Grand Prix of Russia – Race


The weather forecast included a risk of showers but it looks like it’s going to be a warm, dry race.
Qualifying was pretty straightforward other than VET struggling to set a lap time in Q1/

The four Honda-powered cars took new engine components and the associated penalties.
However, the floor of ALB’s Red Bull was replaced for a different specification under parc ferme conditions and so he is required to start from pit lane.

Grid: LEC, HAM, VET, BOT, SAI, HUL, NOR, GRO, VER*, RIC, PER, GIO, MAG, STR, RAI, GAS*, RUS, KUB, KVY*, ALB*
*Engine penalties applied
HAM and BOT will start the race on medium compound tyres; the rest of the top 10 will be on softs.

LEC leads everyone (except ALB) away on the formation lap

01/53: VET attacks LEC off the grid; takes P1
SAI challenging HAM but the Mercedes stays P3
Contact between GRO and RIC
GRO in the tyre wall
RIC has a puncture
Safety Car deployed

02[SC]: KUB pits; hard tyres going on
GRO’s Haas is lifted away
Replay shows RAI jumped the start

03[SC]: VET, LEC, HAM, SAI, BOT, NOR, PER, VER, HUL, MAG, STR, GAS, GIO, KVY, RAI, RUS, ALB, KUB, RIC; retirements: GRO
Replay shows it was GIO, RIC and GRO going 3-wide into Turn 4 – looks like a racing incident
SC in at the end of this lap
SAI already looking to pass HAM

04: MAG steals P9 from HUL

05: VET fastest lap 1:39.750
GIO, RIC, GRO incident – no investigation necessary
RAI takes P13 from KVY, but KVY reclaims the position

06: DRS now enabled
Radio for LEC – “Sebastien will let you by next lap”
RAI under investigation for false start

07: VET f/lap 1:39.350
BOT inside SAI for P4
VET opening a gap over LEC – so much for letting him by

08: VER takes P7 from PER

09: HUL closing on PER
RAI given drive-through penalty for false start
Radio for LEC – “Charles we will do the swap later on, Lewis is too close”; “I completely understand, it’s no problems. I know the situation”

10/53: VET, LEC, HAM, BOT, SAI, NOR, VER, PER, HUL, MAG, STR, GAS, KVY, RAI, ALB, RUS, RIC, GIO, KUB
VET f/lap 1:39.016

11: RAI serves his drive-through penalty

12: VET has 2.5sec lead over LEC; HAM is 3.5sec behind LEC
VER past NOR for P6

13: VET f/lap 1:38.820

14: LEC falling back from VET

15/53: VET, LEC, HAM, BOT, SAI, VER, NOR, HUL, PER, MAG, STR, GAS, KVY, ALB, RUS, RIC, GIO, KUB, RAI; retirements: GRO
VET f/lap 1:38.534
HAM f/lap 1:38/533
Radio from HAM – “Those guys have some serious pace man!” … but he’s closing on LEC

16: HAM f/lap 1:38.319
Radio for LEC – “You can push now”

17: VET f/lap 1:38.245
HUL pits; he’s dropped off the jack; rejoins P17

18: Radio for HAM – “Degradation looks low; we’re going for target +15”; “I am feeling some deg”
ALB passes GAS for P11
VER takes P5 from SAI

19: GAS has reclaimed P11
Radio from GAS – sounds like a brake problem

20/53: VET, LEC, HAM, BOT, VER, SAI, NOR, PER, MAG, STR, GAS, ALB, KVY, RUS, RIC, GIO, HUL, RAI, KUB

21: HUL takes P16 from GIO
NOR pits from P7; mediums go on; rejoins P8

22: VET closing to lap KUB
SAI pits from P6; mediums; rejoins P12, still ahead of NOR

23: LEC pits from P2; mediums; rejoins P4
Radio for HAM – “keep your head down; we are going to be extending”

24: VET stays out, pushing to extend his lead
Radio from VET – “my rears are falling off now” … are they really or is that VET just telling his engineer to pit him before LEC gets ahead?

