Qualified 2nd, Finished 1st

One of those races that many other drivers in the same position would not have won, but Lewis Hamilton did. Yes, there was the good fortune of Valtteri Bottas losing chunks of lap time through having a chunk of Ferrari wedged in his Mercedes, and then the timing of the Virtual Safety Car, but Hamilton’s pace and tyre management ensured he was also swinging the victory his way too.

He predictability did not panic when he was overtaken by Max Verstappen off the line and, once the Red Bull and Bottas pitted, Hamilton used the clear track to take control of proceedings. He may well have gained track position without the lap-30 VSC which triggered his own visit to the pits, but that guaranteed it. From there it was game over, even with the late Safety Car.

Hamilton has had more impressive weekends this year, and admitted he was “pretty poor” in the Q3 shootout when losing out on pole to Bottas, but here the final result was still the same as so often this season. Nine wins from 13 in this astonishing campaign puts Lewis one more away from that historic seventh title.
Rating out of 10: 9

Qualified 1st, Finished 2nd

Sure, Valtteri Bottas has not been a match for Lewis Hamilton for the majority of this season – but it is races like this which make you think that the championship margin is wider than it perhaps should be. Bottas beat Hamilton in qualifying and, on any other Sunday, would have stormed clear from the field in the opening stages as his main rival dropped to third. But Bottas, who has got used to frustrating Sundays this year, was not able to do that after sustaining “significant” damage on just the second lap of the race when collecting part of a broken Ferrari underneath his car. It was unavoidable, and desperately unlucky.

While he was admirably able to hold off Verstappen – before he ran wide in a hard-to-handle W11 – he could not match Hamilton’s pace even when on new tyres after pitting, and would have been a distant third if not for the Red Bull’s crash and the Safety Car.

He collects 18 points and has been a dependable pair of hands for Mercedes in their championship streak since joining in 2017, but he is desperate to avoid the ‘wingman’ tag and only sealing one win from four 2020 poles does not help in that regard.
Rating out of 10: 8.5

Qualified 5th, Finished 3rd

Daniel Ricciardo has now gone two from three in podium finishes for Renault on a weekend the RS20 was back to more competitive form in the midfield after a relatively off weekend by its recent standards at Portimao. Delighted with the Q3 lap that took him to fifth on the grid, Ricciardo got Pierre Gasly off the line and nearly Hamilton too, before settling into fourth place through the first stint.

An early-ish stop and time spent stuck behind the long-running Kevin Magnussen let in Sergio Perez to jump him and several other midfield rivals too. But the tables turned back around when Renault held their nerve and did not pit for fresh tyres and surrender track position when the Safety Car was called for Verstappen’s exit, opening up a golden podium chance that Ricciardo did not surrender.
Rating out of 10: 9

Qualified 8th, Finished 4th

Where has this Daniil Kvyat been all season? Out of form and surely heading out of the sport, Kvyat – armed with an unexpectedly rapid AlphaTauri – not only delivered what was by far his best qualifying and race finishes of the season, but also what has surely got to go down as one of the best results of a roller-coaster career.

Pierre Gasly’s early retirement flatters Kvyat somewhat, but the Russian, after a long battle with Alex Albon, deserves immense credit for a storming finish to the race. Key to that was Alpha’s call to pit for soft tyres, which unlike others around him did not cost Kvyat a position, and he then made the most of that advantage – and then some – on the first lap after the restart as he passed Sergio Perez and Albon into Turn Two, and then Charles Leclerc shortly after.

So fast was Kvyat, and that AlphaTauri, that he will probably be ruing a missed podium. We did not think we would be saying that this year!
Rating out of 10: 8.5

Qualified 7th, Finished 5th

A decent Sunday for Charles Leclerc for fifth place, even if he was back in the midfield pack here after brilliantly leading it in Portugal. Was a slight disappointment to only qualifying seventh – although, yet again, this was a considerably higher slot than Sebastian Vettel could manage in the sister car – but moved into sixth on the race’s first lap ahead of Alex Albon’s Red Bull.

Pierre Gasly’s lap-eight demise then gave him another place and Leclerc then spent the next 50 laps following Ricciardo’s Renault. It would have likely finished that way too had it not been for the Safety Car and a storming restart lap from Daniil Kvyat, who took fourth away from Leclerc with five laps to go.
Rating out of 10: 8

Qualified 11th, Finished 6th

“It’ll be a travesty if Sergio Perez is on the sidelines next year.”

The words of Sky F1’s Martin Brundle during what was another textbook display from Perez who, while starting down in 11th, overcut and overtook all of his midfield rivals thanks to an excellent opening stint. A podium was there for the taking, but Racing Point – perhaps thinking Ricciardo et al would stop too, perhaps thinking that Perez would have more laps to attack than he did – pitted the Mexican for more new tyres despite the fact he had fresher rubber than most. That dropped him from third to seventh, and ultimately cost him a much-deserved first top-three finish of a sparkling 2020.

“A painful day,” said Perez, who continues his perfect points-finishing streak and lies only 13 points off Ricciardo in the championship despite missing two races. Someone has got to offer Perez a seat for next year. Right?
Rating out of 10: 8.5

Qualified 10th, Finished 7th

Carlos Sainz was thrust into a Formula 1 game of Dodgebull on the lap-58 restart to avoid the spinning Red Bull of Alex Albon on the run to the Tosa corner, cat-like reactions that earned him a seventh-place finish.

