Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

sunnuntai 12. lokakuuta 2014

Russian GP: Hamilton cruised to victory!

Before the inaugural Russian GP got underway there was a touching moment when all the F1 drivers gathered in the start line and formed a circle to express their support for Jules Bianchi, who was seriously injured last Sunday. It was a great moment of solidarity and unity. That moment naturally vanished when the lights went out and they were all racing each other.

The start was thrilling. Rosberg tried to get past his team-mate already in the first corner but he locked up his front tyres and went off track. The German managed to stay ahead of Hamilton but he had to give the position back to the Briton as Rosberg had gained advantage when cutting the corner. Locking up the tyres lead to a flat spot, which caused a lot of vibration and Rosberg had to pit already on the second lap! Rosberg switched to the white-marked medium tyres and he intended to go till the end with that set of tyres. However, Rosberg dropped down to P20. Bottas on the other hand, managed to maintain his 3rd place at the start and he could almost match Hamilton´s pace.

The big-name fallers at the start were Red Bull´s Ricciardo and Ferrari´s Kimi Räikkönen. Ricciardo dropped down behind his team-mate Vettel and Kimi lost three positions ending up in P11. Toro Rosso´s Kvyat also got a poor start from P5 and lost many positions on the opening laps. Alonso on the other hand took a stunning start and made his way up to P4. Ricciardo was called to the pits already on lap 11 for a fresh set of medium tyres. So Hamilton was leading the race with Bottas 2nd, Button 3rd and Alonso 4th. Rosberg was making his way through the field slowly but consistently.

As the tyre degradation was so low most drivers had a one-stop strategy. Bottas pitted in the halfway point of the race as his lap times started to get slower. The Finn rejoined the track right ahead of Rosberg who had pitted already on the second lap of the race. Rosberg´s overtaking move on Bottas looked easy although Bottas had quite decent pace. But somehow Rosberg managed to surprise the Finn and the Williams driver had no chance to defend his position. So it was double lead for the Mercedes duo again! At this stage I was sure that Rosberg would have to pit for a second time. I thought there was no way the tyres could last for over 50 laps!

By lap 38 Sauber´s Gutierrez in P9 still hadn´t pitted. Kimi put pressure on the Mexican and managed to overtake the Sauber driver. It was great to see that overtaking wasn´t completely impossible although Ferrari were clearly lacking straight line speed. In the Russian GP there was no need to save tyres but on the Russian soil fuel management played a major role. Force India´s Perez was told on the team radio that his fuel consumption was critical and the Mexican had to slow down to save fuel.

When there were 10 laps to go Hamilton had a 19-second lead over his team-mate, who had a 5-secong gap to Bottas in P3. At this time I was convinced that Bottas could chase down Rosberg, who had already over 41 laps old tyres! But against all odds Rosberg could push really hard and there was no sign of dying tyres. Bottas set the fastest lap time of the race on the final lap but couldn´t reach Rosberg. Unbelievable but true: Rosberg drove 52 laps with the same set of tyres, which hasn´t been done in any previous races this year!

Actually I found this race a bit boring (although I was very happy that there were no crashes to the walls!): once again 1-2 for Mercedes, who secured the constructors´ championship in Russia! Bottas completed the podium. It was a great effort from the Finn once again but in my heart I had hoped that he could have even split the Mercedes duo if not challenge both of them for victory. You could feel the significance of the inaugural Russian GP as it was the president of Russia Vladimir Putin himself who came on the podium to give the trophy to the race winner Hamilton!

McLaren succeeded well on the Russian soil as Button finished 4th and his Danish team-mate Magnussen 5th. The Dane made excellent job as he had started to the race from P11 due to the grid penalty. Alonso finished 6th right ahead of Red Bull´s Ricciardo, who had no chance to even try to overtake the Spaniard. This was quite a lame race for my two favourite drivers: Sebastian finished 8th and Kimi 9th. Perez in his Force India scored the very last point finishing 10th. Red Bull were lacking performance badly, so were Ferrari.

There´s now a 17-point difference between the Mercedes team-mates in favour of Hamilton. Ricciardo is already 92 point off the championship leader Hamilton but the Australian still has a mathematical chance to win the championship. Bottas is currently in the fourth place 54 points off Ricciardo. So now there´ll be a 3-week break until the F1 circus moves to Austin. Hopefully by then there´re some good news to tell about Bianchi!

Ei kommentteja:

Lähetä kommentti