Lewis Hamilton has won the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix from Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo in a race that came to life in the closing stages.
- Daniel Ricciardo got his second podium in three races and shared a shoey with race winner Lewis Hamilton
- Britain’s George Russell crashed his Williams while driving behind the safety car
- With Lewis Hamilton’s record-extending 93rd Grand Prix victory, Mercedes claimed a record seventh straight Constructors Championship
The win at Italy’s historic Imola circuit meant Mercedes recorded a record seventh straight Constructors Championship and in celebration Hamilton even did a shoey with Ricciardo on the podium.
“Seven-time champs, that is something I am going to be able to tell my grandkids someday,” Hamilton said.
Team principal Toto Wolff said the benchmark was “a super proud moment” before adding that the team would stay hungry.
“As long as we stay motivated then I think we can push it further.”
The race came to life on lap 53 when Max Verstappen suffered a failure at the right rear of his car and spun it into the gravel trap, bringing out a safety car.
When his tyre let go, the Dutchman spun off from a second place he had worked hard to gain from Valtteri Bottas, and as he exited his Red Bull he kicked the offending tyre.
If Verstappen’s frustration was evident, it paled next to that of Williams driver George Russell.
The Briton, still looking for his first points in Formula 1 in a below-par car, was warming up his tyres behind the safety car when he hit the throttle too hard and his care veered sharply left and into the wall.
“I don’t know what to say,” was all Russell could muster over the team radio before sitting next to the wall, punching his leg.
The incidents brought Ricciardo right back into the race.
He had been hampered by a slow Kevin Magnussen after pitting early in the race from fourth position and coming back out behind the slow-going Dane.
Mad dash to the finish
But the safety car saw the Australian move up into third place after Racing Point driver Sergio Perez decided to pit for fresh tyres, relegating himself from third to sixth.
It left Ricciardo behind the two Mercedes cars with the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and the Red Bull of Alex Albon between him and Perez.
The safety car came back in at the end of lap 57 for a sprint to the finish.
While Hamilton and Bottas took their machines off into the distance, it was left to Ricciardo to try and fend off a host of drivers on fresher tyres.
Daniil Kvyat in his AlphaTauri took both Perez and Leclerc from the restart to move up to fourth.
When Perez passed Albon, the young Red Bull driver spun his car, allowing Carlos Sainz to just move past him in his McLaren as an accident beckoned but did not occur.
With Kvyat on his tail and on fresher tyres he opened up DRS on multiple occasions on Ricciardo, his former Red Bull teammate, but the Australian defended his position all the way to the finish line.
The podium was Ricciardo’s second in the last three races.
He celebrated over the team radio as only he could or perhaps would.
“Holy f***ing cheeseballs, that’s another f***ing podium,” Ricciardo screamed.
He was more eloquent after the race in his interview.
“It was a bizarre one, I got into fourth at the start and I thought that was the best we could do with the three in front,” he told the host broadcaster.
“With the safety car we kept track position. I am not sure what happened with Max but it was fun.”
“He said ‘I won’t get another tattoo,’ but yeah, today I won’t forget the shoey,” Ricciardo said.
Nor did he and he even gave Hamilton one as the pair drank up heartily on the podium.
Hamilton owed a large chunk of his fortune to Ricciardo’s teammate Esteban Ocon.
The Frenchman ended his race on lap 30 with a clutch issue, the rear of the car smoking after he pulled over.
His incident caused a virtual safety car, which gave a pitting Hamilton a significant time advantage over teammate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, both of whom he was behind when they pitted.
One person who was less than happy with the result was Perez, who lamented his team’s decision to pit him for fresh tyres, theoretically costing him a podium.
“It didn’t make sense, the call was made very late,” Perez said.
“It’s just a painful, painful day, because we had the position for the podium.”