That represented a three-place gain from his grid position after he was outqualified by McLaren team-mate Lando Norris by a tenth of a second. Sainz got ahead of Norris with a nice move into Turn One at the start of lap six and from there was very happy with the MCL35’s pace, even if the tight confines of Imola meant he could not quite deploy it to truly attack the cars ahead.
Rating out of 10: 7.5

Qualified 9th, Finished 8th

Back in the points for the first time since Mugello, but Lando Norris just cannot find the form that led to a flying start to 2020 at the moment. He beat Sainz in qualifying for just the second time in eight sessions, but was overtaken by his team-mate on the sixth lap of the race and was pretty much in a train behind him after that. McLaren could do with replicating their early-season pace to salvage third in the championship, as could Norris as he remains in the drivers’ fight for fourth.
Rating out of 10: 7

Qualified 18th, Finished 9th

The fans’ Driver of the Day, this was another good race-day drive from Kimi Raikkonen, who collected just his second points finish of the year. A mammoth 48-lap opening stint on the medium tyres meant the Alfa Romeo ran in the top six for almost half the race before his sole stop. Dropped back down to 12th from there but moved back into ninth during a dramatic final phase to the race when Verstappen and Russell crashed out and Albon spun out.
Rating out of 10: 8

Qualified 20th, Finished 10th

Various retirements and a slow Ferrari pit-stop helped Antonio Giovinazzi on Sunday, but credit where its due to the Italian as he sealed his third points finish of the season – one more than his experienced Alfa Romeo team-mate above. Key to this top-10 was a storming start, making up six places on the first lap, while he then avoided the mistakes that ruined his qualifying to hold off those behind after the Safety Car.
Rating out of 10: 7

Outside the points

Nicholas Latifi’s best weekend in F1 so far? Probably. He may have been outqualified by George Russell again on Saturday but he was only a tenth off a Q2 appearance despite his back-row grid slot, and he then displayed impressive race pace on the medium tyre to go long on Sunday. He will be a little disappointed not to have capitalised on a tyre advantage at the end of the race to grab a point, but an encouraging weekend nonetheless.
​​​​​​​Rating out of 10: 7.5

Make that 10 weekends in a row that Sebastian Vettel has been outqualified by Leclerc, and nine in a row that he has failed to make the final shootout, but the four-time champion was rather unlucky not to come away from Imola without some points after a pretty strong race day.

He was running up in fourth after a consistent opening stint and likely would have emerged from the pits by the McLarens if all had gone to plan, but nothing has really gone to plan for Seb in 2020 and so of course, Ferrari’s stop was painfully slow. That dropped him behind the Williams and the Alfa Romeo, a deficit he could not quite recover from.
​​​​​​​Rating out of 10: 6.5

“There’s not a lot of positives to take.”

You can say that again, Lance Stroll. The Canadian followed up a disappointing qualifying, the slowest of all in Q2, with first-lap contact and subsequent pit-stop and he never looked quick after that. Considering Perez’s pace, this was another missed opportunity for a driver whose results since an Italian GP podium read: DNF, DNF, Withdrawn, DNF, 13th.
​​​​​​​Rating out of 10: 5

Lacking a lot of straight-line speed and probably a bit of motivation after his F1 exit was confirmed, Romain Grosjean endured what he admitted was a “long afternoon” on Sunday. At least he now leads Kevin Magnussen in the qualifying head-to-heads.
​​​​​​​Rating out of 10: 6.5

Not the weekend – or more specifically, end to a weekend – Alex Albon needed. He was sixth on the grid, although it says a lot about his qualifying form that he was happy with a 0.4s deficit to Max Verstappen, but after a first half of the race in which he was sandwiched in the midfield, he then made a glaring unforced error to ruin his chances of points.

He may have been unhappy with his team for not pitting him for fresh tyres under the Safety Car, but that is not really an excuse for spinning out after being passed by both Kvyat and Perez. Red Bull, after claiming he needed a strong Portimao and Imola to keep his seat, look likely to give Albon at least one more chance to claim his 2021 seat in Turkey before making their decision.
​​​​​​​Rating out of 10: 5.5

Did Not Finish

You have got to feel for George Russell. He was enjoying one of his most complete weekends in F1 and was very well placed for a first point in 10th before his clumsy spin and crash under the Safety Car. It says a lot about Russell’s maturity that he handled the media so honestly afterwards, while it says a lot about his reputation that, on a weekend in which he was tipped as F1’s next big star by Fernando Alonso, he was also given words of encouragement by Lewis Hamilton after this painful DNF.
​​​​​​​Rating out of 10: 7

Max Verstappen said he was having a “lot of fun” during Sunday’s race – probably for the first time since his last real Mercedes challenge at Silverstone – but that party was abruptly ended with a massive tyre puncture and crash when running very nicely in second. It came a few laps after Verstappen’s lunging overtake on Bottas and subsequent “send it” radio call. A shame.
​​​​​​​Rating out of 10: 9

Started 17th. Spun around on the first lap. A lonely race after that. Retired with a “massive headache”. Kevin Magnussen will not miss F1 Sundays like this.
​​​​​​​Rating out of 10: 6

Sourse: skysports.com


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