Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Race


Daylight Saving Time is over so clocks have gone back one hour and that means the race will start at 7am EST.

Despite the format change for this weekend, dropping Friday practice, Qualifying didn’t throw up many surprises. GAS (sporting a tribute to Senna on his helmet) in P4 was a little unexpected but a Mercedes front row wasn’t.
Provisional grid: BOT, HAM, VER, GAS, RIC, ALB, LEC, KVY, NOR, SAI, PER, OCO, VET, RUS, STR, GRO, MAG, RAI, LAT, GIO

Statistically, Mercedes can seal their 7th Constructors’ Championship today at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner, but I’ve got the TSN website open so I can watch it on my Mac’s monitor rather than getting frustrated at the poor reception on the Rogers TV box.

Of course, TSN are doing a look back at Imola 1994, the weekend when Rubens Barrichello had a really nasty accident on the Friday (he was knocked unconscious by an impact measured at 95G), Roland Ratzenberger died in qualifying and Ayrton Senna died in the race. I remember watching it but I’d forgotten about the accident at the start of the race when JJ Lehto stalled and Pedro Lamy didn’t see him until it was too late to avoid a collision; parts of the car went over the safety fencing designed to protect spectators at the start line causing minor injuries to a police officer and eight spectators.
The trophies carry a reminder of that weekend – “The location of Senna’s crash is marked on each of the trophies by a 0.14 carat diamond” [racefans]

OK, back to the Emilia Romagna GP. The pit lane lights are green so the drivers can do their practice starts and head to the dummy grid.
Despite there being no fans, and so there are no VIP grid walks, the grid still looks really busy with the teams preparing their cars.
Looks like some last-minute checks/tweaks on RUS, GAS and STR’s cars
You don’t often see the drivers without a mask so this is the first time I’ve seen BOT’s moustache [Twitter]
Are Mercedes changing HAM’s seat or was there a problem attaching it to the car? FIA report the team have brought out a spare and they’re putting it in, just in time for HAM to jump in
Mercedes say they didn’t swap the seat in the end – just made a small adjustment

BOT leads everyone away on the formation lap
GIO seems to be a long way behind, so it’s a long hold for the cars at the front

01/63: VER squeaks past HAM to steal P2
MAG spins at Turn 7

02: BOT, VER, HAM, RIC, GAS, LEC, ALB, KVY, NOR, SAI, PER, OCO, RUS, GIO, VET, RAI, GRO, LAT, MAG … STR pits
Replay shows STR slipped the rear of OCO, breaking his front wing

03: VER fastest lap 1:20.211
Replay of the start shows GAS had a look at passing HAM too
Replay of VET and MAG colliding, leading to MAG’s spin

04: Part of STR’s original front wing is just at the side the track – will there be a Safety Car so the marshals can clear it?
HAM f/lap

05/63: BOT, VER, HAM, RIC, GAS, LEC, ALB, KVY, NOR, SAI, PER, OCO, RUS, GIO, VET, RAI, GRO, LAT, MAG, STR
Radio from HAM, “It’s so hard to follow here”

06: SAI lines up teammate NOR and uses DRS to take P9
BOT f/lap … but they’re not showing the times
Incident involving VET and MAG is under investigation

08: BOT f/lap 1:19.417
BOT 1.7sec ahead of VER, who in turn is 1.2sec ahead of HAM
Radio for GAS, “We have to box, we have a terminal situation on the car”

09: GAS pits from P5, retires the AlphaTauri – apparently it’s a drop in water pressure

10/63: BOT, VER, HAM, RIC, LEC, ALB, KVY, SAI, NOR, PER, OCO, RUS, GIO, VET, RAI, LAT, MAG, GRO, STR; out: GAS
Radio for SAI telling him to keep looking after his rear tyres

11: GIO pits; switches from softs to mediums
Radio for VER, “We are quicker in all corners but just losing time on the straights”
Radio from HAM, “Right front doesn’t feel great”

13: KVY closing on ALB

14: LEC pits from P5; goes to hard tyres
OCO pits too; also goes for hards

15/63: BOT, VER, HAM, RIC, AB…
VER f/lap
RIC, ALB, KVY pit one behind the other
Incident involving VET and MAG – no further action

16: BOT f/lap 1:18.944
LEC locks up and has to avoid rear-ending RIC

17: BOT’s lead 2.4sec; VER 1.4s ahead of HAM, then ~27sec gap to SAI
KVY attacking ALB over P12

18: BOT f/lap 1:18.799
SAI pits; mediums go on

19: VER pits from P2; hard tyres go on; rejoins safely P3
Radio from HAM, “I’m going to pick up the pace – don’t stop me!”

