Imola (dpa) – A Mercedes will also start from pole position in the 13th round of the Formula 1 season. The Finn Valtteri Bottas secured first place on the grid in Imola for the fourth time this year.
Teammate Lewis Hamilton, who started at the very front nine times, will start the race second this time. For the British World Cup leader, it could be the next step to the seventh World Cup title next Sunday (1.10 p.m. / RTL and Sky).
COVER SERIES: Mercedes can plan the first World Cup party of the year. If everything does not go wrong, the market leader in Imola wins the constructors’ championship for the seventh consecutive time. That would be a record. During the era with Michael Schumacher, Ferrari once managed to win the team championship six times in a row. A fourth place for Bottas or Hamilton would be enough for Mercedes to remove the slightest doubt about the title. “We will just tell the drivers to go full throttle and deliver a tough race – they know everything else themselves,” said team principal Toto Wolff.
CONQUER: No one has won on more Formula 1 circuits than Lewis Hamilton. The Briton was already the first to cross the finish line on 28 courses and Imola could become number 29. Michael Schumacher achieved his 91 victories on 23 different slopes. This year, Hamilton built further on his lead in this statistic when he won the Mugello and Portimao routes, which were added to the program for the first time. Now the 35-year-old wants to use Imola’s comeback after 14 years.
QUÄLEREI: Sebastian Vettel and this Ferrari – it won’t be great love anymore. Again it was only enough for 14th place in qualifying. And because overtaking in Imola is quite difficult, the Hessian must be prepared for another afternoon full of frustration. In addition, there is the suspicion that teammate Charles Leclerc will get the better material from Scuderia. “I recognize the achievement that Charles is bringing at the moment. I feel the most that I can’t get there at the moment,” said Vettel.
REMINDER: The drive through the Tamburello corner is still associated with a dark hour in Formula 1 history. In 1994 Ayrton Senna gave his life here. During these days, many drivers visited the Senna statue in the park near the route and paused at the gate with the fan posters for the Brazilian legend. Pierre Gasly had his helmet specially painted in Senna’s colors – and with fourth place on the grid, he equalized his best result yet. “He was one of my idols, that’s why it was important to me,” said the Frenchman, who recently won an Italian race in Monza.