Mercedes in seventh heaven

Mercedes in seventh heaven

IMOLA (Italy) • Lewis Hamilton won the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola yesterday to secure Mercedes a record-breaking seventh straight constructors’ title.

This has been an utterly dominant season for the Silver Arrows – they have 11 wins from 13 races – and it was more of the same in Italy yesterday.

A one-two finish saw pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas finish 5.783 seconds behind his teammate, with Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo coming in third for Renault for his second podium of the campaign.

“What an incredible achievement for all of you. I am so proud of everybody and I am so grateful to be a part of it,” Hamilton said on the team radio.

“Couldn’t have done it without you,” came back the reply from the jubilant Mercedes garage.

Hamilton’s 93rd career success, coming a week after he broke the record for the most number of race wins, extended his lead over Bottas in the drivers’ standings to 85 points with four races remaining.

He banked a bonus point for the fastest lap, with his team starting their celebrations 12 laps from the end when Red Bull’s Max Verstappen crashed out with what looked like a sudden rear puncture while he was in second place.

The Austrian team had to score 34 points more than their German counterparts to keep the championship open beyond Imola.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said that the landmark title was “something to be proud of”, adding: “As long as we stay motivated and energised, we can push each other more.”

Hamilton later told reporters: “People watching may think we’re used to this, but it always feels like the first with this team and that’s because of the spirit.

“It was an exhausting race, the speed we were having to go after a poor start. It is very overwhelming right now. I look at my crew and I know all the men and women here, and back in the factory, and they are the unsung heroes.

    EMILIA ROMAGNA GP RESULTS

    1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1hr 28min 32.430sec *fastest lap

    2 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes +5.783sec

    3 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault +14.320

    4 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) AlphaTauri +15.141

    5 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari +19.111

    6 Sergio Perez (Mex) Racing Point +19.652

    7 Carlos Sainz (Esp) McLaren +20.230

    8 Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren +21.131

    9 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo +22.224

    10 Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo +26.398

    DRIVERS’ STANDINGS

    1 Hamilton 282pts

    2 Bottas 197

    3 Verstappen 162

    CONSTRUCTORS’ STANDINGS

    1 Mercedes 479pts – champions

    2 Red Bull 226

    3 Renault 135

“They are the ones that have continued to graft away, never given up. We have a great leader in our team and a big, big thank you to Mercedes.

“It’s unbelievable… seven-times champs. That’s something I’m going to be able to tell my grandchildren one day.

“While we have great performances, it is not easy to continue to deliver weekend in and out. The guys are so precise in how they take the car apart and put it together again weekend after weekend.”

F1 takes a break this week before returning for the Turkish Grand Prix on Nov 15, where Hamilton could wrap up a seventh drivers’ crown, equalling Michael Schumacher’s record.

Mercedes’ record bettered Ferrari’s run of six straight constructors’ titles between 1999 and 2004, moving the team level with Lotus in fourth spot for the most number of titles, behind McLaren (eight), Williams (nine) and record-holders Ferrari (16).

Yesterday’s prize ceremony also paid tribute to Ayrton Senna, with all three trophies sporting a 0.14-carat diamond that marked the location where the three-time world champion from Brazil died while driving for Williams at the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola in 1994.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS