Frenchman Pierre Gasly, shock winner of last Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza for AlphaTauri, brought out the first safety car after a crash that also took out Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
The first major incident came after a safety car period as, during the restart, a host of cars crashed in a huge pile-up that forced the race to be stopped.
As Valtteri Bottas led the field around for the restart, some of the drivers further down the field attempted to get on the gas early to get a jump on the cars ahead, but it prompted a massive crash as Antonio Giovinazzi, Carlos Sainz, Kevin Magnussen and Nicholas Latifi all ended up destroying their cars in a huge incident that left the start-finish straight covered in debris.
“I think people were going before you’d gone,” Mercedes told Bottas over the pit-to-driver radio, while Sainz reported back to the McLaren team pit as he admitted, “The crash was REALLY scary.
“It felt like at the back of the grid where I was that everyone in front of me thought the race was going and we were all flat out until someone realised the race was not on.
“It’s definitely not a nice feeling to do 280kph and suddenly find three cars in the middle of the straight.”
The incident brought a red flag and the cars restarted, but there was a second red flag stoppage with just 13 laps to go when Canada’s Racing Point driver Lance Stroll suffered a puncture or a suspension failure and careered off the track and into the barriers at high speed.
Only 12 cars finished the race, with world champion Lewis Hamilton taking the victory ahead of Mercedes teammate Bottas and Red Bull’s Alex Albon.
The race also marked the occasion of Ferrari’s 1,000th Grand Prix, but they were unable to challenge at the front, with Charles Leclerc’s eighth-place finish the best they could muster on another disappointing weekend for the Italian marque.