Hamilton capitalizes on opportunity and makes history at Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

AFP

Lewis Hamilton made the most of his luck to lead team-mate Valtteri Bottas home in Sunday's Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix as Mercedes sealed a record seventh consecutive constructors' championship triumph.

The six-time champion capitalised on pole-sitter Bottas’s ill fortune in picking up a debris-damaged floor to win with a near-flawless tactical drive and the fastest lap of a dramatic and incident-filled race at Imola.

Hamilton recovered from a poor start, when he dropped to third, to fight back with a long first stint and the aid of a timely Virtual Safety Car (VSC) intervention to grab the lead on a memorable day for the ‘silver arrows’.  

Daniel Ricciardo finished third for Renault ahead of Daniil Kvyat of Alpha Tauri and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc after Max Verstappen had crashed out of the race in his Red Bull in the closing stages. He was unhurt.

Sergio Perez was sixth for Racing Point, Carlos Sainz finished seventh ahead of his McLaren team-mate Lando Norris and the two Alfa Romeos of Kimi Raikkonen, in his 325th Grand Prix race, and Antonio Giovinazzi.

It was Hamilton’s record-increasing 93rd victory in a race that saw him complete 5000 laps as a race leader. The Mercedes one-two finish also not only secured the teams’ title, but also ensured that a Mercedes driver will take the drivers’ championship.

"That was an exhausting race,” said Hamilton.

"The speed we had to go after a poor start – it’s just overwhelming now because there are so many people in the team who are unsung heroes.

"I’m forever grateful to be a part of it and it always feels like the first time.”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said: “I’m not so much into the numbers, but this is something to be proud of – as long as we can stay energised and motivated, I think we can push it for ever. We are looking forward to a new challenge."