Home Sport Constructors title almost in the bag for Mercedes

Constructors title almost in the bag for Mercedes

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Mercedes currently share the record streak with Ferrari, who won six in a row between 1999 and 2004 in a golden era for the Italian team when seven-times champion Michael Schumacher was at his peak.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during qualifying at the Eifel Grand Prix – Nurburgring, Nurburg, Germany. Picture: Pool via Reuters, Bryn Lennon, File Photo

LEWIS Hamilton is closing in on a seventh Formula One championship but his dominant Mercedes team should get there first at Imola on Sunday.

No team has ever won seven constructors’ titles in a row but Mercedes may not need another point to make history at an Italian circuit making its return to the calendar for the first time since 2006.

Mercedes currently share the record streak with Ferrari, who won six in a row between 1999 and 2004 in a golden era for the Italian team when seven-times champion Michael Schumacher was at his peak.

Mercedes are a hefty 209 points clear of second-placed Red Bull in the standings and after Sunday’s 13th round of the season there will be four races, and a total of 176 points, remaining to be won.

That means Hamilton, winner of a record 92 races with eight victories so far this season, or teammate Valtteri Bottas need finish only fourth for Mercedes to add another title to the sequence even if Red Bull finish one-two.

Red Bull must score 34 points more than Mercedes to spin things out to the following race in Turkey, where Hamilton could wrap up his own championship battle if things go his way on Sunday. The Briton is 77 points clear of Bottas going to a circuit, named after Ferrari founder Enzo and his son Dino, where neither have raced previously in F1.

Imola will also always be remembered for the dark weekend of 1994 when Brazilian triple-champion Ayrton Senna and Austrian Roland Ratzenberger died after crashes.

Ayrton Senna

“It’s a track with lots of history but one that the Mercedes works team has never raced on before, so there are quite a few unknowns heading into the race weekend,” said team boss Toto Wolff.

The third race this year in Italy, another first, will be behind closed doors after the Covid-19 pandemic forced promoters to scrap plans to allow 13 000 spectators a day. The race weekend will run to a two-day format, with no Friday practice but an extended session on Saturday before qualifying.

Reuters