Grand Prix of Russia – Race

I’m not going to repeat my thoughts on this being the 22nd anniversary of the fateful San Marino Grand Prix – they’re at the start of my notes from Qualifying yesterday.

Provisional grid: ROS, BOT, RAI, MAS, RIC, PER, VET*, KVY, VES, HAM*, SAI, BUT, HUL, ALO, GRO, GUT, MAG, PAL, NAS, WEH, HAR, ERI.
*VET will start P7 thanks to the gearbox penalty
*HAM still has to visit the stewards about running wide in Q1

I haven’t seen any official update after HAM met with the stewards, but the official F1 site does say he’ll start P10 even after Mercedes fixed his engine issue. [FIA]
Mercedes posted a long description of how they avoided any penalties, but basically: “We have re-fitted his original Melbourne engine, which was here as a spare. It contains a new Turbocharger and MGU-H (his third of the season), which were replaced after the failure in China. We have also replaced the Control Electronics and Energy Store to eliminate them as a potential source of the problem.”

So the grid looks unchanged; with VET’s penalty, BOT is now on the front row
Drivers have left the pits and are preparing on the grid
Air temperature 17°C; track 41°C; sunny with a few clouds; 10% chance of rain forecast
Teams clear the grid
Looks like almost everyone starting on supersoft tyres, except HUL, GUT & ERI who are on softs

ROS leads everyone away on the formation lap
Grid forms up

01/53: looks like a clean start
RAI inside BOT into Turn 2
Red Bulls make contact
VET spun, into the tyre wall
Virtual Safety Car deployed
HUL is off too
VET cleaning up pieces of his Ferrari as he waits for a marshal to arrive
Safety Car deployed
PER heading back to the pits with a rear right puncture

02[SC]: ROS, RAI, BOT, MAS, HAM, VES, ALO, GRO, MAG, PAL, SAI, NAS, BUT, WEH
KVY, ERI, RIC, PER, GUT all pit
Red Bull have to queue their cars, dealing with KVY first
Looks like HAR went out on lap 1 too
Waiting for a replay of the Turn 2 incident

03[SC]: Replay shows KVY steam into the rear of VET, pushing him into RIC
There’s a second contact that spins the Ferrari around and into the tyre wall
Radio from VET understandably frustrated
SC in at the end of this lap

04: Green flags
BOT inside RAI and reclaims P2
HAM past MAS for P4
Race control: 1st lap incidents at Turn 2 under investigation

05/53: ROS, BOT, RAI, HAM, MAS, VES, ALO, GRO, MAG, PAL, SAI, NAS, BUT, WEH, KVY, ERI, RIC, PER, GUT; retirements: VET, HUL, HAR
ROS fastest lap 1:42.015
KVY took on mediums in his pit stop

06: DRS enabled
ERI inside KVY but KVY runs wide and holds the position; KVY lets ERI past and then passes his properly

07: RAI closing on BOT, with HAM closing on RAI
HAM spots a gap and takes P3

08: ROS f/lap 1:41.884
Replay of lap 1 Turn 3 incident shows it was KVY who hit VET a second time
HAM 0.5sec behind BOT

09: KVY pits; looks like he’s serving a stop-go penalty which wasn’t announced; rejoins last (P19)
Race control: drive-through penalty for GUT for causing a lap 1 collision

10/53: ROS, BOT, HAM, RAI, MAS, VES, ALO, GRO, MAG, PAL
GUT into the pits, serves his penalty; rejoins ahead of KVY

11: HAM struggling to stay close enough to BOT to be able to attack
WEH makes a strong move on NAS to take P14

12: ROS has a 7 second lead over BOT
SAI pits

13: ROS f/lap 1:41.624
HAM still filling BOT’s mirrors but can’t find a way round the Williams
Radio for NAS – slow puncture
NAS pits

14: ROS f/lap 1:41.454
RAI closing on HAM as the Mercedes is stuck behind BOT

15/53: ROS BOT, HAM, RAI, MAS, VES, ALO, GRO, MAG, BUT
ROS f/lap 1:41.445
PAL pits

16: ROS f/lap 1:41.364
ROS nearly 13sec clear of BOT, preparing for a pit stop presumably

17: BOT pits from P2; HAM will be able to make some progress now; softs go on; rejoins ahead of GRO
Apparently VET is having a word with Christian Horner on the Red Bull timing wall

