The 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship has been dominated by the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One team, with the Brackley-based outfit winning thirteen of the seventeen races; Lewis Hamilton winning eleven of those races, Valtteri Bottas won the remaining two. Some have gone as far as to suggest that this will be the fastest car a Formula one team will ever see before the incoming 2022 regulation changes where cars will be slower.
After being told by Toto Wolff to “give it his all” before his qualifying lap on Saturday, Bottas out-qualified team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, by qualifying in second place just 0.025 seconds behind the fastest lap set by Max Verstappen in the third and final segment of qualifying. Hamilton qualified in third, similarly close to Bottas, just 0.062 seconds behind his team-mate and 0.086 seconds behind Verstappen.
Post-race, Bottas, who was pleased with his performance, said: “Congratulations to Max (Verstappen) and Red Bull on the win. They were just too quick today and we couldn’t quite keep up with them. We expected the race pace to be quite equal heading into today, but they were able to really control the pace and build the gap when they needed to. From my side, though, it was a solid race with no mistakes and I think I extracted everything from our package.”
The two Mercedes drivers positions didn’t change throughout the race, Bottas’ second place finish allowed the Finn to confirm his second-place finish in the Driver’s Championship. Hamilton, who had already wrapped up his own driver’s championship, completed the podium coming home in third place. Hamilton would finish the season on 347 points and Bottas 124 points behind finishing on 223 points. The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team finished the season on 573 points in the Constructors’ Championship, 254 points ahead of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing who scored 319 points and finished in second place.
Hamilton, was reasonably positive after the race even though this was one of his lowest finishing positions of the year saying: “Considering the past couple of weeks, I’m really happy with the weekend and to finish on the podium. Obviously, it’s not as good as I’d have liked, but congratulations to Max and Red Bull, they were very quick today and deserved the win. This weekend they were just too far out of reach for us and we couldn’t hold onto the pace they had.”
Team principal Toto Wolff was quick to congratulate Red Bull and outlined the various issues with their car this weekend adding: “First of all, congratulations to Max and Red Bull; they were worthy winners today and the quickest combination this evening.
“Our drivers struggled with understeer all the way through the race, and we were losing a lot of time through Turns 5, 6 and 7 – and then in the final sector as well. We had strong performance on Friday, but then couldn’t carry it through to qualifying or this evening; but as always, we will unpick the learnings and there will be good lessons in there to make us stronger next year.”
Andrew Shovlin, track engineer director at Mercedes, was slightly underwhelmed by the race, and expected them to have more of an advantage than they did commenting: “Well done to Max and Red Bull, they didn’t let us get into the race this evening. He drove a very controlled race, they had the best car and deserved the win. To be honest, we’d expected a bit more from ourselves today; we thought we’d either have a small advantage on pace or be a bit better on degradation, but we didn’t and it was a bit disappointing after a year where we have been strong at almost every track.”