25/53: ALB attacking GAS again; GAS defends; ALB makes it stick, takes P9
LEC f/lap 1:37.105
Black and white flag for HUL

26: RIC pits, retires

Half-distance

27: VET pits; mediums; rejoins P4, behind LEC

28: Radio from VET complaining of lack of power; pulls off and parks the Ferrari
Virtual Safety Car because of where VET has stopped
Stream of cars heading into the pits – STR, KVY, RUS, GIO

29[VSC]: HAM pits from P1; rejoins still P1
BOT pits too; rejoins P3
VER pits too
VSC ends
RUS is in the tyre wall – looks like a brake problem
Safety Car deployed

30/53[SC]: HAM, LEC, BOT, VER, ALB, SAI, MAG, NOR, PER, HUL, STR, KVY, GAS, GIO, RAI, KUB; retirements: RUS, VET, RIC, GRO
Did VET stop somewhere he knew would cause the VSC and ruin LEC’s race?
Williams have retired KUB as a precautionary measure after RUS’ brake issue

31[SC]: LEC pits; softs go on (same as HAM and BOT); rejoins P3
RAI pits – front jack man takes a tumble

32[SC]: Radio from HAM – “Is the Ferrari still behind us?”; “Yes, the field is yet to compress, pretty much everyone took the safety car pit”
SC in at the end of this lap

33: HAM scampers away
LEC all over the rear of BOT
VER locks up
ALB steals P8 from PER

34: LEC closing on BOT
ALB and PER past NOR at the restart

35/53: HAM, BOT, LEC, VER, SAI, MAG, NOR, ALB, PER, STR, HUL, GAS, KVY, RAI, GIO; retirements: KUB, RUS, VET, RIC, GRO
DRS now enabled after the SC

36: HAM f/lap 1:37.150
LEC using DRS, takes a look but BOT defends P2

37: HAM f/lap
GAS attacks teammate KVY but locks up, cuts a corner

38: HAM f/lap 1:36.639

39: LEC under 1sec behind BOT so he has DRS again

40/53: HAM, BOT, LEC, VER, SAI, MAG, ALB, PER, NOR, HUL, STR, KVY, RAI, GAS, GIO – just 15 runners left

41: Radio for HAM – “strat 7; BOT under pressure”; “Leave it to me mate”
ALB tucked up behind MAG; ALB runs wide

43: HAM f/lap 1:36.467
ALB passes MAG for P6
HUL closing on NOR for P9

44 = 10 laps left: LEC’s had to back off to let his tyres recover
MAG runs wide, PER steals P7

45/53: HAM, BOT, LEC, VER, SAI, ALB, PER, MAG, NOR, HUL, STR, KVY, RAI, GAS, GIO; retirements: KUB, RUS, VET, RIC, GRO

46: MAG given 5sec time penalty for cutting Turn 2 – that’ll drop him down to ~P11, I think

47: HAM f/lap 1:36.312
Radio from LEC – “Give me everything you have!”

48: My FantasyGP prediction for the podium is HAM, LEC, BOT so I’m not sure if I want LEC to pass BOT 🙂
I also predicted VER will get fastest lap … and it looks like he has time for a pit stop for softs to take f/lap from HAM 🙂

49: ALB takes P5 from SAI

50/53: HAM, BOT, LEC, VER, ALB, SAI, PER, MAG*, NOR, HUL, STR, KVY, RAI, GAS, GIO (*MAG has 5sec penalty to be applied)
LEC pushing hard; runs wide

51: Radio from LEC suggesting he slows down on the next lap and then goes for fastest lap
Why haven’t Red Bull pitted VER for new softs so he can go for f/lap?
Ah, ALB is close enough to prevent VER getting a free stop

52: HAM f/lap 1:35.761

53 = final lap: LEC is putting in fastest sector times

HAM takes the chequered flag
BOT P2
LEC P3 but doesn’t get f/lap

Provisional result: HAM, BOT, LEC, VER, ALB, SAI, PER, [MAG*] NOR, MAG, HUL; STR, KVY, RAI, GAS, GIO (*MAG 5sec penalty drops him from P8 to P9)
DNF: KUB, RUS, VET, RIC, GRO
Fastest lap: HAM (1:35.761)

Radio from HAM – “What an effort guys, that’s exactly what we needed, we never give up!”
That’s 84 wins for HAM; his 4th in Russia

HAM – “It’s incredible to have this result today given how fast [Ferrari] were off the start. It was hard just to keep up!”
BOT – “I just had to keep Charles behind and just managed to do it so not bad”
LEC – “The tactic was me giving the slipstream so we were one-two at the end of the straight, but I don’t know – I need to talk to my team about it…”

Well, I thought for a moment that (finally) my predictions would come through, but in the end I got P1 right and nothing else – ho hum 🙂