Lewis Hamilton wins crash-marred Bahrain GP

Hamilton won Bahrain GP
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton won the Bahrain GP under caution after an incident with three laps remaining saw a 17 second lead over Max Verstappen evaporate. It was an anticlimactic ending to a race that began with two major incidents in the opening laps.

Romain Grosjean crashed heavily on the first lap of the race while trying to overtake Daniil Kvyat. His car impacted a barrier head on and burst into flames. Grosjean survived the fiery crash with reportedly minor injuries that included burns on his hands and ankles as well as possibly broken ribs.

“At first I was angry that he had turned across me in the way he did, but that changed as soon as I saw the flames and what happened in my mirrors,” Kvyat told BBC Sky Sports. “I was really worried. It was a scary moment.”

After a complete restart, Kvyat made contact with Lance Stroll, who landed upside down to bring out a second red flag. (Watch Here.)

Once the Bahrain GP returned to green it featured a dominant win for Hamilton, who led all 57 laps. This was the first time a Bahrain GP has been led flag to flag.

But the win was not as easy at it appeared.

“It was physically very demanding,” Hamilton said of the win. “With the break that we had at the beginning, you get into a mindset, you have a good start. And then with the wait that we had it’s so easy to step out of the zone. That was tricky. But then getting back in, [Red Bull] had a lot of speed today, so I was flat out the whole way trying to keep them at bay.”

Second-place Verstappen set the fastest lap of the race with nine circuits remaining. He posted a speed of 211.741 kilometers per hour on Lap 48, which was almost two kilometers per hour faster than Hamilton’s 209.803.

The Bahrain GP victory was Hamilton’s fifth consecutive win and his 11th of the season. With 11 wins Hamilton tied his most in a season. He won 11 times previously in 2014, 2018 and 2019. Hamilton has two more chances to achieve a new personal record.

On Lap 31, Hamilton set a new best with 588 laps led in a season. He ended the race with 614 laps led. His previous best was set in 2015 during which he won his third of seven drivers’ championships.

Sergio “Checo” Perez was on his way to a second consecutive podium finish for the first time in his career before his Mercedes burst into flame with engine failure.

“It was a great race today by [Perez],” said Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal of the Racing Point F1 team. “Never put a foot wrong. It’s just unfortunate. Bad luck today for both Lance and Checo.

“We’ve got two races to go. We just have to regroup and it’s not over. We have a quick car.”

Perez’s late race retirement allowed Alex Albon to take the final podium position in third. That completed a comeback from a Practice 2 crash that forced the team to roll out a new chassis for the race.

McLaren grabbed the next two spots with Lando Norris finishing fourth and Carlos Sainz fifth.

Hamilton’s win extends his points lead in the drivers championship to 131 over Valtteri Bottas. Hamilton clinched his seventh championship in the Turkish Grand Prix.

As Hamilton won the Bahrain GP, teammate Bottas had a difficult race.

He fell back dramatically on the opening lap, which contributed to the traffic jam that eventually ensnared Grosjean. During the race he had multiple tire punctures requiring pit stops to replace the deflated rubber. His eighth-place finish earned four points and places Bottas only 12 ahead of Verstappen with two races remaining. Verstappen earned 19 points with his second-place finish.

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.

On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.

Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)