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Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Lewis and Valtteri claim a 1-2 finish and secure the Mercedes-AMG F1 Team a historic seventh consecutive double championship


 

Imola, 1 November, 2020

 

Weather: overcast 17.6-18.3°C air, 23.9-21.8°C track

    ·         Lewis and Valtteri are the only two drivers who can still win this year’s Drivers’ Championship, securing the seventh consecutive Drivers’ Title for the team as well

    ·        Lewis claimed his 93rd F1 victory – his ninth of the 2020 season and his first at Imola and also led his 5,000th lap in Formula One at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

    ·        Valtteri came home in P2, securing the 58th 1-2 finish for Mercedes in Formula One

    ·         Today’s result marked the 100th win for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team in the hybrid era as well as the 500th podium place for Mercedes-Benz power

    ·        The result also marks the 100th victory for Toto Wolff as Team Principal of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

    ·        Lewis (282 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 85 points from Valtteri (197 points)

    ·        The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team (479 points) leads Red Bull Racing (226 points) by 253 points in the Constructors’ Championship - an unassailable lead in the Constructors’ Championship with four races to go

    ·        Leo Stevens, No. 2 Mechanic on car #44, accepted the Constructors’ trophy on behalf of the team


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    Lewis Hamilton #44
    F1 W11 EQ Performance /01

    It’s very overwhelming right now. I look at this team and think of everyone back at Brackley and Brixworth, they are the unsung heroes. They are the ones grafting away, never giving up, continuing to push, elevate and innovate. A big congratulations to the team on a hugely deserved Constructors’ title. I’m forever grateful to everyone and so, so proud to be a part of it. To come back year on year and deliver such great performance is absolutely unbelievable. 7-time champions - that's something I’m going to be able to tell my grandchildren one day. No team has ever achieved this and I feel honoured to be a part of breaking this record. A big, big thank you to the entire Mercedes family, to PETRONAS and all of our partners, because we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without them. The race itself was an exhausting one, particularly with the speeds that we are experiencing around this track. I had a tricky start but extended the stint and managed to fight back to the front. It feels fantastic to clinch the title today at Imola in style with a 1-2.

    Valtteri Bottas #77
    F1 W11 EQ Performance /06

    A massive congratulations to the team on winning the Constructors’ Championship! I’m really proud to be a part of this team and thankful for everyone’s hard work and dedication. It’s well deserved and I’m really happy for everyone at the track, Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart. This team keeps pushing and raising the bar and it’s inspiring to work with such a dedicated and driven group. Obviously, it was a tough race for me today. The start was really good but then on lap two, out of Turn 7, there was some debris on the track. I didn’t have time to avoid it, so I aimed for the middle of the car, trying not to run over the debris with the tyres. But it caused some damage and got stuck on the car somehow, which made the car really tricky to drive and also cost a chunk of performance. I was trying as hard as I could to keep Max behind me and had to push over my limits, which led to some mistakes. It was a bit of an unlucky day for me after such a promising start, but it’s still good to pick up another podium and play my part in the Constructors’ title win.

    Toto Wolff
    This is an unbelievable moment, this afternoon feels like a culmination of everything. This has been an unusual season in so many ways and it makes me very proud that we’ve been able to achieve this. Lots of blood, sweat and tears went into this behind closed doors, a lot of people have made great sacrifices to achieve this, so a massive thank you to everyone in the team, here at the track and back at home in Brixwoth and Brackely. We have an amazing group of people that keeps pushing and raising the benchmark to new levels, but what stands out the most is the comradery in this team and the right values at the core of it. A big thanks as well to everyone at Mercedes for the continuous support and their trust in this team – when I think of the support we have in Germany, it just puts a smile on my face. Thank you as well to everyone at PETRONAS – we could not have done this without you! PETRONAS played a big role in this achievement; they’ve been with us since Day 1 and we’re very proud to represent them on the track. I don’t know where this team will go next, but I’m excited to see what the future holds for this inspiring group of people, that is still motivated and energised and wants to set the bar even higher. 

