01 Nov 2020

BOTTAS TAKES POLE AT IMOLA

Mercedes could win their seventh consecutive Constructors World Championship today at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and in so doing wrestle another record away from Ferrari.

Mercedes led Red Bull, by 209 points heading into this weekend at Imola with only a maximum of 176 points left up for grabs following Imola which means Red Bull must outscore the Silver Arrows by 34 points to keep the competition alive.

In qualifying for today’s race, it was great to get back to a circuit with soul as Imola hosted its first Grand Prix qualifying session since 2006! Returning to the old style narrow natural turns of the Imola circuit prompted Lewis Hamilton to commented in post qualifying interviews “why can’t they build racetracks like this anymore?”

On the track Valtteri Bottas beat Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to pole position with his last lap of qualifying again proving that in qualifying trim he is a match for his teammate with a lap 0.097secs quicker than Hamilton, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen third nearly 0.5secs behind.

Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly pulled it out of the bag again on Italian soil with P4, ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull’s Alexander Albon.

Should Bottas win in today’s race it will be his first victory since the opening grand prix in Austria in July.

Hamilton had been quickest in the single practice session on Saturday morning and was again on top after the first runs in final qualifying.

However, Bottas left nothing in the locker room on his last qualifying lap following a fast but messy lap by Hamilton on his final run.

“I really enjoyed it, this track,” Bottas said. “When you push flat out, it’s beautiful. I knew I had to push in the last lap and it’s a great feeling when you get those.”

Hamilton said: “Valtteri did a great job and it was a poor lap from myself. These things happen. You can’t get it right all the time.

“What a beautiful place we’re in here in Italy and the speeds we’re going around this track are unbelievable.

“I am pretty certain we’re going to see a boring race tomorrow. You can overtake into turn one but it is pretty narrow and you can’t overtake on the rest.”

It was another great drive from Pierre Gasly though that took the headlines lapping just 0.326secs slower than Verstappen in the Red Bull. Gasly’s second row start comes just days after he was confirmed as an Alpha Tauri driver for 2021.

Further down the timing board Red Bull have made it clear to Alex Albon that he needs a good race this weekend as they assess whether to keep him on or replace him. With both Hulkenberg and Perez waiting in the wings Gasly’s P4 will place further pressure on Albon. Albon was 0.396secs slower than Verstappen.

Ferrari were again disappointing on home soil with seventh place on the grid for Charles Leclerc. However, the man from Monaco again outshone his team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who continues to struggle with the car and could manage only 14th on the grid.

Alpha Tauri’s Daniil Kvyat and the McLarens of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz completed the top 10.

HOW THE GRID SHAPES UP

Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes
2
Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes
3
Max Verstappen
Red Bull
4
Pierre Gasly
AlphaTauri
5
Daniel Ricciardo
Renault
6
Alexander Albon
Red Bull
7
Charles Leclerc
Ferrari
8
Daniil Kvyat
AlphaTauri
9
Lando Norris
McLaren
10
Carlos Sainz Jnr
McLaren
Sergio Perez
Racing Point
12
Esteban Ocon
Renault
13
George Russell
Williams
14
Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari
15
Lance Stroll
Racing Point
16
Romain Grosjean
Haas
17
Kevin Magnussen
Haas
18
Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo
19
Nicholas Latifi
Williams
20
Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo

JDC is looking forward to welcoming everyone back to Formula 1 in 2021 for what is expected to be a very exciting and closely run season. If you’d like to experience any of the races on the 2021 calendar, then take a look at our Paddock Club™ hospitality packages or contact JDC Promotions and let us build a bespoke package for you and your guests.

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ianhucklesby

Editor-in-Residence, JDC Promotions Media Centre