Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Imola, 2020

Hamilton can clinch title at next race after out-running Bottas for Imola win

2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix summary

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Lewis Hamilton fought back from third place to take his ninth win of the year in the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver lost second place to Max Verstappen at the start of the race, while team mate Valtteri Bottas held his lead from pole position.

However Hamilton ran long when Bottas and Verstappen made their pit stops, and pulled out just enough of a lead on his tyres to be able to take his pit stop and come out ahead of them. But when Esteban Ocon’s Renault broke down at the exit of Acqua Minerali, triggering a brief Virtual Safety Car, it ended any hope Bottas had of regaining his lead.

Bottas was losing time due to a badly damaged floor, to which a piece of Sebastian Vettel’s car had attached itself, and ran wide at Rivazza later in his second stint. That allowed Verstappen to pounce, taking second place.

But a sudden right-rear tyre failure a few laps later pitched him into the gravel trap at Villeneuve, sealing Mercedes’ seventh constructors’ championship at the same time.

That also triggered a Safety Car period, during which George Russell crashed out of a potential points finish on the approach to Acqua Minerali, while trying to generate heat in his tyres.

When the race resumed Hamilton easily kept his lead over Bottas, while Daniel Ricciardo held third as Renault decided against using the late interruption to make an extra pit stop – a gamble which paid off.

Red Bull’s misery deepened as Alexander Albon spun on his own after Sergio Perez overtook him. The AlphaTauri driver salvaged fourth place following his team mate’s retirement with a coolant leak, passing Charles Leclerc on the way.

Sergio Perez ran fourth but finished sixth after pitting under the Safety Car. He was followed by the two McLarens, led by Carlos Sainz Jnr, who passed Lando Norris early on but had to take avoiding action when Albon spun in front of him.

The Alfa Romeo pair claimed the final points places, while Nicholas Latifi was less than a second away from claiming his first point.

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2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix reaction

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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84 comments on “Hamilton can clinch title at next race after out-running Bottas for Imola win”

  1. Albon.
    First decent result in ages on the cards and he bins it.
    The faces of his mechanics said it all.

    1. Spinning his way out of F1 next season…

    2. This incident shows you clearly Albon is a good for nothing, and can never race alongside Lewis. This spinner should have been given the penalty points the incompetent tools from fIA awarded to Lewis.

      What a lo.se.r!

      1. Spot on! Totally agree.

        1. Well we all knew this the fact that Lewis got penatlies for them incidents says it all the man cannot control is car is always inpatient. If LH deserved a pen it was probz Brazil but Austria this year nope nope and nope again. Albon has only ever contended for a a race win with a huge tyre adv and safety car. The man is hopeless. He is a Jolyon Palmer level talent

      2. I think you’ll find that Alex has been practicing advanced driving techniques used by drivers who won multiple world champions in order to improve his race-craft, unfortunately he’s currently studying Vettel.

  2. Genuinely quite upset about Russell. Given the recent uncertainty about his drive for next year, this should have been the time to break his duck. At this rate he’s gonna turn into a Hulkenberg equivalent, only for points instead of podiums!

    1. Which is quite a remarkable but honest statement now after looking his F2 and F3 campaign..

  3. While damage and tyre failure robbed Bottas and Verstappen respectively.
    Lewis did everything right to win it though.
    It happens.

    1. Bottas could have used his brains a bit more and avoided debris that he saw. Could have driven slower and punished vestrappen’s tyres. Oh yeah he did. 😀😀😀😀😀

      Vestrappen showed today he’s such a useless overrated driver. Pushed the car, pushed and pushed and pushed and exploded his right rear. And the lame Horner, that should be fired ASAP, blames a debris that didn’t damage the front tyre but instantaneously exploded the rear. Your driver, as usual, tried to out drive the machinery and broke it. 😀😀😀😀😀😀

      1. Is that you Bondo?

        1. Good question.

      2. Stop this nonsense. I used to come to this forum for reading the well-written comments by true F1 fans knowing a thing or two more about the technical side of F1 than myself. Now it’s been taken over by children and trolls… Such a pity they’re ruining all the hard work Keith & Co have been putting into this site. Best of luck to all sensible people. I am out of here.

        1. Jose Lopes da Silva
          1st November 2020, 15:18

          This is internet, you know.