    Andrew Shovlin

    Well done to the whole team, everyone in Brackley and Brixworth on the 7th double, it’s just amazing and so nice to do it with a 1-2 finish although it’s not sunk it yet. The race wasn’t easy, Valtteri picked up someone’s barge board on lap two which got jammed in our bargeboard area and was pretty disastrous for the aerodynamic performance. His pace was impressive considering and he was managing the stint well but he couldn’t pull away from Max by more than just enough to just protect the undercut. When Max stopped we had to cover with Valtteri and had a go at pulling the part out but we couldn’t afford to slow the stop down and had to send the car with it still jammed in there. Lewis stayed out and was doing a good job on the older tyres, working his way through backmarkers and trying to get the pit window to Max and Valtteri. We then had the VSC which worked in Lewis’s favour and he was able to stop comfortably into the lead. Valtteri had his work cut out trying to defend against Max but on the Hard tyre it was tricky and eventually he lost the position. Later in the stint, we were monitoring a bit of vibration on Lewis’s tyres when Max had his puncture 12 laps from the end; given that we had free stops we were going to come in on a safety car. The timing was not great for Lewis, he’d just passed the pit entry when it was called so he was stuck behind it for the lap. With Valtteri we got him in and finally managed to remove the competitor’s part that had been holding him back all race. We made the call to stop Lewis anyway, even though it risked the win we were concerned the vibrations would grow and amazingly he just managed to hold onto the lead. From there it was just a case of counting the laps to the finish but it was great to get both over the line and secure both championships for Mercedes with a first and second.

    Esteban Ocon unfortunately retired from the race on lap 28 following a suspected transmission problem, which is still to be investigated. The Frenchman had been running close to the top ten in the early stages of the race but developed an issue that dropped him down the field and ultimately led to his retirement.

    Daniel had started the race from fifth on the grid and immediately gained a place off the line. Running in fourth on the Pirelli Soft tyre compound, he maintained a gap over Gasly and Leclerc. After Gasly retired, Daniel was able to pit for new Pirelli Hard tyres and keep position over Leclerc despite strong pressure from the Ferrari driver. Perez had nipped in ahead of the pair, but luck turned on lap 51 when the safety car came out for Verstappen’s retirement ahead. As Perez stopped for new tyres, Daniel gained two positions and held his nerve on older tyres until the flag to claim Renault DP World F1 Team’s second podium and Daniel’s 31st of his career. 

    Esteban started the race strongly from twelfth on the grid on Pirelli Medium tyres. He held position off the line and was just two seconds from the top ten when he boxed for a set of Hard tyres. His issues started soon after and despite several in-car fixes he ultimately retired from the race on lap 28.

    Renault DP World F1 Team now has a total of 135 points, placing it third in the Constructors’ Championship with four races to run.

    Daniel Ricciardo
    It was a crazy start to the race, and we did manage to make up some places on the first lap moving up to eighth. Once it settled, we struggled for grip on the Softs and so we pitted quite early. We had the Mediums on for a lengthy spell, so we had to spend a lot of the second stint managing the tyres. I never really had the tyres in the right window so I couldn’t push too hard. Eighth and ninth for the team isn’t a bad result so I think we’ll take that from this weekend.

    Esteban Ocon
    That was a good race for me. It was very hard at the start being on the Mediums, but I kept calm and together with the team we managed it extremely well and made sure we remained competitive throughout. I completed 53 laps on them! They seemed to last a long time and my pace was strong even towards the end of the stint. It kept raining too in short spells, so we had to be mindful of that with the grip levels. In the end I think we did a good job to get both cars inside the top ten.

    Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal
    I’d like to start by apologising to Esteban as it was another retirement due to a technical issue. He was not far off yesterday and had a decent start to be in the mix despite the early stop to remove the tear off from his ducts. He then suffered from an issue that caused some trouble with his gearbox and he had to retire. It’s a shame as Daniel has shown that when the car is working there is pace and competitiveness. Once again, the race went our way: it looked like we were up for P5 as Perez could benefit from his start on medium tyres and we were going to settle for that, but Verstappen’s retirement opened things up. Our strategy team made the bold decision not to stop again, assuming that we had enough life and pace to contain the threat from behind. It was very brave, but it paid off thanks to a fantastic drive from Daniel. With his engineers he managed to keep the exact tyre temperature required during the long safety car and then managed an amazing last few laps to get to the end and give us another podium. We are now third in the Championship and need to own it and focus on the weekends that will come very quickly. Finally, I would also like to offer my congratulations to Mercedes on their seventh World Championship; it’s a phenomenal achievement, one that will continue to inspire us for all the work still ahead.

