Lewis Hamilton clinched victory at a dramatic 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as Mercedes claimed a record seventh Constructor title with an one-two finish.
Bottas led from pole but after the Finnish driver pitted at end of lap 19, Hamilton managed to extend his opening stint by 11 laps to deliver a dominant overcut after pitting during a Virtual Safety Car, following Esteban Ocon’s retirement with clutch issues which the Brit procceeded to hold until the flag to claim a 93rd Formula One victory ahead of Bottas plus the point for fastest lap to boost his title hopes.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the podium after fending off Alpha Tauri’s Daniil Kvyat to take full advantage from a tyre failure on Max Verstappen’s Red Bull on lap 51 forcing Sergio Perez to unsuccessfully gamble on a second pit stop.
Perez ultimately finished sixth behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc as Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris, Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi rounded out the top ten, which is a remarkable feat for Giovinazzi who had started last on the grid.
Hamilton consequently holds a 85 point lead over Bottas with Verstappen now ruled out of title contention, meaning that if the Brit holds a lead of 78 points or more after the Turkish GP in a fortnight’s time, he will be declared world champion for a seventh time.
Ricciardo meanwhile extended his fourth-placed lead to ten points as Leclerc moved up to fifth in the standings ahead of Perez as Norris, Sainz, Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly begin to slip out of the driver standings battle for fourth.
Mercedes meanwhile are Constructor champions after Red Bull failed to pick up any points to put the Silver Arrows 253 points ahead at the top.
Renault have risen to third by virtue of Ricciardo’s podium and now sit one point ahead of McLaren and Racing Point, as McLaren move above their Pink rivals by claiming two podiums this season to Racing Point’s one top three finish.
Bottas made a clean getaway to lead from Verstappen after Hamilton suffered too much wheelspin which allowed the Dutchman through on the run to Tamburello with Ricciardo slotting into fourth after getting past Gasly, who had encountered a power unit issue on the grid which ultimately forced him to retire after just eight laps following a strong weekend for the Frenchman.
Giovinazzi got an electric start from the back to improve six positions to 14th as Stroll lost his front wing after clipping Ocon’s Renault and Kevin Magnussen got spun at Tosa by Sebastian Vettel, before eventually retiring on lap 49 with headaches from the upshifts.
Bottas soon set about controlling the opening 20 laps up front whilst Sainz passed Norris into Tamburello on lap six for ninth, with several drivers in midfield pitting soon afterwards due to tyre degradation of soft tyres.
At the front, Verstappen tried to undercut Bottas by pitting at end of lap 18 but the race leader followed suit a lap later to cover off Verstappen, which allowed Hamilton to sprint clear and build a gap as his title rivals scrapped over second until Bottas ran wide at Rivazza at end of lap 42 to allow Verstappen to get within DRS and sweep past round the outside into Tamburello at the start of lap 43 to claim second.
Bottas however was carrying debris from Vettel’s Ferrari which prevented his car from attacking at full maximum speed since lap two, making his effort to hold off Verstappen for as long as he did the all more valiant.
LAP 51/63 – SAFETY CAR
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 1, 2020
Verstappen begun to hunt Hamilton down but a sudden right rear tyre failure on lap 51 sent the nine-time race winner spinning out into the gravel at Variante Villeneuve, triggering a seven lap Safety Car period which saw a host of drivers including Hamilton, Bottas and Perez pit, with the Mexican having worked his way from 11th to third at the time of his stop which saw him re-join in sixth.
George Russell meanwhile spun out on lap 53 after applying too much throttle to deny the Brit a potential first-ever points finish in F1, having ran in tenth at the time of him race-ending spin.
Once racing resumed on lap 58, Hamilton sprinted to victory ahead of Bottas as Ricciardo clung onto third ahead of Kvyat who passed Perez and Albon in the opening sequence for fifth before making a late outside move on Leclerc into Tosa to take fourth.
Albon meanwhile spun out of the points after losing the rear on the exit of Variante Villeneuve having just lost fifth to Perez and narrowly avoided collecting Sainz when he arrived upon the scene, as everyone else soon afterwards held station to the flag as Mercedes secured a record seventh consecutive Constructor title whilst Haas’ Romain Grosjean lost 13th due to a five second time penalty applied post-race.
2020 Emilia Romagna GP Race Result
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||63||1h 28m 32.430|
|2||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||63||+ 5.783|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||63||+ 14.320|
|4||Daniil Kvyat||Alpha Tauri||63||+ 15.141|
|5||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||63||+ 19.111|
|6||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||63||+ 19.652|
|7||Carlos Sainz||McLaren||63||+ 20.230|
|8||Lando Norris||McLaren||63||+ 21.131|
|9||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||63||+ 22.224|
|10||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||63||+ 26.398|
|11||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||63||+ 27.135|
|12||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||63||+ 28.453|
|13||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||63||+ 29.163|
|14||Romain Grosjean||Haas||63||+ 32.935|
|15||Alex Albon||Red Bull||63||+ 57.284|
|17||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||50||Puncture|
|20||Pierre Gasly||Alpha Tauri||8||Power Unit|