Formula 1 Emirates Gran Premio Dell’Emilia Romagna. San Marino Imola.
Lap record 1m 20.411s held by M. Schumacher Ferrari (2004).
This circuit held 26 F1 races from 1981-2006 labelled as the San Marino GP. The first on 3rd May 1981 was 60 laps around the 5.040km circuit and was won by N. Piquet driving a Brabham Ford Cosworth V8. The last race on 23rd April 2006 was 62 laps around the 4.933km circuit won by M. Schumacher in a Ferrari V8.
It was acool start to the weekend but it was bright & sunny. Before practice, the drivers were warned about the track limits at turns 9 & 15 and exceeding them will mean having their time deleted. There were a lot of lock-ups, spins, offs and times deleted. especially Alb, the Haas duo were in the mix with some argy-bargy going. Ham, Ver, Bot, Gas & Lec were the top five.
Qualifying was still bright and sunny with another busy session with the 20 drivers looking to get into the next stage. More offs & times deleted. Bot, Ham, Ver, Gas & Ric made up the top five.
Gas had a PU problem on the grid. His mechanics worked frantically to get him underway. Ver got passed Ham. Mag spun off after having a tangle with Vet. Str & Oco touched, with Str having to stop for a new wing. Oco pulled off with a clutch problem VSC for a short while. Ver had a puncture and went off into the gravel causing the safety car to be deployed and the pit lane being very busy. Rus made a mistake following the s/car and spun off into the barrier, restart with 6 laps remaining. There were some good overtaking manoeuvres and some very good exciting close racing moments during the race. Gro was handed a 5 second penalty for exceeding track limits. Ham did it again taking the chequered flag. Bot & Ric joined him on the podium.
It has been announced that Saudi Arabia will host a Grand Prix in November next year making it 23 races on the provisional calendar. The circuit will be around the streets of Jeddah along the banks of the Red Sea and will be a night race. Only 4 of the current drivers have raced at this circuit, Per, Ham, Vet & Räi.
Formula 1 DHL Turkish GP Istanbul.
Lap record 1m 24.770s held by J-P. Montoya McLaren (2005).
This was the 8th GP at this circuit; the first since the 8th of May 2011 and was won by Vet driving in a Red Bull – Renault.
A bright but cool start for practice with Nor celebrating his birthday on Friday. The circuit had been totally resurfaced prior to the weekend and was slightly damp after it was washed overnight which made it very difficult for the drivers, saying it was like driving on ice. Lec ran over a bollard which caused a red flag. Gas tried a bit of off-roading! Sai parked his McLaren at turn 7 causing a short VSC period. There were a lot of lock-ups, spins and offs. In the final 1 hour practice, turn 6 was added to the track limits. Drivers changed to full wet tyres as heavy rain continued. Gio brushed the barrier and broke his front end plate. Ver, Lec, Alb, Oco & Nor were the top five but only 30 laps were completed by the 20 drivers in the hour.
Qualifying was again cloudy with still a very damp track. Gro spun off getting stuck in the gravel – another red flag. Str got his first career pole position withVer, Per, Alb & Ric the top five. It was the worst qualifying position for Ham since Germany 2018 & his first time not on the front row. Penalties for the first time this season: Rus & Gas new PU elements started at the back of the grid; Sai 3 places for impeding Per; Nor & Rus 5 places for not respecting yellow flags.
The weather on Sunday was again cool & overcast and rain fell an hour before the start causing problems for the drivers on their way to the grid. Gio hit the barrier and had to have a new wing fitted on the grid. Both Williams’ drivers had to start from the pit lane. Ric had to avoid Ham clipping Oco who spun off. Bot also spun off taking evasive action. Mag & Räi touched lightly. Ham ran wide allowing Vet & Ver to pass. Gio retired on lap 11 with gearbox gremlins. Vet had another wheel problem in his pit stop, the second time in 2 races, losing him about 3 seconds. Mag stopped in the pit lane with a loose wheel and had to be pushed back to the garage. It was a very exciting race with lots of action and battles throughout the field with some great overtaking manoeuvres, some of which appeared to be dodgy moves making it very entertaining. On the last lap Lec passed Per but off line and locked up allowing Per back through and Vet followed. Ham & Per both gambled with a one stop strategy which paid off. Ham won with Per & Vet joining him on the podium.
Ham equalled the record of Schumi with 7 Driver’s World Championships.