20/63: BOT pits from the lead; hards go on; rejoins P2
HAM f/lap
Radio for HAM, “We’re going to be extending (this stint)”

21: HAM has 24sec lead, so he’ll want to open that if he hopes to pass VER when he pits

22: HAM f/lap 1:18.416
Radio for BOT telling him there’s damage to the left side of his floor
VER is closing on BOT

23: HAM f/lap 1:18.367 but he’s closing up to lap STR
VER is inside DRS of BOT

24: HAM f/lap 1:17.830 – he’s added more than 1sec to his lead since BOT’s stop
MAG has a train behind him: RIC, LEC, ALB, KVY

25/63: HAM, BOT, VER, PER, VET, RAI, LAT, MAG, RIC, LEC, ALB, KVY, SAI, NOR, RUS, OCO, GIO, GRO, STR; out: GAS
Mercedes mechanics looking at tyres
Radio for HAM, “If you’ve got a little bit more pace we could do with it”; “I don’t!”

27: Radio for HAM, “Can you extend 10 more laps?”; “I can definitely go longer”
RIC passes MAG for P8

28: LEC takes P9 from MAG
ALB attacks the Hass too
PER pits from P4; rejoins P7

29: MAG pits, releasing ALB et al.
OCO pulls onto the grass and parks his Renault

30/63: HAM, BOT, VER, VET, RAI, LAT, PER, RIC, LEC, ALB, KVY, SAI, NOR, RUS, GIO, GRO, STR, MAG
HAM f/lap 1:17.502
VSC

31[VSC]: HAM pits; hard tyres go on; rejoins still P1, ~3sec ahead of BOT

32[VSC]: VSC ends

33: HAM 4.5sec ahead of BOT, who has VER hovering around 1sec behind

34: VER runs wide, recovers

35/63: HAM, BOT, VER, VET, RAI, PER, LAT
LAT pits
Only VET, RAI yet to pit

36: HAM now just over 6sec ahead of BOT
BOT has been told he damaged the floor on lap 2 and “it’s pretty significant”
BOT locks up, touches the gravel and now VER is just a couple of car lengths back

37: VER within DRS range of BOT

39: Mercedes report there’s debris lodged in the barge boards, as well as damage which they think was caused by

40/63: HAM, BOT, VER, VET, RAI, PER, RIC, LEC, ALB, KVY, SAI, NOR, RUS, GIO, LAT, GRO, STR, MAG; out: OCO, GAS
VET pits; problem with the left rear; 13.1sec stop (normally it’s 2.0-2.5sec); rejoins P13 but then GIO immediately passes him

41: Replay shows front right was also a problem in VET’s stop

42: Radio for VER suggesting using “Mode 8” to attack BOT; “Mode 8 is the worst ever!”

43: BOT runs wide again; VER very close but BOT defends
VER attacks again; takes P2
Radio from VER, “SEND IT!”

44: HAM has now led 5,000 laps in F1
HAM closing to lap VET (P14)

45/63: HAM, VER, BOT, RAI, PER, RIC, LEC, ALB, KVY, SAI
VET passes GIO for P13
Radio from MAG, “I’m getting a massive headache from the upshifts – it’s like a kick in the head every time”

47: HAM 13sec ahead of VER; BOT over 5sec back from VER, but 30sec ahead of RAI
Should Mercedes pit BOT and deal with the debris?

