The cars of both Stroll and Vettel are undergoing some panicked last-minute work from the Aston Martin technicians – as is Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.
It’s all happening, and the race is still 20 minutes away. Lance Stroll is reporting issues with his brakes – it looks like they might have caught fire – while Bottas has a tyre puncture.
And in more immediate news: it’s chucking it down in Imola! The cars are currently ploughing through puddles as they go through their reconnaissance laps.
Valtteri Bottas is blaming his disappointing display yesterday on Technical Difficulties. “First run, I went into turn two and had a really sudden snap from the rear end, and then it really continued through sector one, and I lost a lot of time,” he said. “Actually the same thing [happened] in run two; it was never there. I couldn’t trust the rear end of the car, and it was something that I didn’t feel in the whole qualifying before that.”
Hot off the press: F1 announced this morning that there will be a new grand prix in the calendar as of next year – in Miami, the city that keeps the roof blazin’. Here’s our full report:
Lewis Hamilton produced a performance to surprise even himself yesterday, completing one of his best laps ever – steaming around the Imola track in 1min 14.411sec – to claim pole position for ahead of the Red Bulls of Sergio Pérez and Max Verstappen. for the last few years Hamilton has had little competition for supremacy – but now he has exactly that, and is responding how the best sportspeople do: by upping his game accordingly.
The scene is set, then, for today’s race amid the resplendent scenery of northern Italy, on a track whose cruelty was laid bare yesterday by Lando Norris: his majestic final lap, which would have taken him second, took him outside the track limits by a matter of inches and thus didn’t count.
Valtteri Bottas’s did – although it was only enough to put him in eighth, which gives Red Bull a rare tactical advantage over Mercedes, with two drivers at the front in Sergio Pérez and Max Verstappen. “It is going to take us as a team performing as close to perfection as possible,” reckons Hamilton. A high bar. Let’s see if they can clear it.