        2. Jose Lopes da Silva
          1st November 2020, 15:20

          A few days ago there was someone saying that the Red Bull was at par with Mercedes in Germany but Verstappen was not quick enough.
          I also see people saying that it’s better to have Mazepin than Grosjean.

        3. agree 😔
          I liked the comment section on this site, the level was pretty high and decent…
          but some..

        4. Yep agree, definitely seems far worse recently. Seem to have lost the fans who can appreciate all the drivers’ talents and have sensible discussions about the sport we all love.

          1. But also fed by Keith and compadres’ sensation seeking approach shift recently made. They gradually commercialised the headlines and are now posting gossip girl-esque articles just to get debate, like they are Bild magazine or something. Very disappointing. A bit like how Liberty approaches F1.

          2. Sadly I agree about the headlines. I guess racefans has to pay the bills during these difficult times though. The content has actually improved in many, many ways especially with Dieter and Hazel writing more, but some of the headline titles, if I’m honest, are sometimes disappointing.

        5. Anthony Blears
          1st November 2020, 21:35

          Absolutely agreed. @keithcollantine please let us rate comments to downvote the junk.

    2. Team put Hamilton on a no lose strategy after telling the world that they don’t put their drivers on contra strategies because it would be unfair.

      At worst he’d stay third by running long. At best he’d jump Verstappen and Bottas without having to do it on track.

      When you’re running away with the drivers and constructors championship with one of the most dominant seasons in the history of the sport (after completely dominating the sport for 7 years), it’s kind of pathetic to stitch up Bottas in this way rather letting the drivers fight it out on track.

      The team literally did everything in its power for find a way to get Hamilton ahead of Bottas. Bottas should feel betrayed by what the team did today.

      1. Nice theory that conveniently ignores the large chunk of Ferrari that was stuck under Bottas’ car from lap two, damaging his aero. Bottas was never going to win that race after lap two.


      2. “after telling the world that they don’t put their drivers on contra strategies because it would be unfair”

        Last time i checked. Bottas tires never lasted way more than Lewis in the first stints. In fact Bottas went backwards real quick as laps ticked. So tell me how was it going to benefit Bottas? Take Mugello for instance Bottas was losing seconds a lap just before the first pit stop while Lewis increase his gap massively. Did you wanted Mercs to pit Lewis first so that Bottas could “hammer” in his already dead tires while Hamilton on a fresh tires would ate Bottas in no time? Like Silverstone 2020 Race 2 Bottas pitted first and Lewis stayed out but Bottas couldn’t ate Lewis lead real quick to make Lewis contra strategy work. Bottas could NEVER make that work because he is Bottas not Hamilton for a reason! So keep crying your chocker excuses. You spout without even analyzing what happened in the races but of course you are a Mr Troll so it doesn’t matter to you. All i want is to put you back in your cave Mr Troll.

        “The team literally did everything in its power for find a way to get Hamilton ahead of Bottas. Bottas should feel betrayed by what the team did today.”

        Imagine how Albon must feel or even Vettel or even Barrichello. Truth to be told Bottas got him self in that situation being slower overall compared to Hamilton. If bottas want avantages he need better pace and speed than Hamilton. We all know it a dream like you do. Cheers

        1. Bottas’s tyres would have lasted much longer. Raikkonen did a 50 lap first stint for crying out loud.

          If Hamilton was a lot quicker then let him get the pass done on the track rather than conspire to jump a teammate by going onto the ‘C’ strategy. That’s how desperate Mercedes were to beat Bottas, they went to the ‘C’ strategy LOL.

          1. Verstappen was the one who picked that poor strategy and forced Bottas to follow.

          2. You mean the offset strategy that the team discussed beforehand if Max got in between them? You know, the one where the lead driver would cover Max, as per usual, and the third place man would extend.
            Although I think I speak for everyone here to say that we were all shocked when Mercedes decided to leave Ham out when it became clear Ham on the old tyres was faster than Max and Bottas on the new. Why would they do that? It was like they wanted to get Ham in front of Max or something. Doesn’t make sense.

          3. Apparently you’re unable to follow the subtleties of a race as it unfolds. Others have tried to explain it to you, but you don’t want to listen because you’re too busy whining about Mercedes and Hamilton. Never mind.

  4. That is Verstappen out of the running in becoming the youngest F1 champion. Sort yourselves out Red Bull so we can have better and more fun competition. Albon is becoming a liability and the car is just not good enough, be it pacewise or reliability.

