Monday 9/21/20
FORMULA ONE

Hamilton close to another record while Bottas fails to catch up

 On Sunday the Finn was also in the spotlight for supposedly causing a four-car crash.
Finnish Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes-AMG Petronas. Photo: Andrew Boyers/dpa/File photo.
Finnish Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes-AMG Petronas. Photo: Andrew Boyers/dpa/File photo.

The first-ever Tuscany Grand Prix was hectic, but the final result was not very surprising.

Indeed it was a very standard outcome with Lewis Hamilton claiming his 90th Formula One win and Valtteri Bottas second with Red Bull's Alexander Albon the only unexpected face on the podium.

Hamilton not only extended his lead atop the standings to 55 points over Mercedes team-mate Bottas, but also moved within one victory of the record 91 from Michael Schumacher. "It just doesn't seem real," the Briton said.

"It is a privilege ultimately to be in a position and have such a great team and a car to be able to deliver weekend-in, weekend-out. I am forever grateful to the people who continue to work hard."

Hamilton also highlighted "getting this win is not easy when you have a great driver like Valtteri pushing you to the limit." His colleague was a real threat to pole-sitter Hamilton, as the Finn snatched the lead at the original start.

The six-time world champion, however, was clever enough to use Bottas slipstream in the second standing start after a red flag to fly past his team-mate and preserve the lead until the end.

Bottas' season so far hasn't been his best. When it comes to numbers nine races into the season he has his worst season with Mercedes so far since 2018 when compared to Hamilton.

That year Hamilton was 53 points ahead of Bottas after the ninth Grand Prix, while the 2020 season sees a 55 point difference between the two Mercedes drivers so far.

And Bottas can't seem to find an explanation for the situation. "It's far from ideal. [The gap] is way too big and I can see the championship drifting away again," the Finn said after the Spanish Grand Prix in mid-August.

"I don't know the reason for now. At this point it's difficult to say, maybe when time goes on I can say. But for now, no, I have no answer."

Truth is, the Finn has strong competition in Hamilton, who will likely break Schumacher's record grands prix wins within weeks and equal the German's world championship triumphs in months.

Protests

Outside of the track Hamilton has also been stepping up his protests against racism: in Mugello he was on the podium wearing a shirt highlighting police brutality in the US.

After Sunday's Tuscany Grand Prix, Bottas was in the eye of the hurricane as he was blamed by some drivers for causing a four-car crash at the back of the pack on the start-finish straight following a safety car period.

The Finn was seen weaving and slowly leading the field to the restart line, and accelerating later than the other drivers behind him. The incident saw Kevin Magnussen (Haas), Carlos Sainz (McLaren), Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) and Nicolas Latifi (Williams) retiring from the race.

On his radio Haas' Romain Grosjean said "that was stupid from whoever was at the front" and questioned: "They want to kill us or what?". After the race Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel also criticized Bottas saying it was "simply unecessary".

However, Bottas believes he is not to blame for the collision since he acted within the rules. "We're allowed to race from the control line, which has been there for a while I think," he said.

"The difference this year is the safety car, they are putting the lights off quite late, so you can build a gap pretty late on. Of course when you're in the lead, you try to maximize your chances, and I'm not at all to blame for that."

"Yes, I went late, but we started racing from the control line, not before that. The guys behind who crashed because of that, they can look in the mirror. There's no point whining about it."

Bottas' next chance to claim just a second season victory and cut the gap to Hamilton is in Russia on 27 September.

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