Emilia Romagna F1 GP: Hamilton landmark win earns Mercedes its seventh consecutive title   
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton took his ninth victory of the year, and 93rd of his career, at the Emilia Romagna F1 GP this Sunday at the Enzo e Dino Ferrari Autodrome in Imola (Italy). 

Valtteri Bottas crossed the finish line behind his English teammate followed by Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) for whom this was the second podium in the last three races. 

With this latest 1-2, Mercedes secures its seventh straight Constructors’ title, taking over Ferrari and its six victories during the Michael Schumacher era. 

As for McLaren; Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris finished in seventh and eighth place respectively after an acceptable performance. Red Bull, on the other hand, had a very unfortunate day.

Max Verstappen, who started in third and was running second at one point during the race, had to abandon following a puncture and Alex Albon finished 15th after spinning on the track at the Emilia Romagna F1 GP. 

Bottas holds on to the pole at the start 

Valtteri Bottas has, for once, managed to hold on to his pole position at the start of the race. Lewis Hamilton, on the contrary, gave up second place to a vigilant Max Verstappen during the initial few meters, in what seemed like a role reversal exercise. 

In an attempt to emulate the Dutchman’s move, Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri), ended up losing his fourth place to Daniel Ricciardo (Renault). 

Nine laps later Gasly had to exit the race following a problem with his AT01 when he was running fifth. At the head of the race, Bottas was leading 1.6 seconds ahead of Max, and Hamilton was still third at a similar distance. Ricciardo was running fourth 15 seconds behind at the Emilia Romagna F1 GP.

Bottas goes to pits and Hamilton stays on 

Nineteen laps into the race came one decisive moment. Bottas went to boxes and mounted hard compounds, a move used by Hamilton to perform one of his tricks. 

The #44, decided to delay his pit stop and stay on the track taking the lead with nobody to stop him ahead. Very aware of this precious opportunity, the Briton started to open ground with the rest of the grid. 

The two black arrows were now separated by over 29 seconds. Considering a tire change requires about 27 seconds at Imola, Hamilton was actually 2 seconds from the Finn. 

Bottas strategy fails 

In a move hard to comprehend from the stands, Bottas focused on stopping Verstappen once back on the track from boxes. Hamilton was thus free to fly away at the front while his Scandinavian teammate lost some very valuable time battling with Max.

A few laps later the distance between the two German cars had gone down to one second as a result. Hamilton was hot on the heels of Valtteri as he led the race by 27-28 seconds, just enough time to make his pit-stop and rejoint the track ahead of his partner. 

A virtual safety car changes the race 

Then an incident happened that finished tipping the balance in favour of the six-time-champion. Esteban Ocon was abandoning the race and triggering a virtual safety car.

Hamilton took advantage of the situation and went to pits, returning to the race with a 3,823-second lead over Bottas. The champion from Stevenage had dealt the final blow to his teammate from Nastola. 

Bottas misfortune did not end there, however. Max Verstappen overtook him on lap 43 to take second place at the Emilia Romagna F1 GP. 

Madness follows the safety car 

From that moment on, things started to quiet down with the three leading positions apparently set to remain unchanged. With only nine laps to go, however, the Emilia Romagna GP underwent a 180º turn. 

Verstappen spun off track after his right rear tire blew, forcing him to quit the race and triggering another safety car. 

Before the safety car had a chance to leave the track there was to be yet another incident with George Russell (Williams), who crashed against the barrier when the Briton was on ‘top 10’.

The three leading positions held by Hamilton, Bottas and Ricciardo, however, did not change this time.  

Images of Emilia Romagna F1 GP: F1.com.

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