    1. @krichelle :- Verstappen/RB were never really in the running were they. The Mercedes team is the best run with one of the best working atmospheres. The best PU/chassis combo the best driver combo this year, one of which is arguably one of the best drivers ever.
      I think RB are looking better than they are because of Verstappen and the teams around them have have a very bad last few years and are only now getting their act together. Next year will be a much tougher year for RB I’m guessing. Renault and McLaren for sure will be a real danger because of what looks like great driver combos and with rapidly improving cars with an outside chance of Ferrari improving enough and possibly RP…maybe.

    2. Max was out of the running the moment his advisors told him to sign with RB and not Mercedes.

      1. That’s quite a lot of damage!

  5. What are you talking about red bull have the second fastest car miles ahead of the next team. If anything red bull are closer to merc then Ferrari ever was

    1. You are looking at fastest car. Where is their other driver? Last year at least we had the 2 Ferraris capable of fighting with the 2 Mercedes unlike this year, where we have only Verstappen giving them a challenge with Albon being nowhere. How about reliability wise? Mercedes have 1 retirement due to reliability, while Red Bull have 5. How is that for competition for viewers? ZERO. They have been hyping themselves up every year, and they don’t deliver.

      Red Bull closer to Merc than Ferrari ever was? 2017, 2018 and 2019 just trashes that.

    2. What? Ferrari had the faster car in 2018 they should have won the title but threw it away.

      1. No they didn’t they won 6 races to Mercedes 11.

        RBR won 12 races in 2011 to McLaren’s 6. Was McLaren the quickest car in 2011?

        In 2018 Mercedes quickest in Australia with Vettel jumping into the lead with a fortunate VSC allowing him to pit, Bahrain had Bottas all over the back of Vettel at the end with Vettel doing well to hold him off despite being much slower, China Hamilton got outqualified by Bottas with Bottas leading the race when safety car came out Mercedes didn’t pit the RBRs did gifting them the win.

        Mercedes were always quickest but Hamilton underperformed and team made blunders.

        1. How many race victories were lost by Vettel dearboy? And imagine if Kimi was still prime Kimi.

          1. In 2011 you tell me.

        2. No they didn’t they won 6 races to Mercedes 11.

          This is brain dead analysis -Vettel/Ferrari threw away many wins eg GERMANY ,ITALY ETC

          1. And Mercedes threw away races. Mercedes quickest in Australia with Vettel jumping into the lead with a fortunate VSC allowing him to pit much like yesterday, Bahrain had Bottas all over the back of Vettel at the end with Vettel doing well to hold him off despite being much slower, in China Hamilton got outqualified by Bottas with Bottas leading the race when safety car came out Mercedes didn’t pit the RBRs did gifting them the win.

            That’s three straight off the bat early in the season that Mercedes should have won but didn’t.

        3. China Hamilton got outqualified by Bottas with Bottas leading the race when safety car came out Mercedes didn’t pit the RBRs did gifting them the win.

          china Ferrari was dominant–front row lockout–massive 6ths ahead of Merc–even a Hamilton being on form in qualy couldn’t bridge a 6ths gap

          Vettel was cruising upfront and then he made a mistake going into the pits and this with Ferrari messing up Vettel’s pitstop, allowed Bottas to jump him. Ferrari had the quickest car in China and 2018 overall

          1. Hamilton was outqualified by Bottas, then Bottas was leading the race when the safety car came out which decided the race because RBR got the strategy right and Mercedes didn’t.

            Hamilton was beaten soundly by the lower paid driver on the other side of the garage.

        4. Bondo give it a rest.

          1. He can’t. It’s quite sad, really.

    3. Yes, definately. Red Bull is by far the closest threat to Mercedes since the beginning of the hybrid era.
      Well, the “closest threat”…if we suddenly blacked out and forgot that the 2017, 2018, 2019 seasons ever happened, theeen you’d be also wrong because in 2014, 2015, 2016 they lost at least one pole and 2-3 wins over the season to a rival team, something that is yet to happen this year.

      If anything, these troll accounts that only appear to “thrash” one driver someone dislikes without bringing anything else worth reading on this comment section, are even worse than Merc’s domination…

  6. And yet another chance at points missed from Russell. This one definitely should have been capitalized.

  7. Well done Alfa Romeo. Both cars in the points! Brilliant long 1st stint from Kimi.

    1. 47 laps on mediums. Fantastic. D.O.T.D.

