Mercedes-AMG F1 has taken its seventh Formula One Constructors’ World Championship at the iconic Italian race track — Imola. Lewis Hamilton’s 93rd win for Mercedes as his teammate Valtteri Bottas finished second, awarded the Brackley based team its seventh title. Daniel Ricciardo took another podium for Renault with a third-place finish. The 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix saw Imola return to the F1 calendar for the first time since 2006. The track’s dramatic history delivered again with another dramatic race this time around as well. It is also the race track that took the life of legendary racing driver Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger on the same weekend in 1994.
The 63 lap race started with an exiting dive into turn 2. Bottas started from pole and kept his lead, but Max Verstappen in the Red Bull from third got ahead of Hamilton and kept both Mercedes cars on their toes. Behind them, Pierre Gasly in the AlphaTauri was leading the rest of the pack from fourth.
While Mercedes eventually went on to take its seventh title over the course of the race. Down the order, multiple heartbreaks occurred one after the other. The first one came on lap nine when AlphaTauri called Gasly in to retire the car with a terminal issue. Gasly qualified well and was right up there with hope for a good race finish. But the Frenchman had to drop out of the race.
Verstappen pitted on lap 19 forcing Bottas to react the next lap. Hamilton took the lead and extended his stint as a part of his tyre strategy. A virtual safety car was deployed on lap 31, handing a minimal damaging pitstop to Hamilton and Mercedes on a silver platter. Hamilton pitted and kept his lead comfortably.
Bottas had taken damage on lap 2 that affected the floor of his car. Bottas on lap 42 struggled through the penultimate corner and went wide. Verstappen following close behind lunged at the opportunity. Using DRS, Verstappen snatched second place from Bottas down the main straight. But that excitement from the Red Bull fans was short-lived. Verstappen suffered an explosive rear tyre puncture, causing him to crash out of the race in dramatic fashion was the second heartbreak of the day. This brought out the safety car and many deiced to use the opportunity for a set of fresh tyres which rejigged the order.
The third heartbreak came with George Russell in the Williams, who was good for his first points finish, crashed out under the safety car conditions and thus extending the safety car duration.
On the restart, Hamilton led the pack with Bottas in second. Ricciardo found himself in third place but Daniil Kvyat got a great restart and climbed up to fourth and was challenging Ricciardo for the podium spot. The Aussie driver managed to keep the Russian at bay till the end. Kvyat finished fourth for AlphaTauri.
Charles Leclerc earned a fifth-place finish for Ferrari keeping a charging Sergio Perez in the Racing Point behind in sixth. The two McLaren cars of Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris finished seventh and eighth respectively.
Kimi Raikkonen, the only driver on the grid to have taken part in an F1 race before at Imola to finish ninth. Raikkonen drove 49 laps on the medium tyres that allowed him to go deep into the race, With his team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi finishing 10th. The duo bagged some points for the Alfa Romeo team.
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