18: HAM pits from P2; softs; clean stop but 0.5sec slower than Williams; rejoins alongside BOT
BOT stays ahead of HAM into the turn

19: MAS pits from P3; softs
As BOT closes on ALO, HAM dives inside and past the Williams
HAM easily past ALO too

20/53: HAM f/lap 1:41.260
BOT past ALO for P5

21: RAI pits from P2; rejoins just ahead of BOT
HAM f/lap 1:41.170
BUT pits

22: ROS pits; good stop; rejoins still ahead of VES, who has yet to stop

23: VES pits from P2; softs; rejoins P7; will he go to the end on these?
SAI inside PAL, runs PAL a bit wide; PAL tries to fight back, contact but both continue

24: ROS is 12.4sec ahead of HAM, who in turn is 3sec ahead of RAI

25/53: ROS, HAM, RAI, BOT, MAS, PER, VES, ERI, ALO, RIC, MAG, GRO, SAI, PAL, BUT, NAS, WEH, KVY, GUT; retirements: VET, HUL, HAR
HAM f/lap 1:40.922
ALO takes P8 from ERI
Radio from PER asking “do you like my pace?”

26: Race control: 10 second penalty for SAI – forcing another driver off the track

28: WEH makes a late dive inside NAS into Turn 2; NAS runs wide to avoid a collision
PER pits
WEH nearly runs into the rear of NAS under braking
KVY passes WEH for P17

29: HAM f/lap 1:40.648
HAM is only about 0.3sec/lap quicker than ROS and he’s 12.5sec behind, so
Race control: investigating NAS not going around the bollard before rejoining the track when he ran wide in Turn 2
MAG makes a great pass on RIC
GRO mugs RIC too
Race control: 5second penalty for NAS

30/53: ROS, HAM, RAI, BOT, MAS, VES, ALO, MAG, GRO, SAI
RIC pits

32: PER closing on SAI; quickly takes P10

33: RIC past teammate KVY for P15

34: VES slowing; pulls off track and parks the Toro Rosso

35/53: ROS, HAM, RAI, BOT, MAS, ALO, MAG, GRO, PER, SAI; BUT, PAL, ERI, RIC, KVY, NAS, WEH, GUT

36: ROS’ lead dropped to under 7.5sec as he deals with lapping the tail enders

37: ROS f/lap 1:40.450
HAM f/lap 1:40.266
Radio for HAM – water pressure issue

38: ROS f/lap 1:39.616

40/53: ROS, HAM, RAI, BOT, MAS, ALO, MAG, GRO, PER, SAI

41: Horribly long pit stop for WEH – problem getting the rear left off

42: Radio for HAM – situation has stabilised

44: Bit of a train behind MAG – he’s got GRO, PER, SAI, BUT behind him

45/53: ROS, HAM, RAI, BOT, MAS, ALO, MAG, GRO, PER, SAI

47: MAS pits from P5; supersofts; rejoins still P5

48: BUT all over the gearbox of SAI; even though SAI has a time penalty to be added, BUT needs to pass him so he can try to catch PER

49 = 5 laps remaining: SAI locks up and BUT tries to pounce – takes P10

50/53: ROS, HAM, RAI, BOT, MAS, ALO, MAG, GRO, PER, BUT
PER harrying GRO

51: RIC takes P12 from PAL

52: PER locks up as he continues to challenge GRO

53 = last lap: ROS f/lap 1:39.094

ROS takes the chequered flag – 7th consecutive victory; only 3 other drivers have ever done this – Vettel (9), Ascari (7) & Schumacher (7)

Provisional result: ROS, HAM, RAI, BOT, MAS, ALO, MAG, GRO, PER, BUT; SAI*, RIC, PAL, ERI, KVY, NAS*, GUT, WEH
DNF: VES, VET, HUL, HAR

Time penalties to be added: 10 seconds for SAI, 5 seconds for NAS.

Why does Putin insist on being in the podium prep room? No-one else does this.

HAM looks disappointed, despite being P2 after starting 10th
Even hands his champagne to the team rep

ROS: if I slow down I’ll make mistakes
HAM: not the easiest first corner; happy for the team; had to back off (because of water pressure)
RAI: not exactly what we want; ok start
ROS: Lewis is going to come back of course

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