Race Report: Russian GP- Rosberg remains unbeaten

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The Russian Grand Prix may not have gone the way Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel wanted it but there’s little doubt that winning seven races in a row is exactly how Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg wanted it. The German claimed his 4th win of the season, 7th win in a row which places him in rare air with the likes of Ascari, Schumacher and Vettel on the seven-in-a-row list.

The days started rather bleak for Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who was hit twice from behind by a charging and perhaps over exuberant Russian, Daniil Kvyat, in his home grand prix at turn 2 and 3. This ended Vettel’s race with a flurry of F-bombs on his radio back to the team.

It was a race that saw a “helpless” Hamilton recover from a 10th place grid starting position to second while nursing a water pressure issue in the closing laps of the race. It also recorded McLaren’s first dual points finish of the season with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button proving their championship-winning qualities with terrific drives and passes to finish 6th and 10th respectively.

WinWin

A big win for Nico Rosberg for seriously putting his foot down on the neck of the 2016 Formula 1 season as he leads with 100 points to Lewis Hamilton’s 57 in the driver’s championship. For Lewis, you would have to be cruel not to suggest his recovery driver was truly inspired if not aided by Vettel’s DNF but even if Vettel would have stayed in the race and finished second, Hamilton would still be on the podium from 10th. That’s a champion’s driver for sure and a huge win for the team as they re-purposed the Melbourne engine in Lewis’s car in order to prevent a grid penalty so he could start in 10th place as they flew in parts overnight to make the needed changes.

A win for Kimi Raikkonen to move into third in the driver’s championship with his podium finish and he gave Ferrari their 700th podium finish in their venerable F1 career. Ferrari managed, also, to kepp Williams behind them by passing Valtteri Bottas and staving off a threat from the Grove-based team. Also a win for Kimi as he seemed to be the driver most affable and engaged—which isn’t something we normally ascribe to Kimi—with Vladimir Putin in the cool down room as the other drivers seemed indifferent to his presence there with Bernie Ecclestone and Nico seemed downright dismissive of the Russian president.

A win for both Romain Grosjean at Haas F1 and Sergio Perez with the latter having a terrific weekend on balance that included a wonderful qualifying session and the former finding the balance in the car’s performance after a difficult Chinese Grand Prix signaling a good recovery by Haas F1. The finished 8th and 9th respectively. Perez even had to recover from a flat tire incurred at turn one on lap one.

A win for Fernando Alonso and McLaren for a 6th place finish with Button in 10th and also to Renault Sport F1’s Kevin Magnussen for grabbing his car by the scruff of the neck and forcing it to put on a show, give it some legs and finishing in the points in 7th place.

Once could argue that Williams F1’s Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa’s 4th and 5th place finishes were a win as the team had struggled with the wrong tire compound strategy in China and seemed to find their forma gain in Russia although there was that late-race pit stop for Massa that was called but had no impact on his results.

FailFail

A fail for Haas F1’s Esteban Gutierrez who clouted Nico Hulkenberg at turn one garnering a drive-through penalty for the Mexican and the end of the race for the German.

A fail for Felipe Nasr who, in a brand new chassis, finished behind his teammate Marcus Ericsson and for Jolyon Palmer who couldn’t match the pace of his teammate Magnussen finishing 13th. While Ericsson suffered a bad qualifying session and didn’t get a new chassis, he managed to beat his teammate and finished 14th.

A fail for Toro Rosso who experienced an engine problem with Max Verstappen and his retirement certainly benefitted Fernando Alonso while his teammate, Jenson Button had to fight Carlos Sainz for the 10th position. Sainz struggled to hang on to 10th place and at the time of writing this, it is unclear if he had some trouble with the car or if Button legitimately pressed into an error. Regardless, both STR’s out of the points is not a good weekend for the team.

WTHWTH

I suppose Red Bull could be given a WTH as the team, having qualified well, fell apart after Daniil Kvyat hit Sebastian Vettel twice and took him out of the race. This prompted a Safety Car period in which both cars dove in to the pits and fitted the hardest compound on offer—the Medium—and then struggle as they sank like a stone to the back of the grid.

