Hamilton beats Bottas in Imola, Ricciardo third

Lewis Hamilton embraces Valtteri Bottas

Lewis Hamilton has come from behind to beat Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Hamilton started from the front row alongside Bottas, but was slow away and fell to third as Verstappen passed into Tamburello.

While Bottas and Verstappen pitted on Lap 19 and 18 respective on their first set of tyres, Hamilton ran long and set about executing an overcut.

It looked as if Hamilton had enough to come out in front, but was given a free-kick when a Safety Car was deployed.

That proved to be the difference for Hamilton, who pitted and returned to the race nearly five seconds clear of Bottas.

The six-time world champion survived a late Safety Car restart after Verstappen crashed in the closing stages to claim his 93rd win in Formula 1.

The one-two finish all but seals the constructors’ championship for Mercedes who have put themselves mathematically out of reach for second placed Red Bull Racing.

Bottas made a strong start from pole position to lead the field into the Tamburello chicane but wasn’t followed immediately by his stable-mate.

Instead, it was Verstappen who made the stronger start from the second row and demoted Hamilton to third.

AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly was also quick initially and sought to go around the outside of Hamilton into the first turn. However, the Briton closed the door.

Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) made the most of a baulked Gasly, going to his inside and moving into fourth.

Further afield, Kevin Magnussen (Haas) spun out of Tosa after contact with Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) on the opening lap. The stewards deemed the contact did not necessitate a penalty.

At the end of Lap 1 it was Bottas who led Verstappen and Hamilton. Ricciardo lay fourth with Gasly fifth followed by Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Alexander Albon (Red Bull), Daniil Kvyat (AlphaTauri), Lando Norris (McLaren), and Carlos Sainz (McLaren).

Lance Stroll (Racing Point) brought his RP20 to the pit lane on Lap 1 after contact with Esteban Ocon (Renault) damaged his first wing.

As Verstappen threatened to get within the one-second DRS change, Bottas set the fastest lap of the race and stretched his advantage.

Drama struck on Lap 9 for fifth placed Gasly who was forced to the pit lane to retire due to a coolant leak.

Pit stops kicked off in earnest on Lap 13 when Leclerc came to the lane with Norris and Ocon in tow.

Ricciardo, Albon, and Kvyat followed suit a lap later. Ricciardo returned to the race ahead of Leclerc, who locked up at Tosa as he tried to pass the Australian.

Verstappen pitted on Lap 18 in an effort to get an undercut on Bottas. The Finnish driver responded, pitting one lap later.

After spinning early, Magnussen opted to run long on his first set of tyres. He proved to be a roadblock for the midpack, holding up the likes of Ricciardo and Leclerc.

Ricciardo cleared Magnussen on Lap 27 at Tamburello while Leclerc made his way through shortly thereafter.

Perez would prove to be the biggest benefactor who eventually rose to fourth place once the pit stops were completed.

Out in front, Hamilton was looking to affect an overcut on Bottas and Verstappen and looked on target to do so.

However, he needn’t worry when the Virtual Safety Car was deployed for Ocon who pulled his R.S.20 to the side of the road on Lap 29 with a suspected clutch issue.

Hamilton duly came to the pit lane while Bottas and Verstappen were forced to slow on track.

What might have been a slender lead blew out to a five-second advantage for Hamilton over Bottas, the latter left to fend off Verstappen.

It soon emerged Bottas had damage to the floor of his car which he’d sustained on the opening lap.

Verstappen looked threatening at times while Bottas struggled to pull his car up at Rivazza, locking up on Lap 43, and opening the door for the Dutch driver to pass.

With DRS wide open, Verstappen cleared the Mercedes driver and subsequently established a sizeable advantage.

With the field cleansed on Lap 50 it was Hamilton who held a 13-second advantage over Verstappen.

Bottas was a distant third with Perez up seven places to fourth. Ricciardo lay fifth with Leclerc, Albon, Kvyat, Sainz, and Norris in arrears.

Drama struck for Verstappen on Lap 51 when he suffered a sudden right rear puncture on approach to the Villeneuve chicane.

That left his stranded in the gravel trap and out of the race, bringing out the Safety Car.

Hamilton was called into the pits, but the call didn’t come in time. Behind him, Bottas pitted and was followed by Perez, Kvyat, and Sainz.

Hamilton’s advantage was such that he spent a lap behind the Safety Car, pitted a lap later, and still came out ahead of Bottas.

Despite being under the control of the Safety Car, Williams driver George Russell spun out between Piratella and Acque Minerali.

The 22-year-old had been on the brink of claiming his first points in Formula 1.

As the race restarted on Lap 58, it was Hamilton who led Bottas. Ricciardo was third with Kvyat behind him on fresh tyres.

A hard-charging Perez dispatched Albon quickly, who spun out of the Villeneuve chicane and fell to 15th.

At the head of the field, Hamilton was untouchable, stretching his advantage to over five seconds over Bottas.

Further afield, Ricciardo claimed his second podium of the season for Renault despite a late charge from Kvyat who had Leclerc a distant fifth in his mirrors.

Pitting under the Safety Car proved costly for Perez who was sixth and followed by Sainz, Norris, Kimi Raikonnen, and Antonio Giovinazzi.

Result: Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Pos Num Driver Team Laps Time/Retired
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 63 1:28:32
2 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 63 +5.783s
3 3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 63 +14.320s
4 26 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri Honda 63 +15.141s
5 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 63 +19.111s
6 11 Sergio Perez Racing Point Mercedes 63 +19.652s
7 55 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault 63 +20.230s
8 4 Lando Norris McLaren Renault 63 +21.131s
9 7 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari 63 +22.224s
10 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 63 +26.398s
11 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes 63 +27.135s
12 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 63 +28.453s
13 18 Lance Stroll Racing Point Mercedes 63 +29.163s
14 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 63 +32.935s
15 23 Alexander Albon Red Bull Racing Honda 63 +57.284s
NC 63 George Russell Williams Mercedes 51 DNF
NC 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda 50 DNF
NC 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 47 DNF
NC 31 Esteban Ocon Renault 27 DNF
NC 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda 8 DNF

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