Former Italian Formula One driver Alessandro "Alex" Zanardi won his third Paralympic gold medal and fourth overall at the Rio Games when the hand-cyclist finished first in the H5 road race time trial in Rio on Wednesday.

Zanardi finished the 20-km course in a time of 28 minutes 36.81 seconds, 2.74 seconds faster than silver medallist Stuart Tripp of Australia. The H1-5 disability is a classification for athletes with impairments affecting their legs, and sometimes trunks and arms, who use a handbike and pedal with their hands.

At London, he had captured the Paralympic gold in the individual time trial. He also went on to win gold in the individual road race and silver in the mixed relay team race.

The 49-year-old hand-cyclist had to amputate both his legs after a horrific crash at the American Memorial, a Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) race held at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz in Klettwitz, Germany on September 15, 2001.

The Italian had also taken part in 44 F1 races between 1991 and 1994, earning one point, racing for teams such as Jordan, Minardi, Lotus and Williams.