What the teams said – Race day in Emilia Romagna
Bottas led from the off but his race was marred by running over some debris on the second lap. He pitted early as did Verstappen in P2, and that released Hamilton to go on a race-winning fastest lap rampage. He built enough of a gap to put the pressure on those two before a VSC period guaranteed him the lead after his pit stop. From there the reigning world champion comfortably drove away for a third-straight victory which helped the team secure a record seventh-straight constructors’ title. Bottas played his part, coming home second but sees his chances of challenging in the drivers’ championship take a further big hit.
Lewis Hamilton, 1st
"It's very overwhelming right now. I look at this team and think of everyone back at Brackley and Brixworth, they are the unsung heroes. They are the ones grafting away, never giving up, continuing to push, elevate and innovate. A big congratulations to the team on a hugely deserved Constructors' title. I'm forever grateful to everyone and so, so proud to be a part of it. To come back year on year and deliver such great performance is absolutely unbelievable. Seven-time champions - that's something I'm going to be able to tell my grandchildren one day. No team has ever achieved this and I feel honoured to be a part of breaking this record.
"A big, big thank you to the entire Mercedes family, to PETRONAS and all of our partners, because we wouldn't be able to do what we do without them. The race itself was an exhausting one, particularly with the speeds that we are experiencing around this track. I had a tricky start but extended the stint and managed to fight back to the front. It feels fantastic to clinch the title today at Imola in style with a 1-2."
Valtteri Bottas, 2nd
"A massive congratulations to the team on winning the constructors' championship! I'm really proud to be a part of this team and thankful for everyone's hard work and dedication. It's well deserved and I'm really happy for everyone at the track, Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart. This team keeps pushing and raising the bar and it's inspiring to work with such a dedicated and driven group.
"Obviously, it was a tough race for me today. The start was really good but then on lap two, out of Turn 7, there was some debris on the track. I didn't have time to avoid it, so I aimed for the middle of the car, trying not to run over the debris with the tyres. But it caused some damage and got stuck on the car somehow, which made the car really tricky to drive and also cost a chunk of performance. I was trying as hard as I could to keep Max behind me and had to push over my limits, which led to some mistakes. It was a bit of an unlucky day for me after such a promising start, but it's still good to pick up another podium and play my part in the Constructors' title win."
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"This is an unbelievable moment, this afternoon feels like a culmination of everything. This has been an unusual season in so many ways and it makes me very proud that we've been able to achieve this. Lots of blood, sweat and tears went into this behind closed doors, a lot of people have made great sacrifices to achieve this, so a massive thank you to everyone in the team, here at the track and back at home in Brixwoth and Brackely. We have an amazing group of people that keeps pushing and raising the benchmark to new levels, but what stands out the most is the comradery in this team and the right values at the core of it.
"A big thanks as well to everyone at Mercedes for the continuous support and their trust in this team - when I think of the support we have in Germany, it just puts a smile on my face. Thank you as well to everyone at PETRONAS - we could not have done this without you! PETRONAS played a big role in this achievement; they've been with us since Day 1 and we're very proud to represent them on the track. I don't know where this team will go next, but I'm excited to see what the future holds for this inspiring group of people, that is still motivated and energised and wants to set the bar even higher."
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
"Well done to the whole team, everyone in Brackley and Brixworth on the 7th double, it's just amazing and so nice to do it with a 1-2 finish although it's not sunk it yet. The race wasn't easy, Valtteri picked up someone's barge board on lap two which got jammed in our bargeboard area and was pretty disastrous for the aerodynamic performance. His pace was impressive considering and he was managing the stint well but he couldn't pull away from Max by more than just enough to just protect the undercut. When Max stopped we had to cover with Valtteri and had a go at pulling the part out but we couldn't afford to slow the stop down and had to send the car with it still jammed in there.
"Lewis stayed out and was doing a good job on the older tyres, working his way through backmarkers and trying to get the pit window to Max and Valtteri. We then had the VSC which worked in Lewis's favour and he was able to stop comfortably into the lead. Valtteri had his work cut out trying to defend against Max but on the Hard tyre it was tricky and eventually he lost the position.
