At the Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna, the Mercedes driver was able to get very close to the next record. It will be a special race weekend. The most important questions at a glance.
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Formula 1 is entering its 13th of the 17 laps in the Corona season, the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix (Sunday from 1.10 p.m. in the live ticker on Chillreport) has been moved on the calendar as a replacement race. Imola has hosted first class 27 times, most recently 14 years ago. Winner: Michael Schumacher in his last Ferrari year.
The nearly five-kilometer course is inextricably linked to April 30 and May 1, 1994, when Roland Ratzenberger and three-time world champion Ayrton Senna were killed in serious accidents. Due to the increasing number of corona infections, no spectators are admitted to the comeback of the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari.
What’s special this weekend?
Formula 1 tests a race weekend in a fast process. There is no training on Friday, the drivers only have 90 minutes to warm up before qualifying on Saturday afternoon. As usual, the race takes place on Sunday. However, this format is not a “premiere”: only three weeks ago there was no meter running at the Nürburgring on Fridays either – but involuntarily due to fog. The drivers in the Eifel were delighted with the challenge of finishing their race cars in a considerably shorter time. In fact, nothing changed in the pecking order.
Why is driving in Imola now again?
On the Formula 1 emergency calendar for the Corona season, the Bologna circuit is already the fourth host that was actually not planned for this year. In addition to Mugello, the Nürburgring, Portimão and soon also Istanbul, Imola moved up because many other races had to be canceled. The route was most recently the scene of the Cycling World Championships. Italy seemed to have gotten the corona crisis under control in recent months, but the number of infections there has risen sharply again recently. A travel warning from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs applies to Emilia Romagna.
What is at stake?
The first World Cup decision of the emergency season is imminent. Mercedes has its seventh consecutive manufacturers’ title in sight, that would be the only record. Only Red Bull can postpone the decision again, but Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon should score at least 34 points more than Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas – the Bulls have never managed to do that once this season.
Can Hamilton already become world champion in Imola?
Mathematically, that is not yet possible. The recently only winner of the Formula 1 record with 92 successes enters the fifth of the last race of the season with a 77 points lead over Bottas. Even the maximum yield from victory and fastest race lap for Hamilton and zero points for Bottas would not be enough for one point. The 35-year-old Brit is expected to complete his seventh title, tying the Schumacher record on November 15 at the Turkish Grand Prix.
Finnish old man Kimi Räikkönen (41 / Alfa Romeo) has already driven Formula 1 races in Imola, and the track is actually completely new territory for the teams. But no one should believe this will cause a sensation. So far Mercedes has the best solution for every “unknown” route. Lewis Hamilton in particular rode in a class of his own on the much more demanding circuit in Portimao.
What can Ferrari do?
In the third home race of the Italian racing team in just under two months, it would be a success if the slightly upward trend of the past weeks continues. Charles Leclerc in particular is looking for the unofficial title “Best Of The Rest”, that is to say first place behind Mercedes and Red Bull star Max Verstappen. Sebastian Vettel continues to struggle with his lack of feeling for the SF1000, there should be no more than a few points for the ex-world champion.