that’s the most important thing. Following the victory in Monza, luck wasn’t on Pierre’s side this weekend in Mugello, neither in qualifying nor the race. We know how good Pierre is, and I’m convinced at the next race in Russia he will start from zero and bounce back. Daniil did a very good job today, he managed to avoid the chaos at the first start and ended the first lap in ninth position before the first red flag. He had another good start and moved up into P7, which is where he finished the race. It was a very good drive from him, showing a fantastic performance. Our original strategy for Daniil was a one-stop starting on the Prime tyre, then moving to the Option but due to the red flags, we decided to change it and sent him out on the Option tyre after each restart, which helped us improve the performance of the car. We added a few more points to our tally and we’ll try to continue doing so in Russia.”
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team scores a 1-2 finish, with Lewis emerging from a chaotic first race at Mugello – which featured two red flags – to win the Tuscan Grand Prix
— Lewis secured the 90th victory of his career, his sixth of the 2020 season and first at the Tuscan Grand Prix.
— Valtteri crossed the finish line in P2 - completing a 1-2 finish for the team.
— This result marks the 100th F1 win of the modern era for Mercedes.
— Lewis has now scored 222 points finishes, which is a new F1 record.
— Lewis (190 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 55 points from Valtteri (135 points)
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team (325 points) leads Red Bull Racing (173 points) by 152 points in the Constructors’ Championship
Today was one of the most challenging days, physically and mentally, I’ve experienced. I’m pretty exhausted to be honest, but it feels fantastic to win such a crazy race. It’s all a bit of a daze and felt like three races in one day. It was incredibly tough out there, this track is phenomenal and Valtteri was pushing me hard, so it wasn’t easy at all. With all the restarts and the focus that was required, it was really hard. The first start wasn’t great and I lost the place to Valtteri, but then the second start was better and I got the place back. I had a comfortable advantage after that point but then there was another red flag. Anything could have happened on those restarts but fortunately on the last one, I got my best start of the day and was able to maintain my position. Valtteri was always right there with me and I couldn’t make a single mistake, otherwise he’d be right there to pass me on the straight. A huge thank you to the team here at the track and back at the factories for all their hard work to make this result possible, and this is a brilliant circuit, so I’d love to come back in the future.
It feels like we had three races today and it was really tough out there. The first part of the race went well for me, but also was pretty short. I had a dream start and maintained my position on the first Safety Car restart. Once I lost the position to Lewis on the second start, it was really tricky to get it back. I did everything I could and was pushing really hard, especially in the middle stint so I could maintain the distance. But when you are behind, you need to slide the car more and that uses up your tyres. There weren’t many opportunities once I lost the place, but that’s how it goes, and I just need to keep pushing and keep trying to get better. And that’s what I’ll do.
What an unbelievable race today with so many red flags and restarts. There was so much going on and it proved to be quite a tough day for all the teams. First of all, I’m glad to see that everybody is safe and okay after the incidents during today’s race. The crash on the main straight looked very scary, as did Lance’s off. For us, it was a great race and a fantastic result for the team with a 1-2 finish at Mugello. Both of our drivers put in very strong performances and it’s just what we’d hoped for. Well done to everyone in the team. To extend the lead in the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships feels good and now we have one weekend off, before we go again in Russia.
That’s the 100th win since Mercedes returned to F1 as a manufacturer in 2010 and a really proud milestone for everyone in Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart. What a race though! Plenty of starts kept it pretty exciting. Lewis lost out at the first one with a bit of wheelspin off the line. Valtteri also had a tough time with marbles on the left-hand side of the grid for the final restart and lost a place to Riccardo. The Safety Car restart was probably more challenging than the race start itself. We’d spent a long time this morning talking it through, we knew that the Safety Car lights would go out really late which meant the lead driver can’t go early as everyone will sit in their tow and pass. Valtteri was controlling the pace at that stage and timed it well, but behind him it looked like a few cars had gone slightly too early and it caused a bit of chaos which brought out the red flag. It was one of those races where it’s normally hard to stay in front, as it’s so hard to guess what’s going to happen next. But the team and drivers did a fantastic job and it’s a really nice way to finish this triple header.
It looked a bit like a movie you had seen before. A lot of promise taken away in a few, cruel corners, the dream of a positive afternoon shattered in a shower of carbon fibre shards; an absurd crash extinguishing the remaining hopes before you had even got started.
And yet, despite the early setbacks, we persevered. What some circumstances took away, others gave back – a red flag erasing a big gap here, a great restart pushing us back up the rankings after losing so much ground in the opening shenanigans there – and in the end, we reached this afternoon’s promised land to celebrate Kimi’s first points of the season.