    The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix delivered a third race of lights-to-flag thrills on Italian soil this season; it also, most importantly, delivered the team’s first double-points finish of the year as Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi finished ninth and tenth respectively.

    Another great start by our drivers, who leapt from 18th and 20th on the grid to 16th (Kimi) and 14th (Antonio), set the scene for a true comeback tale. Antonio, starting on softs, was among the first to stop while Kimi managed to stretch his stint on medium tyres all the way to lap 48. A late Safety Car, just minutes after Kimi’s stop, seemed to scupper our chances to rescue points from the race, but there was going to be a happy ending for our afternoon this time around.

    Kimi and Antonio kept their cool in the chaotic restart stages, climbing to P9 and P10 and defending their position to the chequered flag, bringing home the best team result of the season so far. The three points gained today bring our total to eight, cementing our P8 in the championship with four rounds to go.

    Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG
    “The team has delivered a strong performance as a whole. The strategy calls were good, the pit-stops went well and, of course, the drivers executed their races without putting a wheel wrong. Bringing home our first double-points finish of the season is a good reward for our efforts today. There is still a lot of work to do, of course, but we are making progress and we were in the right place to take advantage of how the race unfolded.”

    Kimi Räikkönen #7
    Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39 (Chassis 05/Ferrari)

    “It was a good result for the team, with two cars in the points, so we can be happy about our race. We knew we could make the tyres last so to run as long as we could was the plan all along. We pitted when we did and the Safety Car came out soon after, which is obviously a bit frustrating, but I don’t know if it would have made much of a difference. In the end, we had good race pace and we were able to be in the right place to gain from the opportunities that arose. We have been closing the gap lately, there’s obviously still much we can improve, but we keep working hard for that.”      

    Antonio Giovinazzi #99
    Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)

    “I am really happy for the team’s result and, of course, for scoring points in my home Grand Prix. It has been a very strong race, especially starting from last place, and finishing in the top ten really was the most we could do. Our strategy was good and climbing six places in the first lap definitely helped. It’s a nice way to celebrate signing a new contract and I am grateful to everyone in the team for today’s race.”

    Scuderia Ferrari leaves Imola with a fifth place courtesy of Charles Leclerc, while Sebastian Vettel’s 12th place is not a fair reflection of his performance. He would have finished in the points, but for a problem at his pit stop that cost him several places. Overall, the SF1000 showed further signs of gradual and continual progress, even if the points haul does not truly show it.

    Start
    At the start, Charles managed to pass Alex Albon in the Red Bull, to go sixth. Sebastian was involved in a collision with Kevin Magnussen’s Haas and he lost a place to Antonio Giovinazzi. Apart from that, there was not much going on in the first part of the race. Charles moved up one spot when Pierre Gasly retired the AlphaTauri and he pitted slightly earlier than planned to try and undercut Daniel Ricciardo. But the Renault driver managed to stay ahead, even though his pace was not that quick. Because of that, Racing Point’s Sergio Perez who had started on the Hard tyre, managed to get ahead of the two of them after his pit stop, to be fourth.

    Fight-back
    After the early collision, Sebastian had a strong pace on the Mediums and he was able to work his way right up to fourth, as those running Softs pitted. The German was in a battle with Carlos Sainz for tenth, when he was called in for his pit stop. Unfortunately, a stripped wheel nut meant the stop took over 13 seconds and Seb thus lost several places, dropping down to 14th.

    Final stages
    With just over 10 laps to go, a tyre failed on Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, after he drove over some debris, while he was lying second. The Dutchman was stuck in the gravel at the Villeneuve corner which brought out the Safety Car. Given the difficulty of overtaking at Imola, the team decided to leave Charles out on track, despite the fact he was on Hards, even though that meant he might struggle to defend from others on softer tyres. However, as Sebastian had nothing to lose, he came in for a set of Softs to try and make up some places.