Team boss Christian Horner said that Kvyat’s incident screwed the teams race completely as both cars had damage on them and front wings that were toast. If there was a time that Kvyat didn’t need this incident, this weekend was it. If there was a reason to find room in 2017 for Verstappen, there’s little doubt that this incident will be a large catalyst in making that decision. It’s unfortunate because he truly has become quite a driver and determined to win.

There’s no excuse for Kvyat’s actions this weekend but then several drivers on this grid could have the same finger pointed at them including Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Button, Perez, Hulkenberg and many others.

RUSSIAN GP RESULTS:

PosDriverCarGap
1Nico RosbergMercedes1h32m41.997s
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes25.022s
3Kimi RaikkonenFerrari31.998s
4Valtteri BottasWilliams/Mercedes50.217s
5Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes1m14.427s
6Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Honda1 Lap
7Kevin MagnussenRenault1 Lap
8Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari1 Lap
9Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes1 Lap
10Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Honda1 Lap
11Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/TAG Heuer1 Lap
12Carlos SainzToro Rosso/Ferrari1 Lap
13Jolyon PalmerRenault1 Lap
14Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari1 Lap
15Daniil KvyatRed Bull/TAG Heuer1 Lap
16Felipe NasrSauber/Ferrari1 Lap
17Esteban GutierrezHaas/Ferrari1 Lap
18Pascal WehrleinManor/Mercedes2 Laps
Max VerstappenToro Rosso/FerrariRetirement
Sebastian VettelFerrariCollision
Rio HaryantoManor/MercedesCollision
Nico HulkenbergForce India/MercedesCollision

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP

PosDriverPoints
1Nico Rosberg100
2Lewis Hamilton57
3Kimi Raikkonen43
4Daniel Ricciardo36
5Sebastian Vettel33
6Felipe Massa32
7Romain Grosjean22
8Daniil Kvyat21
9Valtteri Bottas19
10Max Verstappen13
11Fernando Alonso8
12Kevin Magnussen6
13Nico Hulkenberg6
14Carlos Sainz4
15Sergio Perez2
16Jenson Button1
17Stoffel Vandoorne1
18Jolyon Palmer0
19Marcus Ericsson0
20Pascal Wehrlein0
21Felipe Nasr0
22Esteban Gutierrez0
23Rio Haryanto0

CONSTRUCTORS’ CHAMPIONSHIP

PosConstructorPoints
1Mercedes157
2Ferrari76
3Red Bull/TAG Heuer57
4Williams/Mercedes51
5Haas/Ferrari22
6Toro Rosso/Ferrari17
7McLaren/Honda10
8Force India/Mercedes8
9Renault6
10Sauber/Ferrari0
11Manor/Mercedes0
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runnah

Drive of the race: Vettel on the marshals scooter.

Negative Camber

LOL…you stole my thunder. I have that written in my race notes as drive of the race. Move over, I’m driving. Loved it.

jiji the cat

Dunno. He was a sit wobbly

runnah

Yeah I don’t know, I miss the days of the 2 stroke sound.

puptentacle

Didn’t he almost take out some sort of electrical box when they first showed that footage? Or was that the reason he took over the driving?

Tickled Pink

Vettel put the F in F1

Negative Camber

LOL…FFS!

Bolivar

right, lol

228929292AABBB

I want a t shirt that says ‘Sochi 2016’ on the front and has the full rant on the back.

The Captain

Was there a Formula 1 race today?

I mean thought I saw a few commercials for one during that 2 hour long promo I watched for some CNBC shows ‘rich guys act like douche bags’ and ‘rich guys act like douche bags with an accent’.

Gbexfal

Did Hamilton gain advantage in turn 2 at the start by going wide?

Negative Camber

I’ve seen a few folks saying that here and there but I have not gone back and looked at the video yet.

Samouri

As to be expected, people would only question Hamilton’s excursion off in turn 2, and his reentry to the track as being illegal. No mention had been made of Ricciardo along with 3 other drivers who also went off course, to follow right behind Lewis, and make the correct entry to the course.