  8. @keithcollantine the heading had me coming here for the maths of situation but am left disappointed with a review which I don’t need.

    Very displeased with the misleading title—whilst true, I expected the article to discuss *how* Lewis could win the title in the next race.

    1. If Bottas doesn’t make 8 points on Hamilton in Instanbul, the title is decided.

      1. He won’t. I wonder if Russell or Perez can wipe the floor with Bottas in that car. Certainly Kimi or Alonso can…

  9. You forget to mention that the VSC was the reason he got out ahead. If not he would have remained third as deserved.

    Hamilton got lucky today period.

    Melbourne 2018, I said Vettel deserved the win because he managed his tyres well but all you Hamilton fan clowns attacked me saying Seb got lucky. Now today the same scenario!

    Completely undeserved win!!

    1. Completely deserved. He was inching ahead all the time and fastest laps lap after lap, and kept his tyres intact and avoided all the debris.

      A brilliant driver in a class of his own.

    2. Huh? Ham was a pit stop ahead (about 28s) and slowly increasing the gap before the SC. Plus being faster when they were all on new tyres. Not to say he would have won, but don’t talk nonsense.

    3. @fish123

      You forget to mention that the VSC was the reason he got out ahead

      Not quite accurate. Hamilton had enough of a gap before coming into the pits but would have needed a sub 3s pitstop which frankly- given Red Bull are doing 2sec pitstops wasn’t unrealistic. As it turns out, he had a slow pitstop and the VSC was the safety buffer in case of of a slow pit stop.

      If not he would have remained third as deserved.

      Even if Bottas came out ahead with a damaged car, do you think he could have held on genuinely given Max overtook him?

    4. @fish123 Hamilton got lucky with the VSC pit stop, definitely, but the message to Bottas was already, just before then, that Bottas was ‘safe minus one second’, in other words with a good stop (though Hamilton’s tend to be around half a second slower than Bottas’s for some reason) Hamilton would have pulled out in front. Without the VSC he may also have extended the medium tyres even further and gone for a later soft tyre stop. Basically Hamilton looked like he had much more chance of winning. A lot of that was down to Bottas’s floor damage though, which slowed him up.

    5. Hamilton was gonna pass bottas without the vsc. Bottas lost the race the second he went over the debris

    6. The VSC made no difference to the race result. Hamilton was already over a pit-stop ahead and increasing his lead. He would have pitted and still led the race but with a somewhat smaller lead.

  10. No 7 for Hamilton a bit of a forgone conclusion isn’t it, he’s barely made a mistake all year. Yes he’s in the best car but that’s where the best drivers end up. McLaren must be chafing at the bit to get Ricciardo into the team he is performing way above most of the other drivers at the moment. With a Merc PU next year I’m hoping he can really shake up the top three.
    I really feel for Albon he’s had a rubbish year with some bad luck and some mistakes, he’s a better driver than the results show imo.

    1. Yes Albon is. But so is Gasly. Apparently the pressure in a top 2 team is too high for them, unfortunately. He will have to leave

  11. proud_asturian
    1st November 2020, 14:34

    You guys rate Russell?
    He’s a choke artist just like Huelkenberg

    1. Erickson hit him!

      Seriously though, things happened behind the safety car all the time. Bottas spun behind the safety car not long ago. Hamilton passed the safety car in his younger years. Vettel memorably crashed in Hamilton on purpose. I could go on and on. That’s part of the race things happen.

  12. Gutted for Perez! what a race from him to not get that podium. Amazing job for having zero experience on this circuit.

    1. With fresh tyres he couldn’t pass Kimi on 47 lap old mediums for 4th.

    2. Yes me too. Such a nasty way to lose it as well.

  13. Bit confused for the article title, this is a mini review of the race and doesn’t discuss how Hamilton can win the title with finishing position relative to Bottas.

    1. @broke84 He’s automatically guaranteed the title by merely finishing ahead of his teammate or neither of them scoring a single point. If Bottas finishes higher, he’d have to outscore Hamilton by ‘at least’ eight points to prevent it from happening in Turkey.

  14. At the rate he is going he will probably clinch it by Wednesday this week!

  15. That would have been boring without the RB drivers. Obviously for different reasons. Max at his best.

  16. +1 I feel for Albon but that spin was disastrous for his chances surely. Verstappen hugely unlucky.