It was a race so eventful it’s almost difficult to recall everything that happened. Kimi was an unwilling and innocent part of the opening lap crash that brought out a Safety Car, the resulting damage inflicting a lot of pain to his C39’s performance. At the restart, Antonio collided with Magnussen as the field expanded and bunched up like a concertina on Mugello’s long finish straight, the crash suspending the race – the second red flag in as many weeks.
The crew worked on Kimi’s car in the break, trying to rebalance it to account for the missing chunks: it did a measure of good, but it still remained a handful for the rest of the race and it took all of Kimi’s talent to keep churning out good laps. When a good result was on the cards, a technical issue during the pit stop pushed the remaining Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN back to the bottom of the pile, a yawning gap that was thankfully erased by the second red flag of the day.
In the remaining 13 laps, with a five-second penalty hanging on Kimi’s head like a sword of Damocles, the Finn had to deliver an excellent start, jumping three places into P8, and a series of flawless laps to open up a gap big enough not to fall out of the points. He did it – in style, crossing the line ahead of both Ferraris on the road and still bringing home two golden points after the extra time was added.
It wasn’t an easy weekend, but the reward is there to see. It wasn’t an easy weekend, but the ones ending with a good result seldom are.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo
“A very good result to get back in the points, although there still is the feeling we could have achieved more with a cleaner race. It was a very tough afternoon in which many things didn’t go in our favour, and to bring home a top ten finish shows the strength and resilience of this team. To see a big chunk of floor and a front wing come off Kimi’s car before the first lap was over and to lose Antonio from the race at the restart were big blows, but we dug deep and did all we could to turn the weekend around. The very eventful race, and the fact that Kimi was forced to drive a damaged car for the whole race, mean our progress was somewhat masked, but to be able to open a gap to our rivals big enough to almost nullify the penalty we suffered in the closing stages shows how much of a step forward we have made. We are definitely going in the right direction and we can take a lot of motivation from today’s result.”
“It was definitely not the smoothest of races but we finally managed to bring home some points, so we can be pleased about that. My race started pretty badly, I am not sure what exactly happened at turn two but I was hit and suffered a lot of damage. Probably whoever hit me didn’t expect the pack to slow as much as we did, but in any case the crash took away part of my floor and my front wing. The damage made the handling of the car really bad and we struggled with the balance: we lost a lot of downforce but in the end we were still able to push at a decent pace. I had a slow pit stop but thankfully the second red flag got us back in the fight. Then I had a penalty for crossing the pit entry line, which didn’t help, but after the second red flag I was still able to do some good laps and in the end only lost one place. It was far from the perfect execution of a race but, despite all the issues, we still brought home two important points. It’s still a bit of a shame as we have made some good progress and I think we could have finished even higher with a cleaner afternoon, but hopefully we will carry the performance to the next few events.”
“It’s really frustrating to end a race like this, without having really raced a single lap, although I am happy for the team scoring points. I had made another good start, climbing to P14: I felt at ease in the car and who knows how the race could have gone. There’s not much I can say about the crash except that it was a very dangerous situation. Everyone around me was already up at full speed, but suddenly there was [Kevin] Magnussen almost stopped in the middle of the track. [Nicholas] Latifi avoided him but I just didn’t have the time – I tried to, but clipped his rear left. Thankfully, nobody got injured but it was a very dangerous crash. With such a long straight, this was always going to be an issue and we have to think on how to avoid this situation happening again in the future.”
“I think we did really well to maximise the situation to get to P5 considering how crazy the race was, and it’s good points for the Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championships. I’m also relieved to hear that Lance is OK after his big crash. The key to our race was keeping our focus and staying calm in all the incidents and red flags, which we managed to do. I think the podium was a possibility for us today, but we just didn’t quite have the pace or the balance to make it into the fight for the podium. It was tough to come to a new race circuit and adapt quickly, but I think we did well to fight inside the top five this weekend. We also saw today that the upgrade Lance ran was promising throughout the weekend, so I’m looking forward to trying it out for myself in the coming races.”
“First of all, I’m OK after what was a big impact. We’re still investigating the cause of the crash. It all happened so quickly, but it felt like a puncture. We need to go away and look at the data and fully confirm the reasons for it. There were some really strong points on the table and we were closing on Ricciardo for the final podium place before the accident, and it was all set up for an exciting finale. I’m pleased with how the upgraded package performed this weekend, and it gives us a good platform for the coming races. We were able to make a good start to the race and get a good launch in the restart to keep out of trouble until late on. It was an unfortunate result and sometimes that’s how the cookie crumbles, but I’ll take the positives!”
