Grand Prix of Russia – Race

Three Brits in the top 4 grid places, but not in the order you’d expect! A damp qualifying session led to an exciting Q3; the switch from inters to dry tyres saw HAM tag the wall at pit-in, breaking his front wing.
Provisional grid: NOR, SAI, RUS, HAM, RIC, ALO, BOT, STR, PER, OCO, VET, GAS, TSU, LAT*, LEC*, RAI, SCH, GIO, MAZ, VER**
*penalties to be applied

Mercedes have put new power unit components on BOT’s car, so he has engines penalties too [FIA]
Grid: NOR, SAI, RUS, HAM, RIC, ALO, STR, PER, OCO, VET, GAS, TSU, RAI, SCH, MAZ, BOT, GIO, LAT, LEC, VER

Air temperature 19°C; track 22°C; 70% chance of rain during the race
NOR leads everyone away on the formation lap
Radio for NOR telling him rain is expected in 5-10mins and should be quite light
VER reports an issue with his battery not charging… but then it seems to be ok

01/53: NOR leads into Turn 1 but SAI takes P1 before T2
ALO cuts across T2
RIC inside HAM
BOT up to P15
RIC attacking ALO now; takes P5

02: SAI, NOR, RUS, STR, RIC, ALO, HAM, PER, OCO, RAI, VET, LEC, MAZ, GAS, BOT, LAT, VER, SCH, GIO, TSU
HAM takes P4 from ALO

03: HAM fastest lap 1:42.034

04: PER f/lap 1:41.628
VER closing on BOT
BOT past MAZ for P14
VER past MAZ too

05/53: SAI, NOR, RUS, STR, RIC, HAM, PER, ALO, OCO, RAI, VET, LEC, GAS, BOT, VER, MAZ, LAT, GIO, TSU, SCH
BOT f/lap 1:41.437
Radio for STR telling him rain less likely so they “need to do something about RUS”

06: SAI f/lap 1:41.396
There’s a train from ALO (P8) down to VER (P15)
VER passes BOT to take P14 – BOT didn’t really try to defend that

07: Radio for SAI, “Plan A plus 3 (laps)”

09: VER inside GAS to P13

10/53: SAI, NOR, RUS, STR, RIC, HAM, PER, ALO, OCO, RAI, VET, LEC, VER, GAS, BOT, MAZ, LAT, GIO, TSU, SCH
NOR closing up on SAI for another attack
VER takes P12 from LEC
Radio from HAM, complaining about graining on his front-left tyre

11: NOR all over SAI’s rear
GIO takes P17 from LAT

12: NOR reports “my front-left is completely gone”

13: STR pits from P4; hard tyres go on; rejoins P15
GIO takes P16 from MAZ
NOR sneaks past SAI to steal P1
VER past VET for P10

14: NOR f/lap 1:41.142
RUS pits from P3; hards go on; rejoins P15, behind STR
VER takes P9 from LEC

15/53: SAI pits from P2; hards go on; rejoins P13
STR f/lap 1:40.793

16: OCO and RAI pit; rejoin P15 and P16

17: VER f/lap 1:40.295 – he’s P6 due to the early pit stops

18: VER f/lap 1:40.272
There’s a lot of moisture in the air – is the rain imminent?

19: VER f/lap 1:40.178

20/53: NOR, RIC, HAM, PER, ALO, VER, LEC, VET, GAS, BOT, SAI, STR, RUS, GIO, OCO, RAI, SCH, LAT, TSU, MAZ
HAM has been on RIC’s rear wing for a few laps – he needs to attack soon or he’ll have to back off
Radio for BOT (P10), “Still looking at a Top 5 finish”

21: Radio from HAM, “Get ready to undercut him” seems odd to announce that … or is it a dummy?

22: SkySports report it’s drizzling in the pit lane
Radio for NOR, “We want to extend but no risk”

23: RIC pits from P2; hards go on; very slow stop; rejoins P14

24: Radio from VER, “I can’t turn the car”

25/53: NOR, HAM, PER, ALO, VER, LEC, VET, GAS, BOT, SAI, STR, RUS, RIC, OCO, RAI, GIO, LAT, TSU, MAZ, SCH
HAM f/lap 1:39.908

26: RIC f/lap 1:39.596
HAM locks up his front-left

27: HAM pits from P2; keeps it out of the wall; mediums off, hards on; rejoins P9 between STR and RIC
VER and VET pit too; VER rejoins P12, VET P16
SAI past BOT for P6
Radio for NOR asking how many laps he can do at this pace; he says he feels he could do another 10

28: Radio for NOR, “100% pace” – i.e. take everything out of these tyres

29: NOR pits from P1; clean stop; rejoins P4
BOT pits too; mediums go on; rejoins P16
VER f/lap 1:38.396

30/53: PER, ALO, LEC, NOR, GAS, SAI, HAM, STR, RIC, VER, RUS, OCO, RAI, VET, GIO, BOT, LAT, TSU, MAZ, SCH
Top 3 are yet to pit
VER f/lap 1:38.396 – is he going to 2-stop?
HAM takes P6 from SAI
HAM easily past GAS (on old tyres) for P5

31: HAM f/lap 1:38.244
Well, is it going to rain?