Negative Camber

Lime I said, I haven’t re-watched it so I am not questioning anything Lewis did or others at that turn. IT doesn’t really matter what I think as the stewards clearly didn’t find fault.

rambaldi

Usually they are a little more relaxed in their attitudes towards heading off on the first lap. Primarily due to first corner issues (but I haven’t watched the race yet so no sure about this specific incident)

Shocks&Awe

I thought so. Looked to me like a calculated move to avoid the carnage and make up some spots. So kudos to Lewis for taking advantage of a loophole. Ross Brawn would be proud.

B52RockLobster

I suppose it’s semantics to call Kvyat’s actions a “Fail” or a “WTH”, but why does Vettel deserve to have the same finger pointed at him? His weekend was clean until he was hit twice.

Derek

I was wondering this too, along with the other drivers. I don’t recall Alonso or Button doing anything questionable during this race.

Negative Camber

That’s a semantics thing, he had a fail too, no doubt. I just didn’t mention it because it was relatively obvious he was more a victim of incident and the fail was less in his hands and more in Danii’s hands. I didn’t list Perez as fail for flat or Haryanto either.

runnah

I’d say it’s safe to assume that Dani won’t be at RBR next year. Max would be a shoe in since it seems like there aren’t a lot of other choices out there.

Graeme Fuller

Is Bernie weaving his magic spice up the racing wand? I loved Vettel’s radio after he crashed, i have a feeling that will be high in the 2016 radio transmissions for the year. Agree with Todd’s view of the race as above and I don’t think Dani K is out of the team yet though. Williams seems to me to be a little lost or just struggling to make an impact. Or are they waiting to Europe to spend a few tokens? Can I request we have the MALDORNADO award for each race or alternate it with donkey of the… Read more »

228929292AABBB

Three admissions: -though I criticize him a lot, great job Kimi flying the flag for Ferrari when they really needed it with that podium -though the absence of off season improvement made it seem unlikely that was a massive improvement in form from McLaren. Some say they need the cold, I don’t know but they looked decent. -though I’m a fan of his there’s no defending Kvyat’s first lap. I’d suggest he hit Vettel three times, I thought I saw a his left wing tap Vettel’s right rear tire, but it was easy to miss between the major bumps. He… Read more »

Shocks&Awe

I don’t think he did anything particularly egregious. Ok, he locked up on turn 2. Oops, he made a small mistake.

Then he’s following fast on Vettel’s heels and doesn’t anticipate that Vettel might have a problem and might not be pushing 10/10ths and doesn’t give himself enough cushion to react to Vettel slowing down in the turn.
Oops, he made a small mistake.

It it hadn’t been Vettel, he wouldn’t be getting nearly as much flak. Unless it was Hamilton, then he’d have been lynched on the spot.

228929292AABBB

It seems like what you’re saying is that all he did is make a series of mistakes. That’s all I’m saying as well. It’s just sort of a top class is all.

Shocks&Awe

I guess I was just reacting to the tenor, and maybe reading other people’s reactions into yours. I inferred from “there’s no defending” a severity that maybe you didn’t intend. Other’s certainly have and that’s my point. That these were small mistakes made worse by the fact that they followed quickly after each other, and given the kerfuffle from last race between Vettel and Kyvat. Honestly I think the first was his mistake but for the second, I didn’t see the telemetry, but if Vettel did indeed slow down relative to the rest of the field, then it’s a racing… Read more »

228929292AABBB

Well you’re right, I tend to heap on extra tone. I think a driver at that level should, and usually does, adjust in real time. Bopping a multi-champion who’s cross with you already merits a touch of discretion in the following moments, I’m dissappointed he didn’t show it. I think it’s fully possible Vettel slowed a second because his tire started to let loose, because Kvyat compromised it. But regardless, in my opinion it’s an embarassment for RBR and Kvyat to have it work out that way.

228929292AABBB
Louis Jansen

Meanwhile in the Netherlands we were very disappointed in seeing our countryman Max Verstappen suffering another power unit failure, this time one made by Ferrari! Our guy is doing so well, showing good pace in qualifying and not making mistakes in the start of the race. He was on course for another points result!