Bottas takes his fifteenth pole, Gasly equals his best ever qualifying result and Giovinazzi and Russell record their teams’ worst Imola qualifying results. Here are the facts and statistics from qualifying at the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix!
BOTTAS ON POLE
Valtteri Bottas took his fourth pole of the 2020 season at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. It was the fifteenth pole position of his career, putting him 21st in the all-time list of most pole positions in Formula 1. Strangely, no driver has ended their career with fifteen poles.
Bottas is the thirteenth different driver to have taken pole at Imola, and he is the fourth Finnish polesitter in the last nine races at the circuit. Mika Hakkinen took pole in 1999 and 2000, while Kimi Raikkonen started from the front of the grid in 2005.
Imola is the twelfth different circuit at which Bottas has taken pole position. He is only the sixteenth driver to have taken pole at that many tracks.
For the first time, Mercedes have taken pole position in all of the first thirteen races of a season, bettering their previous run of twelve poles in the first twelve races of 2015. This is only the third time that a team has taken pole at all of the first thirteen races of the year. They are the first team to do so since Red Bull in 2011.
While this is Mercedes’ first pole at Imola – making them the ninth different constructor to have taken pole at the circuit – a Mercedes-powered car has now taken pole in six of the last ten races here. The Brackley-based team also took pole at Imola in 2004, with Jenson Button driving for BAR.
Bottas became the first driver to have reached Q3 at 75 consecutive races. He has not failed to qualify in the top ten during his stint at Mercedes, with his last Q2 exit being at the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which was his last race with Williams.
Pole position was decided by less than a tenth of a second for the sixth time this season, and for the ninth time at Imola. Bottas took pole by 0.097 seconds, becoming the third driver to do so after Alain Prost at the 1985 Belgian Grand Prix and Ayrton Senna at the 1992 Canadian Grand Prix.
THE TOP TEN
Lewis Hamilton continued his record of qualifying on the front row at every race in 2020. The 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix is the last time he failed to qualify on the front row of the grid, while the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix is the last time that Hamilton did not start on the front row.
Max Verstappen qualified in third place for a third consecutive race. He’s qualified inside the top three at all of the last five races, while the Hungarian Grand Prix is the only race this year in which he has not qualified in the top five.
For only the second time in his career, Pierre Gasly qualified in the top four. Qualifying in fourth place, Gasly equals his best ever starting position of fourth, which he last recorded at the 2019 German Grand Prix. It marks the Red Bull junior team’s best qualifying result since both Sebastian Vettel and Sebastien Bourdais qualified in the top four at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix.
AlphaTauri and Toro Rosso’s roots can be traced back to Minardi, who first competed in F1 in 1985. In the team’s entire history, there have been only five races in which one of their drivers has started a Grand Prix in the top four grid positions. Pierluigi Martini did so at the 1989 Spanish and Australian Grands Prix and the 1990 United States Grand Prix; Sebastian Vettel and Sebastien Bourdais both started in the top four at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix; and Pierre Gasly will start fourth at the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc is the first Ferrari driver to qualify in seventh place for an F1 race at Imola since Jean Alesi at the 1992 San Marino Grand Prix.
Every driver bar two was eliminated in the same qualifying session as they were at the Portuguese Grand Prix. The exceptions were Sergio Perez (who reached Q3 in Portugal and was out in Q2 at Imola) and Daniil Kvyat (who was out in Q2 in Portugal but reached Q3 at Imola). For Kvyat, this was his first Q3 appearance since the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix. It’s the first time he has qualified in the top eight since the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix.
Lando Norris qualified ninth, while Carlos Sainz qualified tenth. This is only the second time in the last 24 races at Imola where neither McLaren driver qualified in the top eight. It also happened in 2004.
OUT IN Q2
For only the second time in 2020, neither Racing Point driver reached Q3. Sergio Perez qualified in eleventh place, recording his first Q2 exit since the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (though he has had one Q1 elimination since then). Meanwhile, Lance Stroll qualified in fifteenth, recording his worst qualifying position of the year so far.
Esteban Ocon recorded Renault’s 120th Q2 exit after qualifying in twelfth place.
George Russell out-qualified his team-mate for a 34th consecutive race and reached Q2 for the eighth time. This is only the second time that neither Williams driver has qualified in the top ten at Imola. It also happened at the 1983 San Marino Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel failed to reach Q3 for a ninth consecutive race. He’s only the fifth Ferrari driver who has failed to qualify in the top ten at Imola. The other drivers to do so were Jody Scheckter in 1980, Michele Alboreto in 1984, Stefan Johansson in 1985 and Michael Schumacher in 2005.
OUT IN Q1
Alfa Romeo recorded their ninth double Q1 exit of 2020, while Haas recorded their seventh double Q1 exit of the season. With both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen out in Q1, Haas recorded their 60th Q1 exit since joining the sport in 2016.
Antonio Giovinazzi equalled his worst qualifying result of the season and lines up last on the grid for the second time in his career. He also recorded Alfa Romeo’s worst ever Imola qualifying result. Their previous worst was 19th for Vittorio Brambilla in 1980. It’s the second-worst Imola qualifying result for the Sauber team. Karl Wendlinger qualified 21st in 1995.
With nineteenth place, Nicholas Latifi has recorded Williams’ worst qualifying position at Imola. Their previous worst Imola qualifying position was 18th, recorded by Jenson Button in 2000. Latifi also recorded Williams’ 170th Q1 exit.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. The blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics.
Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.