F1 2020 Emilia Romagna GP Preview

Lewis Hamilton is now the driver that has won the most Grands Prix in Formula 1 history. The six-time world champion surpassed Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 victories, after the Brit won the Portuguese GP last weekend.

In the second half of a back-to-back pair of race, F1 heads to Imola for the first time since 2006. This is the inaugural Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix and the last of three GPs in Italy in 2020.

Track Guide

Formula 1 has changed a lot in the 14 years since we last visited the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari. Imola’s layout has also been altered slightly too, the chicane at the Variante Bassa is now gone, to make the circuit even more flowing.

Imola is very high-speed, the drivers will be topping 200 mph at several points around the lap. Passing won’t be easy, though, like Monza, most cars will likely run low wing angles to aid their qualifying performance.

The main overtaking spot will be into the first braking zone at the Variante Tamburello. The exit that drivers get out of the Rivazza will be crucial to both attack and defence, as the slipstream will tow the car behind along.

Like Portimao, there’s plenty of elevation changes around the lap, with the middle sector in particular being a roller coaster ride. Unlike some of the recent races though, there won’t be any fans here this weekend.

Last Time Out

Last week’s race was brilliant and the weather definitely played a role. Despite a Mercedes front row lockout, Carlos Sainz led in the early stages thanks to the damp conditions.

Valtteri Bottas soon re-took the lead once his Pirellis were up to temperature. Hamilton soon followed through, before hunting down his Finnish teammate.

Hamilton would surge past on Lap 20, before building a 25-second lead before the finish. To add insult to Bottas’ injury, Hamilton would reveal that he was suffering with cramp in his legs during the race.

Hamilton’s lead is now extended to 77 points, over three wins, with just five races remainign this season. Max Verstappen earned another podium in third, with Charles Leclerc an excellent P4 after substaintial upgrades to his Ferrari.

Pierre Gasly was a fantastic P5, Sainz ended up P6, with Sergio Perez recovering from first lap contact with Verstappen to finish seventh. The Renaults of Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo were P8 and 9, respectively.

Sebastian Vettel earned a point for P10, but it was another dismal performance by the German.

Magnificent Seven

Lewis Hamilton has already surpassed one Schumacher record and he can match another this season. He can’t win a record-equalling seventh driver’s world title this weekend, though.

A ninth win in thirteen races so far in 2020 will go a long way to securing the title in Turkey in two weeks, however. If Lewis wins at Imola, then out-scores Bottas in Istanbul, he will win a seventh driver’s championship.

Mercedes are also closing in on a record of their own. A seventh constructor’s championship would break Ferrari’s all-time record streak.

To do this, the Black Arrows need to out-score Red Bull by 12 points this weekend. With Alex Albon’s poor form, that’s very likely barring mechanical issues.

Session Times

There’s no running on Friday, just one practice session on the Firday.

Practice: 31 Oct 09:00 – 10:30 (5-6:30 AM EST)
Qualifying: 31 Oct 13:00 – 14:00 (9-10 AM EST)
Race: 01 Nov 12:10 – 14:10 (7:10-9:10 AM EST)

All times in BST/GMT, unless stated otherwise.

Grid Talk Podcast

Want more content to preview your Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend? Host Louis Edwards with panelists Owain Medford and Garry Sloan stared in Grid Talk’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prixview.

Video and audio versions of the show are linked below:

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