Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

sunnuntai 1. toukokuuta 2016

Russian GP: Kimi made it 700th podium finish for Ferrari!

Russian GP had a shocking start. First of all, Kimi had a brilliant start from P3 and the Iceman managed to get past his compatriot Bottas. Kimi´s teammate Sebastian took an excellent start as well, but going into Turn 2, Red Bull´s Kvyat locked his rears and the Russian hit the rear of Sebastian´s Ferrari. That wasn´t all: going into Turn 3 the Russian hit Sebastian´s Margherita again! Sebastian span and hit the barriers, which meant the German´s race was over. How utterly frustrating! In China Sebastian had an incident with Kvyat at the start, which lead into the collision between the Ferrari teammates and now this! We heard Sebastian´s extremely angry team radio message, which was almost entirely beeped due to the massive use of swearing words. I was so so gutted for Sebastian! This was already the second retirement for him this season. In addition to destroying Sebastian´s race, Kvyat also ruined his teammate´s race, as Ricciardo also had to pit for a new front wing due to the first-corner incident. Force India´s Hulkenberg and Manor´s Haryanto also collided in Turn 2 and they were both out of the race. There was so much debris on the track that safety car was deployed.

Hamilton had already made his way up to fifth by then. When safety car came in a few laps later, Kimi got a poor re-start and Bottas managed to take the second place back from Kimi. Rosberg in the lead started to increase the gap to his rivals right away. However, there was a thrilling and intense battle for the second place between Bottas, Kimi and Hamilton. On lap 7 Kimi made a small mistake, and Hamilton used his chance immediately. Kimi was unable to prevent Hamilton from overtaking him. Only a moment later Hamilton was putting pressure for Bottas. The Finn, however, defended his position extremely well.

Bottas was the first top driver to pit on lap 17 for a fresh set of soft tyres. Williams made an excellent job, and Valtteri´s pit stop was extremely fast. Mercedes had to react, and Hamilton was called into the pits on the following lap. In spite of the good pit stop, Hamilton rejoined the track behind Bottas. However, Williams´ pace wasn´t quite as good on the soft tyres, and Hamilton made a successful overtaking move on the Finn in the DRS zone. It seemed as if overtaking the Finnish Williams pilot was actually quite easy for the Briton. Kimi pitted a few laps later for a fresh set of soft tyres as well. Hamilton managed to keep the Iceman behind him, but Kimi rejoined the track right ahead of Bottas. After the first -and for the most drivers the only- pit stops Rosberg had a firm lead in the race, Hamilton was second, Kimi third and Bottas fourth. There were solid gaps between all top four drivers, and it seemed there would be no real battle for positions in the lead.

Toro Rosso´s Verstappen was driving a superb race in P6, until he suddenly faced an engine failure on lap 34. It was such a disappointment, as the Dutchman would have scored valuable points in the race! Already before the race he had complained on the team radio about some issue with his power unit.

With some 15 laps to go, Hamilton was driving aggressively and cutting the gap to his teammate in the lead. Suddenly we heard a team radio message, where Hamilton was told about a water pressure issue in his car. So it seemed that more dark clouds were about to gather above Hamilton towards the end of the race. The gap to Rosberg started to increase immediately. Although Hamilton was told a few laps later that the water pressure issue had stabilised, nothing could stop Rosberg from winning the race; it was the seventh consecutive victory for the German and fourth this season! Rosberg also took the so-called grand slam: pole position, victory, lead every lap of the race and set the fastest lap time. This was also the 25th 1-2 for the current Mercedes teammates, which means that Hamilton and Rosberg are the most victorious teammates of all time!

Kimi completed the podium, which was the maximum result the Iceman could achieve today. Bottas finished fourth, followed by his Brazilian teammate Massa in P5. Alonso took excellent P6 for McLaren. Another positive surprise was Renault´s Kevin Magnussen, who finished in P7 today. Grosjean took P8 for Haas, which was an impressive result as well. Rosberg has the maximum points in the championship standings; 100 points to Hamilton´s 57. Kimi is currently third with 43 points. Sebastian is now 10 points down on his teammate. In terms of the constructors´ standings, Mercedes has already double the points compared to their closest rival Ferrari!

I would love to hear the conversation that Sebastian and Kvyat are possibly having tonight... I still don´t understand, what the Russian was thinking in those first corners today!

P.S. You can also read my thoughts on the Russian GP weekend here:

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