Race results. F1 Russian GP.
Saturday Qualifying. The Ferrari improvements do no close the gap.
Mekies has warned about the few improvements we saw during the Russian GP. No major improvements were expected and, this time, the prediction revealed to be true. Again, as seen from the beginning of the season, the teams supplied with Ferrari engines suffered a lot. Here below the gap per kilomenters in recent races between Ferrari and Mercedes. A gap that does not seem to close easily. The gaps on average stands on 0.26s/km with a peak reached in Russia with a value of 0.33s/km.
Sochi: chaos at the start, double bang
Immediately outside the games Sainz and Stroll, while Leclerc did not suffer any damage in contact with the Canadian’s Racing Point.
In the race the Monegasque instead took Ferrari to sixth place in the final, taking advantage of the k.o. of Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll (of which he was partly responsible in a dynamic that the race commissioners judged by ‘no further action’, that was not the extremes to take action) performing an excellent first stint with the medium tyres in which he also took advantage of the leathery stopper work of Sebastian Vettel against Renault Esteban Ocon. Renault and Racing Point stretched Ferrari thanks to Perez and ricciardo and Ocon’s double top ten, but McLaren’s zero compacts a little more the four teams fighting for the podium in the constructors’ standings.
“A step forward, at least compared to the last races, both in terms of result and competitiveness. So you can sum up this weekend’s verdict. Charles’s sixth place came at the end of a very solid race in which he pulled as much as possible from the pack available: aggressive in the very first bars and then managed with great maturity for a driver who has yet to turn 23 years old. Sebastian failed to finish in the points area, remaining stuck in traffic in the decisive stages of the start. We had brought here to Sochi some small aerodynamic updates: nothing transcendental in terms of performance, but a step in the right direction of development of the car. In a league where the power relations at the centre of the group are very close it takes little to progress. We must continue in this direction and that is what we will do from the next meeting, in two weeks’ time at the Nurburgring”.
What they said.
“I thought the start would give me an opportunity right away. Then I had a strange problem: a bee went over my visor and I lost visibility. I knew it was going to be a long race, then Lewis got the penalty and I found myself leading. Once in the head I think I had a good pace, I checked well. Max? I tried to do my race, I knew that today I would have a good opportunity, my mentality is to never give up and today I put it to good use. It’s nice to get back to winning, I’ve been missing for a while, I’ve got to try to maintain that momentum. I managed to gnaw points, I have to keep pushing.”
“It’s a great achievement. I’m really glad we kept 100% wins here. Then Bottas hadn’t won for a long time: today he ran a wonderful race, without errors and well managed to the finish line. As for the penalty, we need to look at why we made this mistake.
But it is a interpretable standard and a very tough penalty. Stewards claim that this was not the place to try the start and I agree. But in the notes of the Race Direction it says that you can make starts after the lights on the right and that’s what Hamilton did. This is a new case and there may be discussions. I think sometimes things go wrong and if you’re the top driver every now and then you have to accept that you get this. But to all of us, the sanction seems harsh. As we have always done in the past, we win and lose together. Let’s look at what we could have done better and what we can do better in the future. Renewing the compliments to Valtteri, because a win is still a victory“
“I have to look at what the rules are and understand what I did wrong. I’m pretty sure no one has ever received two penalties five seconds before for something so ridiculous. I didn’t put anyone in danger, I did it on a million tracks and I never had notes, but that’s the situation here in Sochi. What’s certain is that they’re trying to stop me. I just have to keep my head down and watch what happens.
I wanted to continue more with Soft tyres. I think I did pretty well with this mix and I was convinced I had more chances by stretching the first stint.”
“I think the penalty Lewis received was pretty tough; Even the two points removed on the driver’s license I think are excessive. Surely the point where he did the starting tests was not correct, but why subtract those points as well? I’m not sure that’s the right decision. As for the race, we can be very happy with the second place, especially on a track where we know that we are not normally so competitive; We took home quite a few points, a useful haul for the team after the last zeros of Monza and Mugello. There was really little grip on the inside of the starting grid and this cost me a bit. But then I stayed calm and quickly passed Ricciardo and came back in third. I struggled to follow the Mercedes with the medium tyre because I had a lot of oversteer, but once we passed the pit stop we were more competitive and focused on my race and we handled it well. It’s nice to be back on the podium and we can definitely be happy to finish eight seconds behind Bottas on this track.”
“Today’s is a good result, of course, and we have taken a step forward. But we have to keep our feet on the ground. It’s good to see that we are more competitive than other machines. I think the team was also surprised by the competitiveness in the race, we have to understand why. I’m happy with this weekend, I drove pretty badly on Friday, today I took a good step, so from my personal point of view it’s fine.
The strategy with Soft for the last stint would have been a bit extreme, with Hard we made the right strategy. We lost a bit of time at the pit stop and I ended up behind Ricciardo, but I can’t say if we could get through it. Overall it went well today.
It seems that we have taken the right path with updates. We brought only a small development, I do not think that the leap in quality there was thanks to this, but the road is undoubtedly the right one. Now we’re going to bring something a little more substantial to the Nurburgring”
“I had a bit of bad luck on the first lap because I didn’t know where to go with all that traffic. There were a lot of riders on the track, I found myself stuck in strategy level. I don’t think we could do much, it was a bit boring. If I am satisfied with the race? No, absolutely, it was a difficult Sunday. I finished the tyres very quickly and did not have the pace, following the other cars does not help but still it was a difficult race. I think I did my best with the car I had and that’s why I’m happy. But I definitely wasn’t happy with how he got stuck behind other cars. What if this is a leaking car on the back? It’s not just the rear, the problem is the whole car“.
Race results. Our marks to the drivers.
C. Leclerc: Clean race with a good race pace that takes him to P6. Final Mark: 7/10.
L. Hamilton: Qualifying amazing, then distractions not from Lewis before the race cause him a 10-second penalty; race in the shade of the penalties. Final Mark: 5.5/10.
V. Bottas: Take advantage of Lewis’ penalty to the max after a disappointing qualifying, manage the race with confidence. Final Mark: 7.5/10.
Ferrari: Any signs of recovery from the last disastrous races, a small step towards the light at the bottom of the tunnel? Final Mark: 5.5/10.
S. Vettel: Qualifying with a bang and race without taking risks by getting stuck behind Giovinazzi. Final Mark: 4.5/10.
M. Verstappen: He managed to take away the second position in Bottas with a great lap and in the race does nothing wrong. Final Mark: 7/10.