This is the second part of a two-part report into the ninth round of the 2020 F1 World Championship. Missed the first part? Read it here.
Now with only 12 cars left, a points finish is on everyone’s mind, especially Williams’s George Russell who is yet to finish higher than 11th this season. He started the third standing start of the race in 9th but drops to 12th. Ricciardo accelerates to 200 km/hour in just 4.4 seconds to claim 2nd position from Hamilton but loses it on the next lap, a wise decision as the Mercedes is clearly faster and not worth a tangle with.
Räikkönen is handed a 5 second time penalty for crossing the line at the pit entry, basically meaning he decided too late to come into the pits so entered the wrong side of the line. A risk I would have taken as the SC symbol just flashed up after Stroll’s crash and he probably would have lost more time if he had waited another lap to pit. Currently in 8th, he needed to pull away so that this time penalty doesn’t drop him out of the points.
On lap 51, Albon overtakes Ricciardo for 3rd and soon gains a 2 second gap. It’s disappointing for Renault who have not been on the podium since their return to F1 in 2016 but great for Albon who has been pipped at the post the two previous times he’s run in 3rd.
Hamilton crosses the line to take his 90th F1 Grand Prix win, Bottas comes in second and Albon claims his first podium finishing position. Ricciardo finished 4th, a sterling effort from the Oz. Perez and Norris battled to the line for 5th and 6th while Kvyat’s unremarkable race got him 7th place. Räikkönen’s time penalty dropped him to 9th with Leclerc gaining a position because of this. Vettel secured the final championship point. Russell and Grosjean finished pointless once again.
This race was full of excitement, even if the first 10 laps only consisted of two corners of green light racing. The sheer danger of a safety car restart at this track should have been noted as similar incidents occurred in the preceding Formula 2 and Formula 3 races this weekend, but the main takeaway is that all the drivers are safe and well.
Albon finally got his step on the podium after tangling with Hamilton at two previous races when in contention for a 3rd place finish and his grateful radio message to team boss, Christian Horner, was touching.
Ferrari actually managed a points finish at their 1000th Grand Prix; probably not quite the feat they thought they’d be wishing for but after the number of collisions this weekend, they were lucky to have stayed clear. The marshals also celebrated Ferrari’s accomplishment with four red flags throughout this weekend, however unplanned it may have been!
Holly’s driver of the day…and loser
Ricciardo is my driver of the day. He started in 8th and climbed up to 4th, so close to a podium finish for Renault. I think he drove smart, like always, and managed to stay clear of the many accidents. Cyril Abiteboul, managing director of the Renault F1 team, must be feeling bitter sweet at the 4th place finish as a podium would have been great for the team but he had a pact with Ricciardo that if they finished on the podium this season, he would get a tattoo of Ricciardo’s choice.
Bottas is my loser of the day. He made a great start and stormed past Hamilton but couldn’t repeat the act on restart two or three meaning he could never close in on a win at Mugello.