    Restart
    Thus, when the race resumed, Charles was fourth behind the two Mercedes and Ricciardo, but on that first lap, he had to give best to Daniil Kvyat (AlphaTauri) who had the benefit of Soft tyres. However, once Leclerc managed to get his tyres back up to temperature he did an excellent job of fending off Perez to bring home an important fifth place. Vettel made up two places but that still saw him only 12th. Sainz, with whom Vettel had been fighting in the first part of the race, finished seventh, therefore, but for the problem at the pit stop, Seb should definitely have finished in the points.

    A pause
    After two back-to-back races, the Formula 1 World Championship will be back on track in a fortnight’s time at Turkey’s Istanbul Park circuit, last used back in 2011, when Sebastian Vettel was the winner.

    Charles Leclerc #16
    “P5 feels quite good today, I think we did the maximum. We expected a very difficult first stint, but in fact, we were quite competitive. Then we switched to the Hard and we were probably a tiny bit quicker than Daniel (Ricciardo) in front, but not enough to overtake, so we were stuck behind him. Then, at the restart after the safety car I struggled more than Daniil (Kvyat), who was coming up behind me on new tyres.
    I was really pushing from the beginning to the end and I feel we were quite competitive during the whole race. Also, we did a good job in managing our tyres.”

    Sebastian Vettel #5
    “We started on the Medium, which was the right thing to do as it was still working very well, even after a good amount of laps. Today the pace was good in the first stint, then we lost time in the pit-stop, which is a shame. We tried to come back with the Soft tyre at the end, but it was very difficult to make progress in a train of cars. This is clearly not the result we wanted and for sure not the one we would have deserved today.
    I was comfortable in the car even if this year the problem is more severe in qualifying, where I struggle to get a feel for the car. We have to remain patient and continue to make gradual progress, as we have been doing, given that we missed Q3 by just two tenths yesterday. If we can start from a bit higher up the grid, the next races could bring us better results.”

    Mattia Binotto Team Principal
    “It’s clear to see that we are consolidating the progress we have made in recent races, especially in terms of race pace at a variety of tracks with very different characteristics. That’s important for the rest of this season and for the next one. Once again, Charles did a very good job, both in managing the tyres and when it came to defending position in the closing stages.
    Seb also had a strong race and we are very sorry for the problem at the pit stop that robbed him of a top ten finish, thus losing the chance to pick up valuable points.

    Finally, I wish to congratulate Mercedes for winning the Constructors’ championship. We know we have a very long way to go to be fighting once again for those same goals, something we have achieved so often in our history, but we firmly believe we can do it.”

     

    1

    44

    Lewis Hamilton

    Mercedes-AMG

    1:28:32.430

    63

    2

    77

    Valtteri Bottas

    Mercedes-AMG

    + 5.783

    63

    3

    3

    Daniel Ricciardo

    Renault

    + 14.320

    63

    4

    26

    Daniil Kvyat

    AlphaTauri

    + 15.141

    63

    5

    16

    Charles Leclerc

    Ferrari

    + 19.111

    63

    6

    11

    Sergio Pérez

    Racing Point

    + 19.652

    63

    7

    55

    Carlos Sainz jr.

    McLaren

    + 20.230

    63

    8

    4

    Lando Norris

    McLaren

    + 21.131

    63

    9

    7

    Kimi Räikkönen

    Alfa Romeo

    + 22.224

    63

    10

    99

    Antonio Giovinazzi

    Alfa Romeo

    + 26.398

    63

    11

    6

    Nicholas Latifi

    Williams

    + 27.135

    63

    12

    5

    Sebastian Vettel

    Ferrari

    + 28.453

    63

    13

    18

    Lance Stroll

    Racing Point

    + 29.163

    63

    14

    8

    Romain Grosjean *

    Haas F1 Team

    + 32.935

    63

    15

    23

    Alexander Albon

    Red Bull

    + 57.284

    63

    NC
    2

    33

    Max Verstappen

    Red Bull

    Tire right rear

    50

    NC
    7

    10

    Pierre Gasly

    AlphaTauri

    Water cooling system

    8

    NC
    10

    63

    George Russell

    Williams

    Crash

    51

    NC
    16

    31

    Esteban Ocon

    Renault

    Clutch

    27

    NC
    18

    20

    Kevin Magnussen

    Haas F1 Team

    Gearbox

    47