Russian Grand Prix – Race

Yesterday’s Qualifying session was fairly uneventful other than the Williams drivers challenging for the second row of the grid, although there were a few penalties for gearbox changes.

Provisional grid: HAM, ROS, BOT, BUT, KVY, [MAG*] RIC, ALO, RAI, VER, VET, MAG*, [HUL*] PER, GUT, SUT, GRO, ERI, HUL*, MAS, KOB, MAL*, CHI*
*MAG, HUL and CHI all have 5 place penalties for gearbox changes.
**MAL is serving the carried-over penalty for exceeding the maximum number of engines permitted for the season.

Tyre compounds: prime = medium (white markings); option = soft (yellow).
The tyres seem to be lasting quite well on the new track, although when they go off it tends to be quite sudden.

Air temperature 22°C; track 29°C; it’s sunny and cloudless.

Will HAM match Nigel Mansell’s British record of Grand Prix wins?
Will Mercedes tie up the Constructors’ championship?

HAM leads everyone away on the formation lap.
Looks like everyone except PER, SUT, and the guys at the back starting on options.
HAM sets his car up at a slight angle, ready to defend into Turn 1

01/53: HAM leads into Turn 1
ROS attacking already
ROS locks up and cuts the corner – he’s got to let HAM pass, surely
Radio for ROS – give position back to HAM; ROS says he has to box after flat-spotting his tyres

02: ROS pits, as does MAS
HAM, BOT, BUT, ALO, VER
VET inside KVY for P7
RIC passes KVY too
Radio from ROS asking for strategy now – told he has to go to the end on these (prime) tyres

03: HAM fastest lap 1:45.342
DRS enabled
MAG attacking VER; side by side battling around Turn 3; VER fights back, hangs on to P5
MAG uses DRS and blasts past MAG

04: HAM f/lap 1:44.943

05/53: HAM, BOT, BUT, ALO, MAG, VET, RIC, VER, RAI, KVY
MAS f/lap 1:44.601

06: HAM f/lap 1:44.080
Radio for BUT telling him gap back to ALO; says he doesn’t need to be told when he’s this close
VET makes a mistake and RIC thinks about attacking his teammate but hesitates

07: RIC now harrying VET for P6
Radio from RIC saying he’s losing a lot of time (behind VET)

08: HAM f/lap 1:43.958
BUT falling back from BOT, and has ALO big in his mirrors
Radio from ROS – I’m driving in a way that I can get to the end of the race

10/53: HAM, BOT, BUT, ALO, MAG, VET, RIC, VER, RAI, KVY; no retirements
RIC’s front tyres looking blistered

11: CHI pits; team not rushing to service him

12: RIC pits – switch to primes
CHI has retired; that’s Marussia out of their home race

13: BUT has managed to open a gap over ALO
ROS past HUL for P12

15/53: HAM, BOT, BUT, ALO, MAG, VET, VER, RAI, KVY, PER; retirements: CHI
ROS takes P11 from GUT

16: MAS passes GUT too

17: HAM ~4.7sec ahead of BOT

19: If ROS can make his tyres last to the end, he’s looking like he’ll be on the podium
ROS catching PER

20/53: HAM, BOT, BUT, ALO, MAG, VET, VER, RAI, KVY, PER
ROS passes PER into Turn 1
Now MAS closes on PER

21: HAM f/lap 1:43.407
KVY pits from P9; switches to primes
GRO pits too

22: Radio from ROS – lot of degradation
Radio from HAM – tyres feel good

23: HAM f/lap 1:43.248
BUT pits from P3 – primes – rejoins P9, between ROS and PER

24: VER locks up into Turn 13 as RAI closes on him
VER pits

25/53: HAM, BOT, ALO, MAG, VET, RAI, ROS, BUT, PER, MAS; retirements: KOB, CHI
(When did KOB retire?)

26: ROS closing on RAI
ALO pits – slow stop – problem with front left
ROS takes P5 from RAI

27: BOT pits from P2; rejoins P3

28: MAS makes a 2nd stop; another set of options
PER looking for a way round KVY

29: SUT tries to go around the outside of GRO; contact; SUT spins
ROS closing on BOT

30/53: HAM, VET, BOT, ROS, BUT, MAG, ALO, RIC, GUT, RAI
Radio for VET telling him to respect the beeps (change gear when told)
Incident involving cars 8 (GRO) and 99 (SUT) under investigation –

31: VET pits from P2; fair stop; rejoins P8
ROS attacks BOT; BOT cuts Turn 2, and ROS takes P2
Will the stewards decide ROS forced BOT to run wide?

