2020 Emilia Romagna Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Now it's a race to get the crucial 15 races in before the pandemic surge overwhelms and completely shuts down countries planning to host a race.
EVENT: Imola brings out a lot of emotions, both good and bad, even without the fans.
TRACK: Yeah, it's old style. Yeah, it's fun to drive. But, we all knew it was not going to be easy to pass ... at all.
QUALIFYING: Same old story at Ferrari -- Leclerc makes it to Q3, Vettel does not make it out of Q2, and Russell in a Williams outqualifies Vettel; meanwhile Mercedes remains perfect with Bottas taking it this time, Gasly is exceptional, Ricciardo is strong, Albon not so much, and Racing Point disappoints.
RACE: This was going to be a race of strategy, and it was interesting in that regard, the dunderheads at Racing Point notwithstanding.
START: Bottas is solid, Verstappen is outstanding, Hamilton is somehow not good enough, Ricciardo jumps Gasly, Stroll is clipped, and Magnussen is knocked into a spin by Vettel.
HAMILTON: Yeah, Lewis got lucky with the timing of the virtual safety car. But, it sure looked like he would eventually be able to come out ahead of Bottas under normal circumstances. And even if he didn't he would have been close enough to pass his wounded teammmate.
BOTTAS: Can't really put this one on Valterri, but on that big red part stuck in his bargeboard.
MERCEDES: They now sit on top for the most consecutive constructors' titles with seven, followed by Ferrari (6), McLaren and Red Bull (4), and Williams (3).
RICCIARDO: He knows he was lucky. But Daniel is smiling anyway.
OCON: Esteban, not so much.
RENAULT: How much closer can this fight for third place be? Renault now leads both Racing Point and McLaren by just one point.
KVYAT: Well, look who's in fourth? Just when Daniil essentially found out he's not going to be back next year.
GASLY: A crushing DNF when it was looking so good.
ALPHATAURI: Soon to be the best Italian team...?
LECLERC: Another top five finish for Charles.
VETTEL: We can't beat on Sebastian too much this time as the terrible pit stop hindered him greatly.
PEREZ: On a track so difficult to pass -- as Ricciardo proved with ancient tires -- it was never going to be a good thing to pull Sergio in for new tires during the very late full course yellow.
STROLL: Another cruddy weekend.
RACING POINT: The masters at throwing away points.
SAINZ: Wow, that was close.
RAIKKONEN: Another long opening stint, which if it was just a tiny bit longer, could have provided even better results from the only current F1 driver who drove F1 in Imola before now.
GIOVINAZZI: Another great start by Antonio, going from last to 14th.
VERSTAPPEN: Max will probably knock Italy off any unnecessary travel destinations. He has failed to finish in all three Italian races this year.
ALBON: It appears Alexander will have to start counting down the races in a Red Bull.
RED BULL: The fastest crew in F1, whether in the garage or on pit lane.
RUSSELL: A real bonehead mistake. George knows it.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Debris.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 7.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: This is only the second time a country has hosted three grands prix. The other country was the United States in 1982 (Long Beach, Detroit, and Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas). It was slated to happen again in 1983. Long Beach and Detroit were held again. A third American race was scheduled for September 25 at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, NYC. However, local protests nixed the race late in the year, and the hastily assembled European GP at Brands Hatch replaced it.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: AlphaTauri tweeted after Gasly's retirement what anyone involved in racing knows all too well, "Racing sucks sometimes."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Daniel Ricciardo on his podium finish, "Holy mac 'n' cheese balls."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: AlphaTauri emphatically telling Pierre Gasly what he needs to do, "There is no option. There is no option. If we don't retire now, we will blow everything up."
SCHEDULE: Back to another "long lost" track as the circus heads to Istanbul.
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