"Later in the stint, we were monitoring a bit of vibration on Lewis's tyres when Max had his puncture 12 laps from the end; given that we had free stops we were going to come in on a safety car. The timing was not great for Lewis, he'd just passed the pit entry when it was called so he was stuck behind it for the lap. With Valtteri we got him in and finally managed to remove the competitor's part that had been holding him back all race. We made the call to stop Lewis anyway, even though it risked the win we were concerned the vibrations would grow and amazingly he just managed to hold onto the lead. From there it was just a case of counting the laps to the finish but it was great to get both over the line and secure both championships for Mercedes with a first and second."
Markus Schafer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research, COO Mercedes-Benz Cars and Non-Executive Chairman at the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
"Huge congratulations to the entire Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team! Setting a new world record with seven consecutive constructors' championships is an amazing achievement - one that goes far beyond our boldest dreams when we embarked on this journey ten years ago. Thank you to every single member of the team in Brixworth and Brackley for your passion, your determination and your continuous hard work. Our Mercedes-AMG works team has truly earned its place in the history books of Formula One this year. They've built a car that is already considered to be one of the best F1 cars ever created, highlighting how we're constantly trying to push the boundaries of innovation at Mercedes - on the track and on the road.
"A special thanks to the team at Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains who have developed the best hybrid engine in motorsport, powering us to this historic success. But it's not only the technical and sporting achievements that are remarkable. Our F1 team has risen to many challenges this year, showcasing the values that are at the core of this inspiring group. When the F1 season was interrupted at the start of the year, they produced 10,000 breathing aids to help in the fight against COVID-19. And when the F1 season continued, our team returned to the track with renewed purpose, taking a clear stance against racism and discrimination and challenging itself and the sport to become more diverse and inclusive. Our F1 team is also pioneering sustainability in the sport and will achieve a net-zero carbon footprint this year. This has been a challenging season in every aspect, but we have seen what champions are truly made of. In the name of the entire Mercedes family: Great job - we're very proud to have you in our team!"
A day that promised so much and delivered so little. Verstappen was in the hunt from the off, sweeping past Hamilton at the start and pressuring Bottas. He eventually overtook the Finn on track in a bold move for P2 after Hamilton had jumped them both using the VSC period. But unfortunately, the Dutchman couldn’t bring his RB16 home – a suspected tyre failure caused by debris pitching him into the gravel late on. As for Albon, he dropped a place at the start but looked assured of some points at least. But the Thai driver spun at the Safety Car restart on older tyres and dropped to the back of the field.
Max Verstappen, DNF
“I had a good start and was enjoying fighting and staying with both Mercedes cars. I had a good start and got past Lewis, I pitted early to trigger the pit stops and Valtteri followed, but he had damage and started holding us up after the stop so we lost a lot of time to Lewis who was in clean air. Once I got past him, the pace was there and the car felt good. I was actually having a lot of fun and then suddenly on the straight I lost the car because of some sort of tyre failure, so it’s a big shame because it would’ve been very nice to have second place and another podium. It is what it is and to score zero points is obviously not what you want but overall the race itself was very positive.”
Alex Albon, 15th
“Finishing last didn't show what really happened throughout the race, it was tricky out there and it was one of those races where we spent lots of time behind other cars in a train. I don't really know what happened at the restart yet. The tyres were cold and I had to push hard to try and stay ahead of the cars who had pitted under the Safety Car, which caused the spin, but it also felt like I may have got clipped but I'm not sure. It all just happened so quickly. In hindsight maybe we could have done something different, it was a difficult one, if we pitted for softs like the other cars did towards the end of the race then we could have seen a much better result. Obviously, it's not what we wanted but I'm going to focus on Turkey now and take the positives from how the car felt and an improved Saturday."
Christian Horner, Team Principal
“We’ve had three races in Italy this year and three DNFs for Max so it’s not been kind to him. Max got a very good start, getting ahead of Lewis and it was a game of chess in the first stint being sandwiched between the two Mercedes cars, seeing who would pit first. It became apparent that Valtteri had damage and after the stops Max was right on him. Max waited for his moment patiently and passed him on the main straight. He then pulled away from Valtteri and was on track for second place until his tyre let go, possibly due to some debris, which ended his race. It’s very frustrating, especially as today we felt we had pretty strong pace, so it’s annoying not to get second with Max. For Alex, it’s a difficult one because he was in a race with Charles and Daniel all afternoon, stuck in a bit of a train, and then at the restart he tried to cover the cars behind who’d just had a free stop for new tyres under the safety car, and he lost it at the second chicane. It’s incredibly unfortunate to come away from this weekend with zero points but we’ll build back up for Turkey, a track we had good success at last time out. Congratulations to Mercedes and Toto for achieving seven consecutive constructors’ championships, an amazing achievement and we certainly hope to be able to give them more of a challenge next year.”
