Hamilton wins at Imola as Mercedes secure constructors title

Mercedes secure a 1-2 as Renault's Daniel Ricciardo takes his second podium of the season

2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Saturday - LAT Images

Mercedes are the 2020 Formula 1 constructors champions thanks to a Lewis Hamilton victory and Valtteri Bottas second place finish at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola.

The six-time champion made a long first stint on the medium tyres work with some help from a virtual safety car to get in front of his teammate, while Daniel Ricciardo secured his second podium in three races, finishing third.

Hamilton lost out to Max Verstappen at the start, and had to defend from Ricciardo to hold on to a spot in the top three early on.

There were problems behind as Lance Stroll broke his front wing, clipping the back of Esteban Ocon’s Renault to force him into an early pitstop, while Kevin Magnussen was left facing the wrong direction after tangling with Sebastian Vettel.

There was early disappointment for Pierre Gasly following his strong performance in qualifying, as AlphaTauri called him into the pitlane to retire, reporting a terminal issue with the engine.

Verstappen was the first of the front runners to stop, forcing Mercedes to immediately call in Bottas to cover the undercut, while Hamilton was informed his stint of the medium compound was going to be extended, leaving him out longer trying to make an overcut work.

Bottas, who was told he had floor damage, remained ahead of the stops and Verstappen closed the gap, but couldn’t quite get close enough to get DRS, leaving him stuck behind the Finn.

At the front, Hamilton continued on the mediums as he tried to open up a big enough lead to stop and come back out ahead of Bottas and Verstappen, but the championship leader caught backmarkers before creating enough of an advantage, so Mercedes asked him to stay out 10 laps longer.

However, Mercedes were gifted the chance to stop Hamilton earlier when Ocon suffered a clutch failure, leaving him stricken at the side of the track and bringing out the virtual safety car. With the cars on track going slower while the Renault was cleared, Hamilton was able to stop for fresh tyres, handing him a four-second advantage over his teammate.

Bottas’s floor damage caused him to run wide a couple of times, and eventually let Verstappen close enough to get DRS, and the Red Bull driver cruised ahead with 20 laps remaining.

Magnussen became the third retirement of the day after telling the team he was suffering from a headache, caused by upshifts. He said over the radio he was prepared to continue, but with the car running well outside the points, Haas called him into the garage.

Verstappen had been attempting to close the gap to Hamilton at the front of the field after passing Bottas, but something suddenly let go at the back of his Red Bull, leaving him with a puncture and stuck in the gravel.

The incident brought out the safety car, reshuffling the order as some of those in the points stopped and others came in for new tyres. It left Ricciardo in a podium position, and George Russell sat 10th as he looked for his first ever top 10 finish in f1.

However, it wasn’t to be for the Williams driver as he spun out behind the safety car, sliding into the wall to end his race prematurely.

There was further drama in the pitlane under the safety car as Stroll overshot his box, knocking the front jack man off his feet.

On newer tyres, Sergio Perez picked up a couple of places under the restart, while Alexander Albon spun trying to defend from behind, dropping him to the back of the field. Daniil Kvyat was also on the move, getting his elbows out to move ahead of Charles Leclerc.

Having missed out on their first point of the season through Russell, Williams urged Nicholas Latifi to push on the last lap, with the Canadian just a second behind Antonio Giovinazzi, but the Alfa Romeo driver held on for the final points position.

Romain Grosjean crossed the line 12th, but was classified 14th after being given a 5-second time penalty for exceeding track limits too often.

Hamilton also took the bonus point for setting the fastest lap of the day. The result means Mercedes take their seventh straight constructors title, and are guaranteed to win the drivers title as well, with only Bottas able to catch Hamilton.

Provisional classification:

1 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)

3. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)

4. Daniil Kvyat (AlphaTauri)

5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

6. Sergio Perez (Racing Point)

7. Carlos Sainz (McLaren)

8. Lando Norris (McLaren)

9. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)

10. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)

11. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)

12. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

13. Lance Stroll (Racing Point)

14. Romain Grosjean (Haas)

15. Alexander Albon (Red Bull)


George Russell (Williams)

Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

Esteban Ocon (Renault)

Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)

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