The first-ever Tuscan GP is likely be remembered not for the wheel-to-wheel racing it delivered, but for the drama that characterised it from the very first lap. While not anyone’s fault per se, the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly, who won his first-ever race at this year’s Italian GP, and the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Räikkönen made contact which resulted in a cloud of dust and parts.
While the safety car that followed this incident made its way back into the pits, the concertina effect of drivers trying to get a head-start with the Lap 7 race restart, resulted in the other Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi rear-ending the Haas of
Kevin Magnussen causing a multimillion dollar incident in collateral damage. Some experts reckon that this was a result of Mugello’s layout, while others blamed Valtteri Viktor Bottas (who was leading the pack) for setting an inconsistent pace. The F1 rulebook, however, states that the race leader can set the restart pace in order to protect themselves from the threat behind, in this instance his teammate, Lewis Hamilton – so no, the number 77 Merc is technically not at fault.
It was relatively smooth-sailing from there onwards as only little more than half of the remaining field performed a standing restart that played well into
Hamilton’s hands as he claimed the lead.
On Lap 43, however, another safety car and the second red flag of the race was deployed as the Racing Point of Lance Stroll spun into the barriers following what he reported to be a puncture – just another ruined tyre in a season where the larger theme has not been that of engine performance, but rather tyre management.
The outright pace of Mercs proved to still be that of race-winning quality, with Alex Albon – the mild-mannered Thai driver who had been deprived of two previous podium positions by Lewis Hamilton – finally securing the third step during a race that will surely be remembered for some time.