More mechanical woes befell Ocon, who pulled over midway through with a suspected gearbox issue for his fourth DNF of the year. Ricciardo at least restored some smiles in the Renault garage with a spirited display. He kept a calm head after Perez jumped him in the pit stop period, put in some tidy laps and found himself fourth when Racing Point pitted the Mexican. Promoted to an unlikely third, the Aussie absorbed all the pressure that came from freshly-shod runners behind him to secure his second podium in three races. And this time, he remembered to do his infamous shoey.
Daniel Ricciardo, 3rd
“Two podiums in three races! I’m very happy and I didn’t forget to do the ‘shoey’ this time around! We were pretty settled in fifth but then Max triggered the Safety Car. It was the right thing to stay out, especially after Perez pitted. It is pretty difficult to overtake here and it was worth the risk today: it paid off. It’s a shame about Esteban as the car was strong today. The result here means we get into third in the championship, which is what the team is aiming for. I’m super happy to come away from Imola with a great podium: big thanks for everyone at the team. No second tattoo this time round though, I think Cyril’s suffered enough!”
Esteban Ocon, DNF
“It was a tough weekend overall, with a succession of bad luck this weekend. We had a few issues this afternoon. We had a tear off in the brake duct, which meant that we pitted early to take it off and then we had a gearbox problem. Nonetheless I’m very happy for the team today for this podium again, well done to Daniel. This is very positive for the team, we are coming strong and it bodes well for the rest of the season and months to come. We are third in the championship now; we knew this is what we are fighting for so it’s good to be ending the weekend like this.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal
“I’d like to start by apologising to Esteban as it was another retirement due to a technical issue. He was not far off yesterday and had a decent start to be in the mix despite the early stop to remove the tear off from his ducts. He then suffered from an issue that caused some trouble with his gearbox and he had to retire. It’s a shame as Daniel has shown that when the car is working there is pace and competitiveness. Once again, the race went our way: it looked like we were up for P5 as Perez could benefit from his start on medium tyres and we were going to settle for that, but Verstappen’s retirement opened things up. Our strategy team made the bold decision not to stop again, assuming that we had enough life and pace to contain the threat from behind. It was very brave, but it paid off thanks to a fantastic drive from Daniel. With his engineers he managed to keep the exact tyre temperature required during the long safety car and then managed an amazing last few laps to get to the end and give us another podium. We are now third in the championship and need to own it and focus on the weekends that will come very quickly. Finally, I would also like to offer my congratulations to Mercedes on their seventh World Championship; it’s a phenomenal achievement, one that will continue to inspire us for all the work still ahead.”
Fourth always looked on the cards today, but the team might not have expected it to be Kvyat who came home in that excellent position. Gasly’s car was being worked on as it sat on the grid and those gremlins were deemed terminal in the early stages of the race when the Frenchman was told to retire or risk a PU failure. That was sad end to what had been looking like a strong weekend for him, but Kvyat was there to pick up the pieces. Running in the top 10, the team pitted him under the Safety Car and he made the best use of his fresh tyres to overtake Perez and Leclerc and nearly pip Ricciardo for the podium spot.
Pierre Gasly, DNF
“This one is quite difficult to take. I had a great start and tried to go alongside Lewis, but he decided to close the door quite hard and I had to back off and lost one position to Daniel, but after that, I felt really good in the car and we were running in P5. The guys spotted a drop of water pressure on the laps to the grid before the race, they tried everything to fix it but unfortunately, we had to retire the car after a few laps. It’s very sad because there was a big opportunity for us today. The whole weekend went so well, it was the best practice and the best qualifying we’ve had and the car felt very strong from the beginning. It’s never nice to retire, but it’s especially tough here in Imola for our home race, because we knew there was a potential top-five result on the table.”
