Martin Brundle, sky sports F1 commentator, perfectly summed up the race: “… well we have had an event”.
After almost 3 hours of waiting the cars finally took to the track behind the safety car for a total of 2 laps to finally classify the race as finished and to give the drivers their final positions.
The main points of interest over the close to 4 hour affair from the original starting time were as follows:
When the cars left their garages and made it onto the track there was a serious amount of water still sitting around which was constantly added to by the continuous rain showers.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez didn’t even make it to the grid when he span out coming around turn 6. The Mexican driver sent it straight into the barriers destroying his right suspension set up.
The track was so drenched that the formation lap was delayed by 25 mins to wait for the rain to lessen in intensity. With some drivers exiting their cars to get a drink or head to the toilet.
Fans were eagerly waiting in the stands in the 12 degree weather and finally after a 25 minute wait the cars hit the track for a formation lap to try and clear some water.
Too much, too soon…
Race control decided the track was unsafe to race due the extremely limited visibility therefore they suspended the starting procedure and the track was red flagged due to the excessive rain.
Only Max Verstappen was the one egging the team radio on saying its not too bad. But from the 18 other drivers point of view there was no way of seeing the car in front!
1 hour and 15 minutes later the track was still too wet to race but some news came from race control that stated Sergio Perez was cleared to race if his car was repaired in time. The only consolation would be he started from pit lane.
After this announcement Sergio Perez’s car was sufficiently repaired and he was ready to re-join the restart once it was deemed safe to race.
But when would it be safe to race?
There were weather updates from the meteorologists every 5 minutes but the rain was stubborn and stayed put the entire duration of the afternoon.
Teams, drivers, fans, race control, and the commentators were all excruciatingly waiting for a point at which the cars would be able to return to the track. The time was running out as there is a regulation 3 hours given for a GP to take place from the formation of the starting grid.
The time had come and Michael Masi, race director, initiated a 10 min call for teams and drivers to get prepared.
The cars would take to the track as before, behind the safety car and this would be with the sole purpose to give everybody their classifications.
A seriously disappointing race for the fans to watch and in reality also for the teams. But it was a special day for the Williams team as George Russell qualified second and therefore was awarded his first ever podium finish in formula 1 and Williams first podium in years!
Jost Capito, team principal of Williams said he was delighted even though it happened under such strange circumstances. Mentioning that he was so happy for the team and it will keep spirits high throughout all levels and positions.
As for the points, only half points will be awarded to the drivers and teams due to the fact that less than 75% of the race was completed.
Here is how the drivers classification finished after only 2 laps around the track:
|1||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING HONDA|
|2||George Russell||WILLIAMS MERCEDES|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||MCLAREN MERCEDES|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES|
|6||Pierre Gasly||ALPHATAURI HONDA|
|7||Esteban Ocon||ALPINE RENAULT|
|9||Nicholas Latifi||WILLIAMS MERCEDES|
|11||Fernando Alonso||ALPINE RENAULT|
|13||Antonio Giovinazzi||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI|
|14||Lando Norris||MCLAREN MERCEDES|
|15||Yuki Tsunoda||ALPHATAURI HONDA|
|16||Mick Schumacher||HAAS FERRARI|
|17||Nikita Mazepin||HAAS FERRARI|
|18||Lance Stroll||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES|
|19||Kimi Räikkönen||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI|
|20||Sergio Perez||RED BULL RACING HONDA|
featured image source: arabnews.com