Otmar Szafnauer, CEO & Team Principal
“A challenging day for the team on many fronts with two race stoppages, including a big accident for Lance caused by what looks like a puncture. It was very bad luck because Lance was fighting for the podium all afternoon. He was running in fourth place and the failure happened just as we asked him to push up and overtake Ricciardo for third. Fortunately, he is ok after a significant impact with the tyre barrier at turn nine. As for Checo, he raced well, but we couldn’t quite match the race pace of Albon and Ricciardo in the end. So we leave Mugello with ten more points and having closed slightly on third place in the Constructors’ Championship. A day of mixed fortunes in every sense as we cross the mid-way point in the season. After three triple-headers in a row, I have to say a huge well done to the team for their efforts in such a condensed period. We will aim to be even more competitive in the second half of the season and there were promising signs from the upgrade package, so we’re looking forward to the rest of the campaign.”
Scuderia Ferrari’s thousandth Formula 1 race, the Toscana – Ferrari 1000 GP will be remembered for many reasons. The difficulties and spectacular nature of the Mugello circuit, the track owned by Ferrari and making its debut on the Formula 1 calendar, will be recalled for the return of spectators to the grandstands, for the Italian national anthem sung by Andrea Bocelli and the excitement before the race start of seeing Mick Schumacher doing five laps in the F2004, the Scuderia’s most successful car as raced by his father Michael. However, it won’t be remembered for the race result with Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel finishing eighth and tenth. This was at the end of a chaotic race, red flagged twice, thus featuring three starts off the grid.
Start. When the lights went out, Charles got the perfect getaway, going from fifth to third, even getting alongside Lewis Hamilton in second. But at turn 2, there was a collision between Carlos Sainz’s McLaren and Lance Stroll’s Racing Point. At this point, Seb arrived to find the McLaren across his path sideway and was unable to avoid it, damaging the front wing. A bit further back, Kimi Räikkönen, Romain Grosjean, Pierre Gasly and Max Verstappen collided, with the AlphaTauri and Red Bull finishing up in the gravel, bringing out the Safety Car. The race resumed eight laps later, Charles was third while Seb was thirteenth and last. There was barely time for the race to get going before it was red flagged once more after a big collision on the start line.
Second start. The second start saw Charles again get away well to stay third, while Seb immediately got ahead of Grosjean in the Haas to go 12th. Soon Leclerc was struggling to run at a good pace and was overtaken by several cars, so the decision was taken to pit at the end of lap 22 to go for a change of strategy and a set of Hards. The same tactic was tried with Vettel on lap 29. On lap 38, the team called Charles in again fitting Mediums to his SF1000. Shortly after, Lance Stroll crashed at Arrabbiata 2, bringing out the Safety Car yet again and once more that was soon changed to a red flag. There hadn’t been anything similar happen since Brazil in 2016. Before the stop, Seb pitted for a set of Softs.
Third start. Third time off the grid, with 13 laps to go, Charles was eighth on the grid with Seb tenth. The Ferraris did not get the best of starts this time, Charles losing two places and Seb dropping down to eleventh. Leclerc soon passed Grosjean and set off after Räikkönen, who had been given a five second penalty for crossing the white line at the pit lane entry. Vettel also got past the Frenchman and crossed the line tenth, behind his team-mate who was classified ahead of Raikkonen, once the penalty was applied.
A break. The Mugello race was the last of the third triple-header of the season. Now the championship has a break of two weeks before the circus assembles again at the Sochi Autodrom from 25 to 27 September for the Russian Grand Prix.
“I had a great start, making my way to P3. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the pace we needed to keep this position and finished in 8th place. I tried to fight as much as I could, but it just wasn’t enough today. Lots of things happened in the race, but one thing hasn’t changed, which is that we have to work hard to improve our performance.
The race itself was quite fun. I was happy every time there was a standing start because it was an opportunity for us to try and fight for positions.
The car was quite difficult to drive, especially on the Hard tyres. Towards the end it became a bit better on the Softs, but overall, it’s very tough at the moment, so we need to keep our heads up and stay motivated. It’s very important to keep this in mind in times like these. Hopefully we will see better times coming soon.”
“The start was not the best, but then I had a good run into Turn 1 staying on the inside, out of trouble. Then when I came round Turn 2, I saw that the McLaren had spun, but I couldn’t avoid making contact.
Luckily, with the Safety Car deployed we could change the wing and rejoin the field. I would have loved to capitalise a little bit more on other people’s mistakes, but at least we were quite lucky to generally stay out of trouble. The positive thing is that we were able to finish in the points, but of course we can’t be happy with our position.”
Mattia Binotto Team Principal
“A very disappointing result brings to an end an historic weekend for Scuderia Ferrari at our home track, Mugello, with our one thousandth Formula 1 Grand Prix.
While yesterday, at least with Charles we managed to get a result in line with our expectations, today we didn’t have the pace to allow our drivers to fight with their nearest rivals, suffering especially with tyre degradation.
Both Charles and Sebastian did the best they could, given the performance level of the car. We are working hard to try and correct its basic faults, but it’s not something that can be done in a short space of time, nor with a few updates. That doesn’t mean we won’t be bringing new solutions between now and the end of the season, but we have to be realistic with ourselves and with our fans.”