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Emilia Romagna GP: Racing returns to Imola for a shortened race weekend

30/10/20

It will be the first visit from F1® since 2006.

Lewis Hamilton made Formula 1® history last weekend with a 92nd race win and the Mercedes driver can match another record at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Michael Schumacher won 72 Grands Prix during his time with Ferrari, and six-time world champion Hamilton can reach the tally for the Silver Arrows if he wins at Imola.

The track is back on the calendar for the first time since 2006, though no fans will be able to attend due to a spike in coronavirus cases in Italy.

After his dominant victory at the Portuguese Grand Prix, Hamilton has won nine times this season as he closes in matching Schumacher's haul of seven F1® world titles.

We preview a race which starts at 11:10pm AEDT.

LAST TIME OUT

It was a landmark win for Hamilton in Portugal, as the Briton surpassed Schumacher's record of 91 F1® victories.

Hamilton started on pole, but slipped to third place on the second lap before coasting to yet another victory ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

The 35-year-old leads the championship by 77 points and it is surely only a matter of time before he wraps up a fourth straight world title.

Alex Albon had been challenged by Christian Horner to make an impact in the Algarve, but the Red Bull driver got off to a slow start and never looked likely to challenge for points, ultimately finishing in 12th.

Carlos Sainz faded after a strong start, while Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel finished fourth and 10th respectively.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR AT IMOLA

All eyes will of course be on Hamilton, but Bottas will be looking to gain some of the limelight.

Bottas is 17 points ahead of Verstappen, and the pair might have to battle it out for second place with Hamilton riding on the crest of a wave.

If Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen finish on the podium at Imola, it will be the second-most repeated top-three in F1® history, behind a top three of Hamilton, Vettel and Nico Rosberg.

Albon will need to start mounting a response to his poor form if he is to cling onto his Red Bull seat next season, while Ferrari's Leclerc has not finished on the podium since the British Grand Prix at the start of August.

TOP FIVE STATS

Senna's legacy lives on – Ayrton Senna died in an accident at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. The legendary Brazilian took eight pole positions at Imola, more than any other driver at the Italian circuit.

Seven up for Mercedes – Mercedes are 12 points away from claiming the world F1® team championship for a seventh consecutive year, the best run for a team in F1®.

History maker – This will be the 32nd different grand prix for Hamilton, who has won more races (27) and taken more pole positions (27) at different Grands Prix than any other driver.

Bottas' conversion issues continue – Bottas has claimed 14 poles in total, yet he has won just won five races after starting at the top of the grid.

Vettel's qualification woe – Vettel has failed to reach Q3 in the last eight qualifying sessions – the worst run in his F1® career. The four-time world champion has gone 15 consecutive races without reaching the podium.

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
Drivers
  1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 256
  2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 179
  3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 162
  4. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) – 80
  5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 75

Constructors

  1. Mercedes – 435
  2. Red Bull – 226
  3. Racing Point – 126
  4. McLaren – 124
  5. Renault – 120