MERCEDES WON THE TITLE! RICCIARDO GOT A PODIUM! The 2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix proved to be a spectacular race. It looked as if it was going to be a bit of a bore, but it proved everyone wrong! This race saw a fierce battle for the constructor’s championship, along with Safety Car periods that completely changed the race. There were spins, crashes and driver errors, along with many different strategies. And like many of the races in 2020, the nature of the circuit made for an incredibly exciting Grand Prix. And as ever, here at F1ntastic.com, we’re going to review it.
How Mercedes Clinched Their 7th Consecutive Title At The Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix
There were multiple factors of the Grand Prix that allowed Mercedes to win the 2020 Constructors’ Championship. It was a record-breaking 7th consecutive title for the team. Ferrari held the record with 6 consecutive titles from 1999-2004, but Mercedes has broken it, which was incredibly unexpected. Their dominance is unbelievable. Since Mercedes started winning so much in 2014, we can tell that the main reason for their success is their power unit. Mercedes put the pieces together and brought in many talented masterminds to put together a car that was simply unbeatable. The environment within the team is also very good. Teams like Ferrari have faced internal issues with members of the team, but in Mercedes, nothing like that has ever hindered them. There have been tough moments, but that is always there.
Bringing Toto Wolff to the team really helped Mercedes. Toto Wolff is the Team Principal of Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team. Niki Lauda was the non-executive Chairman of the Mercedes F1 team. He made some major decisions in 2013 by convincing Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff to join Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton was a driver and Toto Wolff was and still is the CEO and Team Principal of the team. Now there are talks of Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff leaving the team, but for now, they’re enjoying the sweet taste of victory. Toto Wolff is an incredible leader. He gives the members of the team guidance and criticism that allows them to improve. The team members also have space and the means to do the best job possible, and that’s how Mercedes are so successful. They know what they’re doing, and they can solve problems very well and very quickly.
“When we started, you would have had to be mad ever to think of a target of seven championships. At the start of 2014, we told the senior leadership at Mercedes that we had put a target on the wall to win a World Championship for Drivers and a World Championship for Constructors. But Aldo Costa said that wasn’t ambitious enough, we should aim for multiples. We said that would be unrealistic, but thank God we did because it reminds us always to keep pushing.” – Toto Wolff
Let’s get into how Mercedes won the title at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. Coming into this race, Mercedes needed an 11-point advantage over Red Bull to win the constructors’ championship. For most of the race, it looked like Mercedes had it in the bag. Hamilton lost 2nd place to Verstappen on Lap 1, but he went into the lead when Verstappen pitted and Bottas pitted from the lead. Hamilton was going for an overcut. He needed a 27-second advantage to come out ahead of Bottas. 10 laps after Bottas pitted on Lap 19, the Virtual Safety Car came out. Esteban Ocon retired after a mechanical failure, but this played perfectly into Hamilton’s hands. Hamilton lost 17 seconds in the pits, and came out 10 seconds ahead of his teammate. The Brit had just secured his lead in this race.
But things got worse for Mercedes. At the end of Lap 43, with less than 20 Laps to go in the race, Bottas made a mistake. At the penultimate corner, he ran wide and dipped 2 tires into the gravel. To be fair to the Finn, he had damage to the floor of his car. That robbed him of some vital downforce. Verstappen nearly hit the rear end of Bottas’s car. But down the main straight, with DRS open, Verstappen flew past Bottas. This reduced Mercedes’ advantage over Red Bull to only 8 points, which was now 4 points, since Alex Albon was in 8th place. However, Red Bull’s hopes and dreams flew away.
On lap 51, coming into the 2nd chicane at Imola, Verstappen’s rear-right tire burst. Verstappen spun into the gravel trap out of the race. On top of that, Albon spun at the exit of the Villeneuve chicane. That was a driver error that cost Red Bull dearly. Red Bull scored no points in this race, and Mercedes got a 44-point advantage on Red Bull this race, which easily won them the constructors’ title. Keep an eye on Hamilton in the next race at Turkey, because he might win the driver’s championship there.
Ricciardo Achieves ANOTHER Podium In 2020!
2020 is a year that will always be etched in the history of the Renault F1 team because Daniel Ricciardo got a podium AGAIN! The Australian finished in 3rd for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, which meant he achieved another podium in this fabulous year. The first came at the Nurburgring, and this one was at Imola. Renault has been doing incredibly well this season. They struggled in the first few races, but they really picked up the pace after that, especially for Ricciardo. Nobody was expecting Ricciardo to bag this podium at Imola. He qualified in P5 and had overtaken Gasly for P4 on the first lap. However, Ricciardo started on the soft tires, so he pitted quite early to get onto the hard tires for the rest of the race.
