Hamilton wins after Grosjean's fiery crash: 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix as it happened


Lewis Hamilton takes 95th F1 win on dramatic night in Bahrain after Romain Grosjean's fiery crash

Lewis Hamilton smiles after winning the 2020 F1 Bahrain Grand Prix

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It was a long night in Sakhir but as usual in 2020, Lewis Hamilton was the first across the line to add a 95th race win to his tally, following a dramatic evening under the floodlights.

Romain Grosjean suffered a terrifying crash on the initial race start. His car speared off the track, shearing in half as the front end became embedded in a barrier; the wreckage bursting into flames.

It was a type of crash not seen in F1 for decades, but the safety improvements made in that time were clear to see, as Romain Grosjean leapt from the fire.

The front part of Romain Grosjean's wrecked Haas on fire and embedded in the barrier

The front part of Romain Grosjean’s car was embedded in the barrier


As the blaze was extinguished, it became clear that the car’s Halo had protected Grosjean’s head from a direct impact with the barrier.

The Frenchman suffered minor injuries is currently at the Bahrain Defence Force Hospital undergoing further evaluation, following the crash that will be dissected by the FIA in the ensuing weeks.

Grosjean had been caught out as the field bunched up on lap one, at the exit of Turn Three. He swept to the right of the track in search of a clear section of track but caught the front of Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTauri, pitching Grosjean nose-first into the barriers on the inside of the track.

There was no time for any speed to dissipate before contact and the accident brought out an immediate red flag.

There was a lengthy pause as what was left of the Haas was taken away and the barriers entirely replaced.

The wreckage of Romain Grosjean's Haas at the 2020 f1 Bahrain Grand prix

Grosjean was taken to hospital via helicopter with minor burns on his ankle and wrists and with suspected broken ribs according to a team representative.

Over an hour after the initial start, the drivers lined up on the grid once more in the order that they passed the second safety car line at the start, Valtteri Bottas one of the big losers, dropping from his second grid slot to fourth.

They lined up: Hamilton, Verstappen, Perez, Bottas, Albon, Ricciardo, Norris, Ocon, Gasly, Vettel, Stroll, Leclerc, Sainz, Giovinazzi, Kvyat, Räikkönen, Magussen, Russell and Latifi.

Once more, Hamilton aced his start to retain the lead but Verstappen was on the defensive. He lost P2 briefly to Perez but a late-braking dive into Turn One won him back the place.

Lewis Hamilton leads at the restart of the 2020 F1 Bharain Grand Prix

Hamilton kept ahead at the restart as Verstappen and Perez jostled for second

Florent Gooden / DPPI

Leclerc was the one on the move though, rising up the order to seventh much to the displeasure of Vettel, who was on the team radio complaining about his team-mate’s lunge past him into Turn One.

The race was under safety car in quick time again as Stroll was flipped over by Kvyat after contact at the Turn Eight hairpin.

The Canadian was out of the car safely and unharmed but Bottas’ race took another hit as the Finn picked up a puncture, necessitating a pit stop for a fresh set of hards and dropping him to 16th.

Lance Stroll's Racing Point upside down at the 2020 F1 Bahrain Grand Prix

Upside down Stroll resulted in a safety car after the restart

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The safety car was in at the end of lap eight, Hamilton getting the perfect getaway for the third time in Bahrain and the field managed to get away without any major incident.

Ocon was successful in his defence of sixth place against Leclerc but the other Renault was going the opposite direction, losing eighth to Sainz on the restart.

The Spaniard was by his 2021 team-mate one lap later, taking seventh from Leclerc with a DRS pass into Turn One and Ricciardo relegated the Monégasque driver another place into Turn Eight.

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Gasly was next to move by the Ferrari on lap 10 to drop Leclerc to 10th and the other car wasn’t faring much better either, Vettel describing his SF1000 as “undriveable” as he ran last of the remaining runners.

Ricciardo was the first of the top 10 to make a stop under racing conditions on lap 17, rejoining last on a fresh set of hard tyres.

Ocon followed in on the next lap to fit mediums, and Kvyat was in to serve a 10-second time penalty ahead of his stop for hards for his role in flipping the Racing Point of Stroll.

In the battle for best of the rest, McLaren was in to cover off the Renault stops on lap 19. Norris was in and out in time to rejoin ahead of both Renaults in 10th place and was able to clear the traffic of Latifi in short order.

