Max Verstappen retires early from Tuscan Grand Prix: 'Issues with the engine'

Published on 13 September 2020 by Mike Motilall

Max Verstappen retired prematurely from the Tuscan Grand Prix. The Dutchman suffered, prior to the race, issues with his Honda Power Unit in his RB16. After the start he lost quite a bit, despite getting well off the line, because of a lack of power. Verstappen got tangled up in the traffic and was rear ended entering the second corner. This sent him off in the gravel trap where he now suffers a back-to-back race retirement. Lewis Hamilton took the win home and claimed his 90th F1-career race win. Valtteri Bottas and Alexander Albon rounded out the podium with a respective second and third place finish.

“On my way to the grid there was an issue with the engine”, says a heavily disappointed Max.  “On the installation lap the engine stalled. I think that it was the same issue as in Monza because it felt a bit similar.” Getting well off the line didn’t help much either: “I had a good launch. I went around Lewis and had the same issue when I accelerated so I lost a lot of speed.”  

The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing-driver points out that he was not really bothered about the crash itself: “That was not any problem at all, because I still would have retired. But when you have problems like that at the start, you put yourself in a position where you are very likely to get hit from the back. It is just not normal that this problem has happened at two races in a row now.”

It is a little after three when it’s lights out and the ninth Grand Prix of this season gets underway. Max Verstappen suffered, prior to the race, an engine issue but despite that gets very well off the line. Unfortunately, the Dutchman drops way back because he apparently lost a lot of power. After the first corner, Max is out of the top ten and to add insult to injury he is even rear ended entering Turn two. This sends him flying off into the gravel trap. Verstappen is stuck with nowhere to go and retires from two consecutive races. Even Pierre Gasly, who managed to win the Italian Grand Prix last week, doesn’t walk away unscathed from the carnage. Race Control then decides to deploy the safety car.   

At the end of lap six, the field is let loose again. Valtteri Bottas, who overtook his team mate Lewis Hamilton at the start, leads the pack. But the Finn waits to the very last moment to get back up to speed and bunches up the field. When Bottas finally takes off, things take a turn for the worst. A few drivers close in with high speed but are forced to slam on the brakes. This causes Antonio Giovinazzi to run into the back of Kevin Magnussen. The Italian in turn hits Nicholas Latifi, while Carlos Sainz crashes into Giovinazzis Alfa Romeo. The four drivers walk away unscathed but because of all the debris, the race is red flagged.

It’s a little before four when the race is about to get restarted. Esteban Ocon’s Renault remains in the pit box because of an issue with his braked being over heated. This makes the Frenchman drop out number six of the day. After an installation lap, the drivers line back up on the grid and once again the Tuscan Grand Prix gets back underway when the five red lights go out. Valtteri Bottas quite quickly loses his position to team mate Lewis Hamilton, who takes the lead entering Turn one. Behind Charles Leclerc, Lance Stroll, Sergio Pérez and Daniel Ricciardo form the top six.

At the halfway mark, the dark coloured Mercedes’ have extended their lead. Lewis Hamilton leads Valtteri Bottas by about some three seconds, while Lance Stroll trails by almost twenty seconds. Alexander Albon, Lando Norris and Sergio Pérez are at that moment fourth, fifth and sixth respectively. The drivers head in, not much later, for a new set of tyres. When everyone has pitted, Hamilton has gotten a firmer grip on the lead. Daniel Ricciardo, who pitted early, takes over third from Lance Stroll.

On lap 44, we see the Canadian-driver suddenly slide off track. Due to a rear puncture, he loses control of the Racing Point in Turn nine and Stroll is sent hard into the tyre wall. He walks way without any injuries but his car has been, just like the tyre wall, severely damaged. The safety car is immediately deployed once more but Race Control quickly decides to red flag the race again. This has now been the third time in two races that this has ever happened.

Around quarter to four the drivers prepare themselves for the final thirteen laps of the race. Lewis Hamilton retains the lead after the re-start, but once again Valtteri Bottas gets poorly off the line and comes under attack from Daniel Ricciardo. He makes little work of the Finn and takes over second. One lap later, Bottas manages to regain his lost position. Alexander Albon also overtakes the ever smiling Ozzie some time later with a nice overtake maneuver. This puts him on his way to his first ever Formula 1-podium.

Lewis Hamilton doesn’t relinquish the lead and after an eventful Grand Prix takes the chequered flag. Valtteri Bottas comes in second while Alexander Albon takes claim of the final podium spot as the third fastest. Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Pérez and Lando Norris round out the top six.

Results Grand Prix Tuscany:

1Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes592:19:35.06026
2Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes59+4.880s18
3Alexander AlbonALBRed Bull Racing Honda59+8.064s15
4Daniel RicciardoRICRenault59+10.417s12
5Sergio PerezPERRacing Point BWT Mercedes59+15.650s10
6Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Renault59+18.883s8
7Daniil KvyatKVYAlphaTauri Honda59+21.756s6
8Charles LeclercLECFerrari59+28.345s4
9Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari59+29.770s2
10Sebastian VettelVETFerrari59+29.983s1
11George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes59+32.404s0
12Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari59+42.036s0
0Lance StrollSTRRacing Point BWT Mercedes42DNF0
0Esteban OconOCORenault7DNF0
0Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes6DNF0
0Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari5DNF0
0Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari5DNF0
0Carlos SainzSAIMcLaren Renault5DNF0
0Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda0DNF0
0Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri Honda0DNF0