That strategy wasn’t working well for him, because the drivers who were stretching their medium tires were holding him up. Sergio Perez came out of the pits ahead of Renault, and it looked like the podium had slipped out of their hands. After the cars on the mediums pitted, the order was Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas and then Perez and Ricciardo. All of them were on the hard tires until the end of the race. But within a few laps’ time, everything changed.
Max Verstappen’s right-rear tire blew. He was stuck in the gravel trap, right next to the track. The Safety Car came out, which completely changed the race, especially for Daniel Ricciardo. This happened on Lap 51. Although the Safety Car would’ve come in pretty soon, it stayed out for even longer after George Russell embarrassingly crashed out of the race. He was on the hard tires, which easily get cold, and while trying to warm them up, he lost control of the rear end of his car. The Safety Car period saw many drivers change their strategies. The majority of the field was on incredibly slow and cold hard tires. And with few laps left in the race, switching to the speedy softs seemed to be a good decision. Even though the drivers would lose track position, they could gain a lot more places on the faster tires.
Racing Point told Sergio Perez, who was running in 3rd, to pit for the soft tires. Renault, however, told Daniel Ricciardo to stay out on the hard tires. And what a decision that proved to be. Perez pitting promoted Ricciardo into 3rd. The Racing Point was in 6th, but Kvyat overtook him on the Safety Car restart. Perez got back up into 6th after overtaking Albon, but that was it. The Mexican couldn’t get past Leclerc’s Ferrari, and he was miles away from Kvyat and Ricciardo. Daniel Ricciardo claimed his 2nd podium of 2020, and boy did he celebrate in style! He shared a classic ‘shoey’ with Lewis Hamilton, and unlike at the Eifel GP, Ricciardo didn’t forget his signature celebration.
“They’re all (all the podiums) pretty good, for sure. I’m also not going to take this for granted. It’s the second in three races but I’m excited as I was in Nurburgring,” said Ricciardo, “It was a bit more unexpected, this one. We were running P5 with roughly 15 laps to go I think and then there was the issue with Max (Verstappen) that brought out the Safety Car so that put me in fourth on track. Then Perez pitted, which I was obviously smiling about because I was like: ‘That’s given me third on track’, and I knew hanging on with the hard (tires) on the restart was going to be tricky but I was more than happy to fight for it at the end.
“Track position is obviously very important around here (Imola), so I think both myself and the team were very willing to keep me out on track and we held on. The threat at the end was (Daniil) Kvyat and that was very surprising. I wasn’t sure where he came from, but I was told he was on a soft and was coming on strong, but (I) held on and just very, very happy.
“It’s (this podium) pretty surreal actually. Obviously the first one and to get two now in such close proximity is awesome. It’s so close (the midfield battle). That’s awesome. Obviously, I saw Esteban (Ocon) off fairly early in the race I believe with a mechanical (issue), so that’s a shame. I don’t know where he was on track but I know he would have had the pace too, I’m sure, collect points today. Obviously, it’s great that we got big points with one car but I think if we’re going to keep our noses in front then for sure we need both cars in the points. So it’s a shame he had some reliability issues today. But we’ve still got a few races to go and I think we’ll fight to the end for sure so I’m excited for that.”
As I mentioned earlier and as you can see from the image above, Ricciardo enjoyed a shoey, along with an unexpected Lewis Hamilton.
“I didn’t forget this time – the shoey. I was about to drink a beautiful fresh one and I heard Lewis saying ‘take your other shoe off’ and I was like ‘No…’. Because honestly, I think it was three years ago on the podium he goes: ‘I’ll never, ever do that, I’ll never drink it. You can offer me, you can force me, I’ll never do it’. And he even asked for it today! So it took me by surprise, but 2020 is the year of the strange so it was good fun; very happy.”
Ricciardo’s podium at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix boosted him and Renault in terms of the championships. Ricciardo now has a 10-point lead on Charles Leclerc for the coveted ‘best of the rest’ in the driver’s standings. The Australian is looking to finish 4th in the standings, and he has only done better in 2014 and 2016. He finished 3rd in the driver’s championship in those years. Renault has now leapfrogged both Racing Point and McLaren in the constructor’s championship for 3rd. McLaren and Racing Point both have 134 points, and Renault has 135. This midfield battle is EXTREMELY close, and I can’t wait to see how they perform in the next round in Turkey. Don’t forget to comment down below whether you think Hamilton will secure the drivers’ title in Turkey. Be sure to share this post, and stay on the lookout for new posts!