Daniil Kvyat, 4th
“It was a very good and fun race, the car felt amazing and I really enjoyed myself out there! The Safety Car restart was very important, and I managed to overtake a few cars on that lap. Unfortunately, Daniel managed to warm up his tyres so even if I pushed very hard until the end to overtake him, I just missed out on the final podium spot. It’s a shame but I’m still very satisfied with my driving and happy with the team’s job. We recovered small points to Ferrari in the constructors' championship, so I hope we can give them a little fight until the end.”
Jody Egginton, Technical Director
“After today's race, we can probably still say we like the two-day GP format! The race certainly came alive in the closing stages, with the safety car allowing us to roll the dice with the strategy and get Daniil onto some fresh tyres for the final laps. This allowed him to attack at the restart, which worked out very well with him making some strong passes and taking him so close to a podium today. On the flip side, unfortunately, we had to retire Pierre’s car from the race early on, which meant we were not able to take what would have almost certainly been a very strong points finish today with him. This is sometimes how it goes, and we will now focus on the next race, pushing to take our current strong form into the remaining events of the season.”
Franz Tost, Team Principal
“It was a fantastic feeling to be here in Imola at our home track. We enjoyed yesterday’s qualifying, as it was our most successful one this season so far, finishing P4 with Pierre and P8 with Daniil. Both of them had a good start to the race. Pierre got blocked by Hamilton before the first corner so Ricciardo was able to overtake him, which put Pierre back into fifth. Unfortunately, a radiator failure put a stop to his race. It’s a shame as I’m sure he could have achieved a very good result today.
"As for Daniil, he had a good race today, he spent quite a while in eighth position until we decided to bring him in on lap 14 while he was in sixth, to put him on the Base tyre. From then on, he did very fast lap times and was one of the fastest on track. He was able to control Sainz quite well and he was closing the gap to Albon. On lap 55, the Safety Car was deployed and we decided to bring him in for the option tyre, which was a fantastic decision from the strategy group because this allowed Daniil to overtake Perez and Albon immediately before the first corner, followed by Leclerc a few corners later.
"At that stage, Daniil was in P4, but unfortunately, the race finished too early - he would have needed another couple of laps to overtake Ricciardo. Nevertheless, fourth is the best race result for Daniil this year, and the team showed a very good performance in both Qualifying and the race. I think we are well prepared for the remaining races of the season and we’re looking forward to going to Istanbul to continue our momentum.”
Leclerc was running strongly in the points all afternoon, and was unlucky to be pipped to fourth by Kvyat after the team opted to leave the Monegasque on the older tyres in the Safety Car period. That left him vulnerable to fresher-tyred cars and he was fortunate to keep Perez behind at the flag. As for Vettel, he had contact at the start with Magnussena but a very long first stint on the mediums looked to have lifted him into the fight for the points. On a day where he couldn't buy any luck, his race was ruined by a lengthy pit stop, from which he lost too much time to compete.
Sebastian Vettel, 12th
"We started on the medium, which was the right thing to do as it was still working very well, even after a good amount of laps. Today the pace was good in the first stint, then we lost time in the pit stop, which is a shame. We tried to come back with the soft tyre at the end, but it was very difficult to make progress in a train of cars. This is clearly not the result we wanted and for sure not the one we would have deserved today.
"I was comfortable in the car even if this year the problem is more severe in qualifying, where I struggle to get a feel for the car. We have to remain patient and continue to make gradual progress, as we have been doing, given that we missed Q3 by just two tenths yesterday. If we can start from a bit higher up the grid, the next races could bring us better results."
Charles Leclerc, 5th
"P5 feels quite good today, I think we did the maximum. We expected a very difficult first stint, but in fact, we were quite competitive. Then we switched to the Hard and we were probably a tiny bit quicker than Daniel (Ricciardo) in front, but not enough to overtake, so we were stuck behind him. Then, at the restart after the safety car I struggled more than Daniil (Kvyat), who was coming up behind me on new tyres.
"I was really pushing from the beginning to the end and I feel we were quite competitive during the whole race. Also, we did a good job in managing our tyres."
