Two spectacular multi-car collisions brought Sunday’s Tuscan Grand Prix to a chaotic standstill and reduced the field to just 13 of the original starters, but despite all the carnage no driver was injured.
An opening lap crash had taken out Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and last Sunday’s Monza winner Pierre Gasly of Alpha Tauri leading to six laps behind the Safety Car and repairs for Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen.
When the race re-started at the beginning of lap seven, as the Safey Car came in, another bigger and more spectacular multi-car smash saw six more cars eliminated – while, almost amazingly, all the drivers were unscathed.
It appeared that the drivers at the back of the pack anticipated race leader Valtteri Bottas pulling clear and accelerated before he did – many of them colliding with cars ahead of them on the track.
Bottas, who led from the start after making a better getaway than Mercedes team-mate and series leader Lewis Hamilton, had been weaving slowly to warm up his tyres before he began racing again.
The crash resulted in elimination for McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, Antonio Giovinazzi of Alfa Romeo, Kevin Magnussen of Haas, Williams rookie Nicholas Latifi and Renault's Esteban Ocon – and a stewards investigation.
Italian Giovinazzi appeared to smack into Magnussen and Latifi, which triggered a further collision with Sainz.
Sainz was clutching his hands as he returned to the McLaren garage, but said he was not badly hurt.
The track was littered with debris on the main straight.
"It could have been much worse with the speeds we do on the main straight – at 280 kph – and it is not a nice feeling," said Sainz. "That crash was properly scary.”
In a foul-mouthed radio message to his Haas team Grosjean said "That was XXXXing stupid from whoever was at the front.
"They want to kill us or what? This is the worst thing I’ve seen ever."
Bottas asked Mercedes what had happened at the re-start.
"I think, Valtteri, it was people going before you’d gone — so they concertina-ed into each other,” said strategist James Vowles.
After a 40 minute delay the race eventually re-started with Hamilton sweeping past Bottas.