Hamilton, Bottas Score 1-2 for Mercedes in Russia

It was pretty hard to keep up with each piece of news that came out of Sochi Autodrom this past weekend, leading up to the Russian GP. To quickly bring everyone up to speed (pardon the pun) — Ferrari is suddenly on a hot streak; Mercedes has become nervous of Ferrari and changed their entire race strategy to undermine the Italian manufacturer; McLaren announced a switch to Mercedes-powered engines in 2021; Renault continued to struggle with speed; Honda and Red Bull took power-unit penalties forcing Max Verstappen and Alex Albon to start P9 and P18 respectively; and finally, problems in practice and qualifying made Kimi Raikkonen and Daniil Kvyat start P17 and P20 respectively.

LAP 1: Going back to the aforementioned ‘Ferrari streak’, Charles Leclerc started in pole position for the 4th race in a row, with teammate Sebastian Vettel starting in 3rd. Howeverm, when the lights went out, Vettel immediately jumped to the lead, overtaking Leclerc and building a 3.8 second lead

SAFETY CAR – LAP 3: A brief safety car came out for an incident in Turn 7 involving Daniel Ricciardo, Antonio Giovinazzi, and Romain Grosjean. Grosjean retired from the race as Ricciardo tried to fight his way through the field despite damage.

LAP 17: The Renault of Nico Hulkenberg was the first car to make a pit stop. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the jacks, resulting in a lengthy 7.2-second pitstop.

LAP 26: Daniel Ricciardo retired from the race after succumbing to the damages he suffered earlier.

VIRTUAL SAFETY CAR – LAP 27: Sebastian Vettel surrendered 1st place to come to the pits. Just one lap later, Vettel radioed to the team regarding issues with the MGU-K power unit. Vettel pulled to the side of the track and retired the car which triggered the virtual safety car.

LAP 29: George Russell lost his brakes, which sent him straight into the tire barrier. Russell’s Williams Racing teammate, Robert Kubica, was also retired by the team for fear he would have the same issue.

LAP 37: Toro Rosso teammates Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat made contact while racing for 13th. Gasly went into the run-off area while Kvyat took the position.

CHECKERED FLAG – LAP 53: Remember that race strategy change from Mercedes that we mentioned earlier? It paid off. The original plan was to start on red tires like Ferrari since they provided the most grip for the start. However, Mercedes switched to medium tires for the start seeing as they last longer, meaning they could pit later in the race for reds, and overtake any Ferrari in their path. The plan worked when Vettel retired from the race, allowing Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas to pit and overtake Charles Leclerc. They went on to finish 1-2, with Hamilton picking up his 9th GP win of the season to extend his championship lead.

RESULTS:

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Valterri Bottas
  3. Charles Leclerc
  4. Max Verstappen
  5. Alex Albon
  6. Carlos Sainz Jr
  7. Sergio Perez
  8. Lando Norris
  9. Kevin Magnussen
  10. Nico Hulkenberg
  11. Lance Stroll
  12. Daniil Kvyat
  13. Kimi Raikkonen
  14. Pierre Gasly
  15. Antonio Giovinazzi
  16. Robert Kubica
  17. George Russell
  18. Sebastian Vettel
  19. Daniel Ricciardo
  20. Romain Grosjean

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