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal
"It’s clear to see that we are consolidating the progress we have made in recent races, especially in terms of race pace at a variety of tracks with very different characteristics. That’s important for the rest of this season and for the next one. Once again, Charles did a very good job, both in managing the tyres and when it came to defending position in the closing stages. Seb also had a strong race and we are very sorry for the problem at the pit stop that robbed him of a top 10 finish, thus losing the chance to pick up valuable points.
"Finally, I wish to congratulate Mercedes for winning the constructors’ championship. We know we have a very long way to go to be fighting once again for those same goals, something we have achieved so often in our history, but we firmly believe we can do it."
It was an eventful day down at Racing Point. Perez had a solid start, ran a long first stint and was rewarded by jumping his midfield rivals in the first round of pit stops. Fourth was looking impressive enough, but he then inherited third and a podium position when Verstappen retired. But as the Safety Car was announced the team took the decision to pit the Mexican, losing him a handful of places and track position. He ran out of laps to recover despite having that fresher rubber. As for Stroll, he tangled with Ocon at the start and lost his front wing. Dropping to last he had a tough afternoon which included three pit stops, one of which saw his mechanic take avoiding action when the Canadian came in to the box a bit on the quick side. He has now failed to score for the last five races...
Sergio Perez, 6th
“It was clear that today we had the podium in our pocket and I’m disappointed we missed out. It’s easy to be critical with the benefit of hindsight, but ultimately we should have tried staying out and keeping track position. However, I don’t want to be critical of my team; the important thing is that we learn the lesson for next time. We still put in a great performance to go from P11 and into P6 to score some really strong points. It was clear in the race that it was very tough to overtake and we still managed to improve with a tremendous first stint on the medium tyres – and it was a good decision to pit when we did [on lap 27] to gain three places. It was very close to being the perfect race for us today. We will keep pushing and we’re looking forward to returning to Turkey next time out.”
Lance Stroll, 13th
“It was a really difficult day out there. The contact with Esteban [Ocon] on the first lap really ruined my race and I had significant damage to the front wing. It's a shame because I was able to make up a couple of places at the start. After the contact, we came in at the end of the first lap and switched to the hard tyre, but we knew that without a really disrupted race, it was going to be tough to make up many places because it’s so hard to overtake here. At the final pit stop, I had really cold brakes and that meant I overshot the pit box. I’m really glad to hear that my mechanic is okay – that’s the most important thing. There’s not a lot of positives to take from today, so onwards and upwards now. I’ll work hard to turn the corner in Turkey.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal & CEO
“A challenging afternoon that didn’t end quite as we had hoped, despite scoring eight important points. Sergio was well placed to finish on the podium after Max [Verstappen] retired, but, with the benefit of hindsight, we shouldn’t have pitted and instead tried staying out on the hard tyre. We chose to pit because we were concerned it would be difficult to switch on the hard tyres after the Safety Car. Those cars behind could do the opposite and were able to stay out on their very old tyres, gaining track position. Unfortunately, George Russell’s crash resulted in an extended Safety Car and gave Sergio even less laps to use his tyre advantage. In the end, he had to settle for sixth place. For Lance, his race was pretty much over on Lap One after the contact with Ocon, which broke the front wing. He had to pit and was playing catch up all afternoon, which made it difficult to score points.”
Sainz pulled off one of the moves of the day, made even more impressive by the fact it was on his team mate. Those two kept their fight clean but once the Spaniard was ahead, Norris couldn’t find sufficient grip to fight back. From there they lapped in formation for the rest of the afternoon, to bring home a solid double points finish with the only drama coming when Sainz nearly collected a spinning Albon at the Safety Car restart. The two barely touched and the Spaniard was able to continue to win the intra-team battle today.
Carlos Sainz, 7th
“It’s been a decent and well-executed race for the team. We moved up three positions, the boys did good pit stops, we stayed out of trouble and pace-wise I felt like we were a bit faster than the cars ahead. However, overtaking was extremely difficult and I couldn’t move up the order as much as I obviously wanted.
“I had a big moment at the restart when Albon spun right in front me. I had to stamp on the brakes and then defend from the cars behind. I managed to save it and bring the car home seventh. With both cars in the top 10, we scored good points to keep in the fight for the championship, but we need to keep improving because it keeps getting tighter and tighter.”
