F1: Hamilton wins Emilia Romagna GP
Lewis Hamilton triumphed on F1's return to Imola to secure victory number 93 as Mercedes seal the Constructors Championship.
1st November 2020
With Lewis Hamilton and team-mate Valterri Bottas finishing first and second, picking up the maximum points awarded, and with Red Bull failing to score, Mercedes won the title for the seventh consecutive year which is a new F1 record.
The record was previously held by Ferrari who secured six consecutive championships between 1999 and 2004.
Hamilton, who started second, lost out to Red Bull's Max Verstappen at the start of the race, managed to leapfrog both the Dutchman and Bottas at the round of pit-stops.
A Virtual Safety Car (VSC) was deployed due to the retirement of Renault's Esteban Ocon and by this time, Hamilton, who had chosen to stay out a few laps longer than both Bottas and Verstappen, pitted under the VSC. When pitting under the VSC, drivers lose less time in the pits than they normally would.
Hamilton rejoined in the lead and started to pull out a significant lead. Meanwhile, Verstappen hounded Bottas who had sustained damage to the floor of his Mercedes. Under pressure, Bottas locked-up into the final corner and this allowed Verstappen to overtake the Finnish driver.
However, with 12 laps to go, Verstappen who suffered a high speed tyre failure into the braking zone of Turn 5, led to him spinning into the gravel trap and into retirement. This triggered a full Safety Car.
Many drivers choose to pit under this including Racing Point's Sergio Perez. The Mexican was running in fourth before Verstappen's retirement but dropped to seventh whilst Renault's Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren's Carlos Sainz and Alpha Tauri's Daniil Kvyat opted to stay out on track.
It was whilst under the Safety Car period that George Russell, who was running in 11th, crashed. The 2018 F2 Champion was warming up his tyres when he lost control and crashed into the wall. The young Brit was devastated as he is now the holder of most races without a point.
When Russell's and Verstappen's cars were recovered and both areas of the track were clear, a breathless restart and final few laps remained.
With damage caused to Bottas's Mercedes, Hamilton was free to romp home to take victory and lead Mercedes to another World Championship. Bottas crossed the line nearly six seconds behind and his hopes of beating Hamilton to the title this year, have been firmly crushed.
When Perez pitted, it promoted Ricciardo to third, a place he'd finish in come the chequered flag but he had to fend of Kvyat, who made a lighting restart to pass not only Perez, Sainz but the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc in just one lap.
In his best finish of the season, Kvyat's fourth will be a welcome result for the Russian as he fights for his seat the Alpha Tauri for next season. His team-mate, Pierre Gasly, who qualified in fourth, retired early on in the race and was gutted to have not been able to show what he could have done in the race.
Leclerc, Perez and Sainz took fifth, sixth and seventh as the other McLaren of Lando Norris came home in eighth.
Alfa Romeo picked-up their first double points finish of the season with Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi rounding out the top ten in ninth and tenth. Both have been confirmed as Alfa Romeo drivers for next season.