    1. (Ian Dearing)

  17. Russell needs someone to blame it on

    1. He’s accepted all the blame. What’s the problem here?

  18. In Istanbul, Ham needs either a victory or a second place plus Fastest lap, assuming Bottas wins that race.

    Total possible points remaining are 100+4. That would bring Bottas to 301 points, were he to win all four remaining races plus fastest lap.

    to todays 282 points adding 19 points would bring hamilton’s total to 301 points which means Bottas would not have scored fastest lap during one of his victories. With equal points the champ would still be Hamilton as he has more victories.

    Then, Ham could give his seat to Russell for the remaining three races because both drivers and constructors championship would have been secured.

  19. Ban Merc from F1 and it would be so much more boring, Max will smash records in no time maybe win 20 races in a calender year. His teamates are absoloute pathetic. Lewis records will not be untouchable when Max is paired with Jolyon Palmer level talent as teammate. Thank god i got Leclerc when Lewis retires he is my next guy to chear for. And the thing is i feel i Leclerc and Max probz beat Lewis in qually(Lewis raw speed over a lap as diminshed overall) sure he will pull out a mega lap i mean some of his second places in qually last yr made me more proud of some pole positions. Lewis often put car second over vettel who had an illegal HP boost.

    Says it all who is the best. Lewis race pace is like Alonso and even better. Look what happend when Bottas Max pit he was on another level with older tryes. Lewis has the best race pace on the grid without a shadow of a doubt, with max and Charles right at his heels. Ricciardo i would put as 4th best he aint on the top level tho thats for sure, Max had him running to a midfield team.

  20. The WCC already a foregone conclusion of course, but with Bottas needing to outscore Hamilton in Turkey by 8pts or more we could have the mildly interesting scenario of Bottas 1st Hamilton 2nd with a Bottas fastest lap being snatched away from him on the last lap to officially secure the title for Lewis. Emphasis on “mildly”.

  21. Mark in Florida
    1st November 2020, 18:22

    Somebody hand Lewis the trophy please, this is a forgone conclusion to a mind numbing season of Merc 24-7 all day everyday. Congrats to them their excellence is unparalleled in this decade. They have the best Driver, the best team principle, the best engineers and the most money to spend to get all of that. But it also buys boredom, disinterest and lack of fan engagement unless you are a bandwagon jumper with no shame. This engine formula is killing the sport. It’s an engineering white elephant with no end in sight. One team figured it out and now the advantage is locked in. Nobody wants to say hey we need to change things up because that would look like you are going back and no one wants to look anti tech do they? So the FIA are like lemmings running over the cliff. They are just doing what everyone else is doing. Might as well hand him next year’s as well it’ll save everyone some time.

    1. Exactly. Hand Lewis his 8th right away and move on. Its fixed anyway. But no.. Liberty will milk the cow before it all falls apart. They’ve already missed the opportunity to merge with Formula E. That window is gone. The harsh thing is that it was so blatantly obvious this was going to happen. Now their solution for more competitiveness is bringing in a former Ferrari principle so Ferrari can get an advantage and win again.

  22. Another great race by the young driver Giovinazzi. Coming out last and getting into the points with that car is a feat.
    Obviously the english press, the worst in the world in terms of nationalist fanaticism, does not mention it.

  23. If i did the math right, Bottas has to take 8 points of Hamilton to stay alive in the championship. Only 7 points would give Hamilton a 78pt lead and even if Bottas wins every race and takes ever FLAP after that and Hamilton didn’t show up, Hamilton would still be champion with 9 wins vs only 6 possible wins for Bottas. That means…

    If Bottas Finishes… Hamilton Must Finish…
    1st 2nd
    2nd 5th
    3rd 6th
    4th 8th
    5th 9th
    6th+ n/a

    Of course all that does is delay the inevitable. Lewis would have to have a horrible run of bad luck while everything went perfect for Bottas for him not to become a 7-Time Champion.

    1. the chart didn’t format like i thought it would and i forgot one possibility of Bottas winning and getting the FLAP point so let’s try again

      If Bottas Finishes…..Hamilton Must Finish…
      1st w/ FLAP………….Bottas Still In
      6th+…………………..Hamilton Champion

      1. the other way to look at it is even if Bottas wins every race and takes the fast lap point from here out, HAM will still be champion if he picks up 19 points over 4 races.

  24. Honestly, why does anyone even bother talking about the title chase? It’s almost as inane as grid walk questions like “you going to race hard today?” Lewis could quit for the rest of the season and still win the WDC.

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