Lando Norris, 8th
“There wasn’t a lot we could do today. We couldn’t overtake, but neither could a lot of the field, even after the Safety Car. We just didn’t have a big enough pace advantage to pass the cars in front. Even if you’re three or four tenths quicker, you just get stuck behind. They only have to defend into Turn 1 and then they’re safe for the rest of the lap. It became a race of trying to defend our position.
“Saying that, I don’t think we should be too disappointed. We still have a lot of pace, we’ve just been unlucky recently. We need to make sure it goes our way in the final few races and that’s what we’ll try and do.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal
“This was a challenging afternoon for us – but a big thank you to the entire team and the drivers for fighting hard, getting both cars home in the points and delivering 10 vital points in our constructors’ championship battle.
“Our race was compromised by our qualifying positions, which caused us to be stuck in traffic for the entire race today. Before heading to Turkey, we’ll go home and spend the next 10 days looking at every detail of how we can extract more pace from the car – particularly on Saturday. Congratulations to Mercedes for a seventh consecutive constructors’ title. They are the benchmark the rest of F1 must strive to emulate.”
Alfa proved themselves adapt at playing the strategic game today, with both drivers benefitting from very different strategies. Giovinazzi started on the soft tyres which catapulted him from P20 to 14th on the first lap, and despite an early pit stop always looked like being in the thick of the action. Raikkonen by contrast ran the longest first stint of the field and was running as high as fourth when he pitted. He came out just behind Russell but bided his time and rewarded when others made mistakes. Likewise, Giovinazzi patiently moved forward in the closing laps to score the team their first double-points finish of the year.
Kimi Raikkonen, 9th
“It was a good result for the team, with two cars in the points, so we can be happy about our race. We knew we could make the tyres last so to run as long as we could was the plan all along. We pitted when we did and the Safety Car came out soon after, which is obviously a bit frustrating, but I don’t know if it would have made much of a difference. In the end, we had good race pace and we were able to be in the right place to gain from the opportunities that arose. We have been closing the gap lately, there’s obviously still much we can improve, but we keep working hard for that.”
Antonio Giovinazzi, 10th
“I am really happy for the team’s result and, of course, for scoring points in my home Grand Prix. It has been a very strong race, especially starting from last place, and finishing in the top ten really was the most we could do. Our strategy was good and climbing six places in the first lap definitely helped. It’s a nice way to celebrate signing a new contract and I am grateful to everyone in the team for today’s race.”
Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal
“The team has delivered a strong performance as a whole. The strategy calls were good, the pit-stops went well and, of course, the drivers executed their races without putting a wheel wrong. Bringing home our first double-points finish of the season is a good reward for our efforts today. There is still a lot of work to do, of course, but we are making progress and we were in the right place to take advantage of how the race unfolded.”
What might have been. The team rolled the dice and left Latifi out for a long first stint who leapfrogged him up the field, with Russell looking racy from the off. They found themselves with two cars on the fringes of the points and Verstappen’s DNF actually promoted Russell to P10. But the youngster lost control on cold tyres behind the Safety Car to slide into the barriers, ending not just his race but his best points scoring opportunity this season. The Canadian did at last see the chequered flag but came home an agonisingly close 11th place.
George Russell, DNF
"I was pushing as hard as I could from lap one, the most aggressive I have ever been. I knew that with the guys behind me on the new tyres and myself on the old tyres, I had to be super aggressive to be in with the chance of getting a point. I came out of the corner and the tyres were too cold and I just lost the car, and I was already in the wall. It is absolutely gutting, and I am really sorry to the team. We were having an amazing race up until then, we were pushing really hard every lap and the pace was good. There are no excuses, I have to go away and learn from this and come back stronger next time."
Nicholas Latifi, 11th
"It was a strong race for me today, especially off the back of a really tough weekend in Portugal. We ran really long in the first stint aiming to have a tyre life advantage at the end. It seemed that the prime tyre was not a great race tyre in terms of how much grip it was giving, and I didn’t really feel any quicker on it. I hoped to capitalise on the second stint but my restart after the safety car was poor. Antonio (Giovinazzi) made a mistake in the chicane on the last lap which gave me DRS. We seemed to have a pretty decent straight-line speed advantage compared to the Alfa Romeos this weekend, so with one more lap maybe I could have got past him for 10th. It is a bit disappointing, but the overall pace today was encouraging."