32: RIC steals P8 from STR
HAM f/lap 1:38.009
VER easily past STR for P9

34: NOR takes P3 from LEC
SCH pits, retires the Haas

35/53: PER, ALO, NOR, LEC, HAM, SAI, RIC, VER, STR, RUS, OCO, RAI, VET, BOT, GIO, GAS, LAT, TSU, MAZ; out: SCH
HAM f/lap 1:38.007
Toto Wolff on the radio to BOT, “get those guys in front of you for points”
HAM past LEC for P4

36: LEC pits from P5; rejoins P13
Radio from HAM asking about his pace, “Yeah pace is very good Lewis”

37: PER and ALO pit; slow stop for PER; PER rejoins P5, ALO P7, with VER between them

38: HAM f/lap 1:37.770 – he’s just over 2sec behind NOR
ALO past VER for P6

39: HAM f/lap 1:37.689
Will it be NOR’s first F1 win or HAM’s 100th?
LEC takes P12 from VET
NOR laps MAZ

40/53: NOR, HAM, SAI, RIC, PER, ALO, VER, STR, RUS, OCO, LEC, RAI, VET, BOT, GAS, LAT, TSU, GIO, MAZ; out: SCH
NOR f/lap 1:37.423
PER closing on RIC

41: PER has a look but RIC defends P4

42: NOR’s lead 1.7sec over HAM
LEC dives inside RUS for P9
Radio for HAM, “Threat of rain towards the end” – is that wishful thinking?

44 = 10 laps left: NOR’s lead 1.3sec
VET past RAI for P12
Radio from RUS reporting “Spots of rain in Turn 10”
HAM now with 1sec of NOR so he’ll have DRS
LEC takes P8 from STR

45/53: NOR, HAM, SAI, RIC, PER, ALO, VER, LEC, STR, RUS, VET, OCO, RAI, BOT, GAS, LAT, TSU, GIO, MAZ; out: SCH
PER around the outside of RIC for P4

46: There are umbrellas going up in the stands
Radio from NOR, “It’s spitting quite a bit”
Radio from SAI, “Get ready for inters”

47: HAM within DRS range of NOR
VET takes P10 from RUs
NOR runs wide in Turn 5 but just stays ahead of HAM
HAM under 0.5sec behind NOR, right under his rear wing

48: RUS, BOT, RAI all pit
PER past SAI for P3
Brief yellow flag
NOR runs wide again
Radio from HAM, “It’s pretty slippery”
Race control: DRS disabled

49: Radio for HAM telling him to box for inters but he stays out
VET tries to pass teammate STR but STR closes the door; VET taps the wall but they both continue
VER, SAI, RIC all pit
Radio for NOR asking about inters; “NO!”

50/53: HAM pits but NOR stayed out; HAM rejoins still P2
Radio for HAM telling him there’s more rain coming
MAZ unlaps himself
GAS spins
STR slides off
VER takes P6 from VET
LAT out?

51: Radio from VER, “Heavy rain!”
NOR slithers off track but returns
HAM takes P1 from NOR
Radio from NOR, “It’s full wets boys – I can’t do this”

52: It’s impossible to keep up with all the changes! Lots of people running wide
LEC slides off, barely stops short of the wall

53: NOR pits from P3; rejoins P7
Replay shows NOR crossed the pit entry line – he’ll probably get a penalty 🙁

HAM takes the chequered flag – his 100th F1 victory
VER P2 having started P20

Provisional result: HAM, VER, SAI, RIC, BOT, ALO, NOR, RAI, PER, RUS; STR, VET, GAS, OCO, LEC, GIO, TSU, MAZ
DNF: LAT, SCH
Fastest lap: NOR f/lap 1:37.423

Will NOR have to see the stewards for crossing the pit-in line?
Yes, race control announce “Pit entry incident involving Car 4 (NOR) will be investigated after the race”

Interviews:
HAM: “It’s taken a long time to get to 100 and at times, I wasn’t sure it would come. Lando did such an amazing job, he had incredible pace. It was bittersweet to see my old team ahead. The team made a great call right at the end, I didn’t want to let Lando go but again I didn’t know what the weather was doing.”
VER: “It was pretty tricky on the in-lap to make the call for inters, it was really slippery. If we’d have gone one lap earlier you’d have destroyed the inters. The race itself was not very easy, luckily with the rain, it helped us to make that last jump. With the penalty we had, to lose only one spot basically – when i woke up, I definitely didn’t expect this result.”
SAI: “I got round Lando into Turn 2, but then graining came and we had to go early onto the hard. The rain came at the right time as my hard tyres were going away. We boxed at exactly the right time and managed to get back onto the podium.”
NOR: “I don’t know where to start. I made a decision just as much as the team. They thought I could box, my decision, I thought it was the right way to go. It’s pure heartbreak. I did everything I could, a bit of luck – I was told the rain was the same amount, if it had been the same amount, staying out would have been the right decision.”
Toto Wolff: “You do realise you have been part of a journey that no other sportsman in Formula 1 has done before. The human aspect of it is special… We made the call, you have to pit. We are racing Verstappen [as well] and he made the call to pit so we had to cover him as well. From the race lead, it is a harder call to make.”
HAM: “I was a bit in no man’s land in terms of knowing where I was, and when I came out [of the pits] I was just like head down. And then when the rain came, so worried, you don’t want to put it in the wall. Just so grateful. The Red Bulls are so fast, they’ve been quickest for most of the year. Mega damage limitation. We’ve got to see what we can do moving forwards.”

[2021 calendar] [2021 line-up] [Points standings]

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3 thoughts on “Grand Prix of Russia – Race”

  1. “Norris [..] escaped with a reprimand after crossing the pit entry line twice on his way in.”
    “Russell took the final point as behind, Aston Martin racer Stroll had a calamitous end to the race, hitting team mate Vettel (P12), Pierre Gasly of AlphaTauri (P13) and spinning on his way to P11 – with a 10-second penalty for his troubles after the race.”
    https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/article.hamilton-takes-100th-f1-victory-after-late-rain-shower-denies-long-time.4pIst5Rju75ZKdmtcfIJpE.html

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