Updated: Nov 14, 2020
ROUND 13: EMIRATES GRAN PREMIO DELL'EMILIA ROMAGNA 2020
Where: Imola, Italy
When: SUNDAY, 1st Nov 2020; 05:40 pm IST
Where to watch: Disney Hotstar
The Top 3
Lewis Hamilton continued his winning streak to secure his 93rd race win today at Imola, extending his own record of 92 from Portimao. He now has 162 podium finishes to his name.
Lewis had a slow start as Max Verstappen beat him in a straight line right into the first chicane while Bottas retained his lead.
It was a double victory for Mercedes as they clinched their 113th victory and claimed their 7th consecutive world championship title today!
It was a disappointing Sunday for pole sitter Valtteri Bottas, as he ran over some debris and picked up some underbody damage right from Lap 2 which ended up compromising the aerodynamic performance on his car. Lewis managed to effectively use his set of medium tyres (which he started on) and decided to play the long hand after Bottas pitted. Despite an underperforming car and an overcut by Hamilton, Bottas still managed to finish strong at P2.
What is an Undercut and what is an Overcut?
An undercut is a strategy wherein a driver (usually one who is struggling to get past another car) pits early in the race hoping to gain an advantage later in the race on fresher tyres when their rival pits. E.g. In the event of a Safety Car, all drivers are required to reduce their speed by 40%. They cannot overtake the car in front and must strictly follow the Safety Car. In such a scenario, any driver who is closest to the pit lane gets an advantage as other drivers cannot catch up now. He gets a large window for a pit stop and maintains track position as well.
An overcut is a strategy in which a driver waits longer on track after the rival pits, hoping to create a large enough gap for a pit stop which lets him jump track positions. This strategy usually works when a pit stop consumes more time. (Longer pit exits usually cause this)
E.g. In this race, Bottas (P1) pitted after Max (P2) while Hamilton (P3) kept driving. Lewis managed to create a large enough time gap to just about fit in his own pit stop. When Ocon triggered a Safety Car, his gap expanded as other cars slowed down and that helped him finish his pit stop and come out in P1 ahead of Bottas (then P2) and Max (then P3) both!
Daniel Ricciardo took his 2nd podium of 2020 finishing at P3; defending against a final charge from Daniil Kvyat post Max's retirement.
Key Developments in the Race
Lap 1: Lance Stroll made contact with Esteban Ocon, causing damage on his front wing which needed replacement. Ocon narrowly escaped a puncture.
Lap 9: Pierre Gasly retired from the race with a coolant leak on his Honda powered Alpha Tauri.
Lap 29: Esteban Ocon retired his Renault as he faced an issue with his clutch. Ocon's retirement kicked off a virtual safety car period, which beautifully played into the hands of Hamilton who got a free pitstop enabling him to overcut his team mate as well as Max, and exit the pit lane ~4 secs clear of Bottas. Bottas was being chased to within 1 sec by Max Verstappen during this time.
Lap 43: Lewis Hamilton touched 5000 laps led in his Formula 1 career and continued leading till the end of the race.
Lap 51: Verstappen's rear right tyre gave in causing him to retire from P2! Safety Car deployed.
Lap 52: Kimi Raikkonen did the longest stint of 49 laps on his medium tyres! (He did 46 in Portimao) He started 18th and finished at an impressive P9, just ahead of teammate Antonio Giovinazzi at P10.
Lap 53: George Russel had an accident behind the Safety Car as he tried to warm his tyres with some throttle and ended up spinning into the wall.
Lap 59: Perez and Albon battled for P5 as the safety car ended and the Thai driver hit the throttle too hard over the kerb and spun out. He had to join back at the end of the pack. Daniil Kvyat made 2 beautiful overtakes on Charles Leclerc and Alex Albon during the restart post the safety car to finish P4 - his best ever finish so far!
All pictures used in this post are the courtesy of the Instagram pages of Formula 1, AMG Petronas F1 Team, Renault F1 team and the Formula 1 website.