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
"We need to get home and unpick what happened today. After a good performance yesterday and a decent first lap, we were well placed. We opted to pit George early to attack the cars ahead and this allowed us to undercut Ocon. With Nicholas, we decided to leave him on a longer stint on the medium tyre whilst we allowed the race to unfold and waited for an opportunity. Once Perez got close, we brought him in before we lost time. The late Safety Car caused some chaos in the final laps, bunching the pack back up and allowing several cars to make cheap pitstops for fresh tyres. George stayed out and held track position but unfortunately lost control of the car whilst trying to keep his tyres hot. This extended the Safety Car period further and once Albon went off, elevated Nicholas to his third 11th place finish of the season. He came very close to beating Giovanazzi for the final point scoring position whilst also mounting a robust defence with the Haas. Unfortunately, the race was one lap too short for Nicholas to score the final point.
"Overall, we are very disappointed with the result as we worked extremely well and effectively throughout this weekend and have shown good pace in both qualifying and race trim. Considering how much track time Nicholas lost on Saturday morning, he has had an excellent weekend and showed very good pace and race-craft today. George will be very disappointed with today’s result, but he had good pace and was able to race competitively with the midfield for much of the race. It has been a tiring but rewarding couple of weeks during which we have raced at some superb venues. We will now head home, regroup and prepare for the final races of the season."
Once again, Haas lacked the race pace to truly fight with their rivals. Magnussen ran a long first stint and did some favours for others by holding up the midfield runners behind for a number of laps. His involvement in the race was cut short after complaining of headaches when up-shifting. Grosjean couldn’t catch a break today and was even penalised late on with a time penalty for repeatedly exceeding track limits, which dropped him from 12th at the flag to 14th.
Romain Grosjean, 14th
“It was a long afternoon. We tried and we pushed hard, but we were lacking pace and straight-line speed, so there wasn’t really a chance. I thought we might have had a chance after the Safety Car, but we were losing too much on the straight – I really struggled with that. It’s a good track, we’ve had fun, now it’s on to the next one.”
Kevin Magnussen, DNF
“We had a problem with the gearbox – we had it yesterday as well on my fastest lap in qualifying. The problem came back in the race, it was there from the first lap. I was having slow up-shifts, and not only are they slow, it’s also like a big bang every time you up-shift. It seems okay for a couple of laps but then it starts shaking your head crazily. By the end I just had a massive headache - I told the team. I think they felt there was nothing to fight for, so they boxed me. I mean, I was spun around at the start and that was really the end of it. I lost so much time getting back on track. The pace was really good actually, it was better than we had expected – even with the up-shifts that were costing us around half a second a lap.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“A somewhat frustrating Sunday afternoon, but nothing goes our way it looks like at the moment – not just the moment, it’s been a while actually. Kevin (Magnussen) getting together with Sebastian (Vettel) at Turn 7, well that put him in a place where there’s not a lot to do. But he caught up pretty well in the end. He then had the gearbox issue which we had since after qualifying, but we were not allowed by the FIA to change the sensors without penalty – so that went against us. Romain (Grosjean), well if you start from those positions, you’re just always in dirty air and in trouble with other cars, it’s just always very busy there. We tried different strategies, we at least tried to play, but we couldn’t get them playing as things happened too quick. In the end it was a long frustrating afternoon. There are four more races to go so there’s four more opportunities to score points.”
Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing
"The Safety Car late in the race influenced the strategy heavily: up until then it was looking like one stop for the majority of drivers; also because there is a big pit stop time loss at Imola. Due to some graining seen on the soft, the previously envisaged strategies involving the soft then largely changed in favour of a medium to hard strategy. The medium tyre was chosen by the top two to start the race on, and showed minimal degradation even over very long stints. The hard tyre was also run by many drivers in excess of 40 laps. Obviously we need to look at the medium tyre that had completed 32 laps with Red Bull's Max Verstappen to understand exactly what happened; it seems that some debris on the track could have caused a puncture. Congratulations to Mercedes for clinching their record seventh consecutive manufacturers' championship: once more after an intensely strategic race, where Hamilton was able to take perfect advantage of the Virtual Safety Car."