Race Report: Hamilton win gives Mercedes 7th title at Emilia Romagna GP

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Race winner Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 celebrates on the podium

Delivering Mercedes a pole position, Valtteri Bottas was setting the table for Mercedes to achieve their record-breaking 7th consecutive world championship. That’s exactly what the Imola circuit delivered but it was some very crafty race strategy that saw Lewis Hamilton secure the win while Bottas nursed a damaged car home in 2nd place ahead of Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault.

Win

A big win for Mercedes who have strung together a record-breaking seven world championships. The domination since the hybrid era has been the era of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton has delivered their title in style with a fantastic drive and race strategy that saw him take his 93rd victory. He had to work for it and the laps he put in ahead of his stop were superlative.

A win for Daniel Ricciardo who managed his second podium of the season and thanks to a late pit stop gamble by Racing Point that dropped Sergio Perez off the podium, Dan gave Renault the lead in the constructor’s title battle in third place ahead of Racing Point and McLaren.

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Renault F1 Team celebrates his third position with the team.
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Sunday 1st November 2020. Imola, Italy.

A big win for Daniil Kvyat who picked up the baton from a retired Pierre Gasly and marched forward to 4th place giving Alpha Tauri a big haul of points and suggested that he can deliver and should be considered for 2021 at the team. A great race for the Russian and a terrific result.

Fail

A fail for Red Bull racing who suffered a DNF with Max Verstappen who was putting on a terrific performance running in second place. An immediate puncture of his right rear tire left him out of the race and it’s a shame as he was putting a lot of pressure on a limping Bottas. Alex Albon struggled in qualifying and couldn’t pick up the pieces of the race for the team when Max retired. He finished down in 15th.

A fail for Racing Point with Lance Stroll struggling down in 13th after hitting one of his mechanics. The team took a gamble during the safety car period boxing Sergio Perez who was running in third. As it turns out, they ceded track position to Ricciardo and Charles Leclerc who did not box. Perez said it didn’t make sense but to be fair, if they had not boxed, there is every chance Ricciardo or Leclerc may have. A gamble that didn’t work and this left them out of third place in the constructor’s championship on even par with McLaren at 134 points to Renault’s 135.

A fail for McLaren who lacked the pace to make a run at Renault and Racing Point for constructor’s points even though Carlos Sainz looked race all day. They were both in the points but behind the Racing Point and Renault.

A big fail for George Russell who threw away a points-scoring opportunity for Williams by crashing while trying to warm his tires behind the safety car. An embarrassing moment that saw the driver sat at the side of the track in a very Mika Hakkinen moment.

WTH

Not sure what was happening with Kevin Magnussen but a severe headache caused him to retire and that’s not good at all.

Not sure what caused Pierre Gasly’s issue with the engine but a real shame as he was certainly headed for a podium finish given his pace.

A shame about the debris given that Max and Valtteri both were victims of it and I didn’t see the actual debris they hit on track or at least the replays didn’t show it. Was hoping the TV production crew would have shown those moments.

I like Kimi Raikkonen as much as the next person but not sure why he was voted driver of the day. Surely Ricciardo, Lewis, Kvyat, deserved the nod?

PIRELLI KEY MOMENTS

  • Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton took a step closer to a seventh world title by winning the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix using a two-stop strategy. Mercedes clinched the 2020 constructors’ title with a double podium, after Valtteri Bottas finished second: mathematically the only man who can now deprive Hamilton of the title. Both drivers ran all three compounds after a late safety car.
  • Hamilton’s win was secured thanks to an overcut strategy, where he completed a longer first stint than his direct rivals on the P Zero Yellow medium tyre, while pumping in some fast laps before his pit stop. He made his first stop onto P Zero White hard tyres under a virtual safety car, which helped him to pit without losing the lead.
  • During a final safety car period with 10 laps to go, the majority of drivers pitted once more, including Hamilton and Bottas, who went onto the P Zero Red Soft tyre for the final stint.
  • Most drivers selected a one-stop strategy, which then become a two-stopper as a result of the safety car. The highest-placed driver to start on the soft tyre was Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, on the podium in third.
  • The weather remained temperate throughout the race, starting in 21 degrees centigrade ambient, with 24 degrees of track temperature.

 

POS DRIVER CAR GAP
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h28m32.430s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 5.783s
3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 14.320s
4 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri/Honda 15.141s
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 19.111s
6 Sergio Perez Racing Point/Mercedes 19.652s
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren/Renault 20.230s
8 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 21.131s
9 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 22.224s
10 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 26.398s
11 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 27.135s
12 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 28.453s
13 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 29.163s
14 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 32.935s
15 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 57.284s
George Russell Williams/Mercedes Spun off
Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda Puncture
Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari Physical
Esteban Ocon Renault Clutch
Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda Overheating
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charlie

It was nice to race at Imola but nothing has changed there. It’s still a hard track to pass even with DRS. I thought the two day race weekend worked(sort of) because it gave less education/testing time for the teams. If there’s a takeaway from this weekend worth consideration, Pirelli should be giving the teams its hardest tires ALL THE TIME. It could add an air of uncertainty and difficulty for the drivers.

Xean Drury

Out of all the crazy 2020 venues, I can say that this is one track that I won’t miss next year. It’s not Paul Ricard, but not one that I’d want to see back on the regular calendar.

Peter

Why Kimi? Because for 2 races in a row he PASSES cars without the ever-so-stupid-cheating-DRS. He’s a racer and I, as a F1 fan, want to see driving, racing, skills and less of the “push button to pass” of Scalextrix.