Hamilton’s race lead had been up to around four seconds by lap 20 but having complained of a tyre vibration, was in for mediums and out in P3.

Verstappen and Perez followed suit a lap later from first and second, opting for the hard compound instead.

The Red Bull was out in P2 but Perez rejoined in fifth, behind the yet-to-stop duo of Sainz and Gasly.

Max Verstappen's Red Bull during the 2020 F1 Bahrain Grand Prix

Verstappen pursued Hamilton but couldn’t challenge for the lead

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Sainz pulled in at the end of lap 21 to ditch his soft tyres and rejoined just behind the Renaults, putting the Spaniard into contention on the cusp of the top 10.

As Hamilton eased his medium set of tyres into the operating window, Verstappen was eager to whittle down the gap to the leader, taking a second and a half out of the lead Mercedes by lap 24, with the lead at 4sec.

Bottas’ recovery drive had him up to P6 as the pit stops played out but Norris eased by the Mercedes with the help of DRS to take the place, putting another car between himself and the chasing Renaults.

Ocon headed up the pursuing force, but Sainz split the yellow cars with a DRS pass up to Turn Four, claiming seventh around the outside of Ricciardo

He didn’t wait around to demote Ocon either, taking sixth on lap 28 with a helping of DRS into Turn One.

Caros Sainz's McLaren behind the Renaults of Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo

Sainz passed both Renaults in a late charge

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Renault orchestrated a swap of positions on lap 30, but Ricciardo was already 4sec down on Sainz following the McLaren driver’s earlier pass.

Verstappen’s initial progress had stalled out by lap 30 and Hamilton had eeked out a 5sec gap to the chasing Red Bull.

Bottas re-entered the top 10 on lap 32 with a DRS pass on Leclerc into the first corner, but was over a minute behind his team-mate with just under half of the race remaining.

Red Bull attempted an undercut with a second stop on lap 35 as Hamilton complained of more vibrations, but a slow stop for the Dutchman took away any chance of a gain.

Mercedes responded a lap later with fresh hard tyres and a clean stop with Hamilton, who retained the lead ahead of Perez.

The Racing Point man followed in on lap 37 as Verstappen set a second straight fastest lap to close the gap to Hamilton to 3.7sec.

Ocon had moved in front of Ricciardo once more during the second pit stops, leaving the pair to fight it out on track following Ricciardo’s stop.

Ocon initially held the place until a DRS pass up to Turn Four reasserted the prior order, this time without the call from the pit wall.

Following Bottas’ final stop he was left in 10th place and with a shot at points. Ocon’s Renault was the first to fall on lap 43 as his drive back up the order continued.

Once more, Verstappen’s initial momentum had fallen away, and the gap to Hamilton had grown by lap 47. Red Bull opted to bring him in for a new set of medium tyres for a fastest lap attempt.

Just four laps from home, Perez’s anonymous race in third place came undone with an engine issue on lap 54 of 57, with his Mercedes engine expiring in flames.

His stranded Racing Point brought out out the safety car and spelled disaster for Racing Point in the Constructors’ Championship, with a double DNF a costly result versus McLaren and Renault’s double points haul.

The stranded RP20 needed recovering and with such little time left, the race ended under safety car conditions.

Perez’s retirement handed Albon a podium place but with the race neutralised, there was no time for Verstappen to take advantage of his fresh tyres versus Hamilton.

2020 F1 Bahrain Grand Prix race results

Position Driver Team Time Points
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1hr 34min 01.829sec 25
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull +1.254sec 19*
3 Alex Albon Red Bull +8.005sec 15
4 Lando Norris McLaren +11.337sec 12
5 Carlos Sainz McLaren +11.787sec 10
6 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri +11.942sec 8
7 Daniel Ricciardo Renault +19.368sec 6
8 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +19.680sec 4
9 Esteban Ocon Renault +22.803sec 2
10 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +1 lap 1
11 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri +1 lap
12 George Russell Williams +1 lap
13 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +1 lap
14 Nicholas Latifi Williams +1 lap
15 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo +1 lap
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo +1 lap
17 Kevin Magnussen Red Bull +1 lap
Sergio Perez Racing Point DNF
Lance Stroll Racing Point DNF
Romain Grosjean Haas DNF

*Includes additional point for fastest lap