48: Radio from Haas asking MAG if he wants to retire; “It’s my job”

49: HAM f/lap 1:17.279
MAG pits, retires
RAI pits; softs go on; rejoins P12

50/63: HAM, VER, BOT, PER, RIC, LEC, ALB, KVY, SAI, NOR, RUS, RAI, VET, GIO, LAT, GRO, STR; out: MAG, OCO, GAS

51: RAI on fresh softs will catch RUS
VER off into the gravel
SC deployed
Radio from VER, “Something broke on the car”

52[SC]: BOT pits; softs go on
Replay shows something broke under braking – was that a puncture?
Many pitting for soft tyres
HAM pushing the SC – he wants to get to the pits ASAP

53[SC]: HAM pits; softs go on; remains P1
Marshals are clearing VER’s car
RUS weaving behind the SC, the Williams jinks left and into the wall!
Radio from RUS, “I’m not sure what to say” – I suspect “Sorry” would be a start

54[SC]: STR pits, hits the front jackman hard – he’s helped to walk into the garage for medical attention
RUS is sitting on the grass, clearly furious at himself

55/63[SC]: HAM, BOT, RIC, LEC, ALB, PER, KVY, SAI, NOR, RAI, GIO, LAT, GRO, VET, STR; out: RUS, VER, MAG, OCO, GAS
SC waves the lapped cars through
HAM now tucks up behind the SC again

56[SC]: Marshals are still clearing up the debris (mostly polystyrene brake board) from RUS’ incident

57[SC]: Christian Horner says it looks like VER had an instantaneous puncture, so it could have been debris
SC in at the end of this lap – there’s just 6 laps left
HAM slows, starts to back everyone up
Green flag for the restart

58: HAM and BOT scamper away; LEC closes on RIC
GIO takes P11 from LAT
PER past ALB for P6
ALB loses the tail, spins but recovers – SAI did well not to hit ALB

59: LAT takes P11 from GRO
KVY surprises LEC, steals P4

60/63: HAM, BOT, RIC, KVY, LEC, PER, SAI, NOR, RAI, GIO, LAT, GRO, VET, STR, ALB
HAM f/lap 1:16.644
ALB pits; softs go on

61: KVY harrying RIC for P3 – RIC on hard tyres, KVY on softs

62: HAM f/lap 1:16.305

63 = final lap: HAM f/lap 1:15.914

HAM takes the chequered flag – win number 93
BOT P2, so Mercedes have their 7th consecutive Constructors’ Championship – that’s another record
RIC P3 with KVY P4
Does that mean Cyril has to get a second tattoo? 🙂
GRO has been given 5sec penalty for exceeding track limits

Provisional result: HAM*, BOT, RIC, KVY, LEC, PER, SAI, NOR, RAI, GIO; LAT, VET, STR, GRO, ALB
*HAM fastest lap
DNF: RUS, VER, MAG, OCO, GAS

Interviews:
RIC: “It was a bizarre one! I got into fourth at the start and thought that was the best we could do. I don’t know, Kvyat came out of nowhere on the last few laps but it was good fun. Today I won’t forget the shoey!”
BOT: “I saw the debris and couldn’t avoid it. I aimed for it with the middle of the car to save the tyres.”
HAM: “It was an exhausting race, the speed we were having to go. It’s just very overwhelming right now. No team has done this, but we have a great leader. It’s unbelievable, to come back year on year – it’s not easy to deliver weekend in, weekend out.” “Seven times champs – something to tell my grandchildren.”

Toto Wolff: “I’m not so much into the numbers but this is something to be proud of. As long as we stay motivated and energised, I think we can push it even more. There will be competition no doubt but we are looking forward to the challenge.”
PER: “Looking at it, it didn’t make sense at the time, the decision was very late. Overtaking was extremely difficult but I haven’t spoken to the team yet – they must have some reasons for it. Painful, painful day as we had the podium in the pocket”
VER: “Nothing was going wrong but suddenly the tyre blew out. We don’t know exactly what happened, big shame. It could have been a very nice P2. It would have been a great race but not meant to be.”
RUS: “I don’t know – not make stupid mistakes like today. It was a race I was pushing as hard as I could from lap one. I wanted to continue that after the safety car because I knew with the guys behind me I needed to be super aggressive. Then I lost it into the wall and it is gutting.”

Racing Point tweet: “Most importantly today, we’re pleased to report our mechanic who took a tumble is back on his feet after being checked out by our medics. They’re made of tough stuff”

Mercedes tweet a photo of the Ferrari bodywork which was lodged in BOT’s car!

Sure enough, RIC remembers to do a shoey on the podium… and HAM joins in! 🙂

[2020 calendar] [2020 line-up]