IMOLA, Italy — Lewis Hamilton overcame a sluggish start to win the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday for a record-extending 93rd Formula One victory and a record seventh consecutive constructor’s title for Mercedes AMG Petronas.
Hamilton beat teammate Valtteri Bottas by 5.7 seconds and rushed over to celebrate with the team’s engineers and mechanics after the team became the first to win seven titles in a row, a streak that began with Hamilton’s second F1 championship in 2014. Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo placed third for a second podium of an impressive season.
By virtue of Sunday’s results, either Hamilton or Bottas will win the driver’s title this season, with Hamilton heavily favored to claim his seventh championship.
“It’s overwhelming right now,” Hamilton said. “I look at my team and think of everyone back home at (the team’s base in) Brackley. They’re the unsung heroes. People watching at home might think we are used to this but to be part of breaking a record (seven titles) like this is incredible.”
A phenomenal achievement from @MercedesAMGF1 as they rewrite the F1 record books
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 1, 2020
He leads Bottas by 85 points with four races and a maximum of 104 points left. Hamilton can clinch the title at the Turkish GP on Nov. 15.
Bottas took an excellent pole position and made a good start, while Hamilton almost lost another position but managed to block Pierre Gasly, who retired his AlphaTauri on Lap 9.
“It was an exhausting race, the speed we were having to go after a poor start,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton started from second on the grid and was overtaken by Max Verstappen, who went off track 11 laps from the end after his rear right tire blew, bringing out the safety car and prompting drivers to change to quicker tires.
Bottas remained 2 seconds behind the lead after his teammate pitted with others. The Finn was hindered by a large piece of debris stuck under his car since Lap 2.
“I think (the damage) made quite a big impact today,” Bottas said. “Out of Turn 7, there was the debris, I didn’t have time to avoid it.”
The safety car remained on the track following another crash as George Russell lost control and slammed into the track barriers. He was unharmed but upset at his own error while behind a safety car, as he sat on the grass and slapped himself several times on the leg in frustration.
This gave Bottas a chance to pressure Hamilton with six laps left, but Hamilton got away cleanly after the re-start and clocked fastest laps on his way to another comfortable win.
“This is something to be proud of,” Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said. “We have a group that is just amazing together, we’ve tried to push the benchmark to new levels and we’ve achieved that. If we stay motivated and energized, we can push it even more.”
F1 returned to Imola for the first time since 2006, when Michael Schumacher won at the Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit situated in Italy’s auto racing heartland and the site of Ayrton Senna’s death from a high-speed crash in 1994.
Hamilton broke Schumacher’s record for wins when he clinched a 92nd victory last weekend.
“Seven times champs, something to tell my grandchildren,” Hamilton, who also clinched an extra point for the fastest lap, said of the team title Sunday. “It is very overwhelming right now.”