32: Radio for BOT telling him ROS has been on these tyres since lap 1 so he’ll get degradation

34: PER and MAS both trying to pass KVY

35/53: HAM, ROS, BOT, BUT, MAG, ALO, RIC, VET, GUT, RAI; retirements: KOB, CHI
ROS f/lap 1:42.670
PER inside KVY into Turn 1 – takes P12
MAS follows PER and passes KVY for P13

36: ROS f/lap 1:42.551 – he’s closed the gap to HAM to ~18secs
MAS trying to line up PER
BBC say ROS has been told “Plan B” – is that a 2nd stop?
HUL runs wide as he tries to close on KVY

37: KVY locks up, cuts the corner, and HUL passes for P14

38: ROS f/up 1:42.088
Radio from KVY saying he’s got lots of vibration (as a result of that lock up)
VER has PER and MAS on his tail

40/53: HAM, ROS, BOT, BUT, MAG, ALO, RIC, VET, RAI, PER

41: HAM f/lap 1:41.853

42: Radio for PER – look after fuel; absolutely critical
RIC inside DRS zone behind ALO

43: Radio for BUT – expecting everyone to run to the end now

44: HAM still ~18secs ahead of ROS
BOT ~5sec behind ROS
RIC still on ALO’s tail but not close enough to attack

45/53: HAM, ROS, BOT, BUT, MAG, ALO, RIC, VET, RAI, PER; retirements: KOB, CHI
ERI pits
Radio for PER reminding about fuel again – “it’s desperate”

46: BOT f/lap 1:41.830

48: MAS still not finding a way past PER but it might not be long before PER runs out of fuel

49 = 5 laps left: HAM f/lap 1:41.606
Radio from RIC – have to stay in DRS zone or I’ll lose him (ALO)

50/53: HAM, ROS, BOT, BUT, MAG, ALO, RIC, VET, RAI, PER

52: BOT f/lap 1:41.534

53 = final lap: ROS f/lap 1: 41.360

HAM takes the chequered flag – first winner of the Russian GP, and he’s equalled Mansell’s record of British drivers’ GP wins
ROS P2 – Mercedes take the Constructors’ Championship
BOT f/lap 1:40.896
BUT P4

Provisional result: HAM, ROS, BOT, BUT, MAG, ALO, RIC, VET, RAI, PER, MAS, HUL, VER, KVY, GUT, SUT, GRO, MAL, ERI
DNF: KOB, CHI

8 thoughts on “Russian Grand Prix – Race

  1. Post-race interview with ALO, he was asked if he’d be in a Mercedes-powered car next season and he said no, so that rules out Mercedes, Lotus, Force India and Williams. I won’t be Toro Rosso or Red Bull because they have a clear driver development path. Caterham and Marussia are incredibly unlikely. So that’s McLaren Honda, staying with Ferrari, or sitting out the season … so will Ferrari pay RAI not to drive next season, or will McLaren overlook ALO’s part in the 2007 “Stepneygate” spying scandal? I think he’s taking the year off, but ALO has said he won’t leave F1 until he’s won 3 world championships.

  2. BBC interviewed KOB as he walked back into the pits, asked him what was wrong with the car, and KOB said nothing – the team told him to turn the car off to save mileage! After the race Caterham said it was a brake problem, but if the driver didn’t say that then who are we to believe?

  3. My GridBids picks: ROS (P2), HAM (P1), VET (P8), HUL (P12) & GRO (P17).

    “You scored 47 points for this race and have a total of 737 points this season. You ranked 78 for this race and 107 overall.”

  4. “Fernando Alonso is leaving Ferrari at the end of this season, the company’s former president Luca Di Montezemolo has confirmed.” [BBC]

    So I stick with my prediction of him not being in F1 next year.

  5. “Caterham have denied Kamui Kobayashi’s claims that they told him to retire from Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix to save mileage on parts.” [BBC]

  6. Kamui Kobayashi admitted to being “seriously troubled” about the safety of his Caterham Formula 1 car during the Russian Grand Prix weekend. [BBC]

  7. “Fernando Alonso’s switch to the McLaren Formula 1 team is set to be confirmed before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, once the team knows who his team-mate will be.” [Autosport]

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