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Valtteri Bottas wins Russian Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas wins the Russian Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton’s penalty

 

Valtteri Bottas wins the Russian Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton served a +10 sec penalty, with Max Verstappen separating the two Mercedes.

All eyes were on Hamilton who looked set to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of the most career wins, but his chances vanished before the race had even started.

The British driver was handed a +10 sec penalty after doing a practice start outside the designated areas – breaking two violations. 

This added extra pressure on the shoulders of Hamilton, as he began on the softer-set of tyres after nearly missing out on Q3 yesterday in the qualifying sessions. So, he was on the worst strategy compared to Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen, pitting earlier and managing his tyres for around 40 laps. 

Hamilton could have taken his penalty after the race was completed. However, the engineers decided to pit, despite reservations from the British driver, he took the 10 secs in his pit-stop. 

A safety car on the opening lap meant Hamilton couldn’t muster a decent lead at the front and once he pitted, he came out in 12th – but opted for the harder tyres for a one-stop strategy.

It was the Finn’s first win since the opener in Austria at the Red Bull Ring. Whereas this was Verstappen’s first podium finish in two races after consecutive DNF’s in Italy.

Bottas now sits 44 points behind his fellow Mercedes teammate, whereas Verstappen shortens his gap but still remains 77 off – 33 from other Mercedes driver in 2nd. 

 

The feisty midfield battle

While the top three drivers were in a league of their own, eyes were on the feisty midfield battle with six different constructors in the top 10 starting grid. 

However, two accidents in the space of two corners on the opening lap saw a whole-sale of change across in the top half. Carlos Sainz went wide on turn two, smashing his front-left tyre into the barrier – a mistake which the Spaniard owned up-to.

Then, Charles Leclerc and Lance Stroll touched tyres, but unfortunately for the Racing Point, his car spun into the barrier, forcing the Canadian to retire. 

His teammate, Sergio Perez, was the lone-ranger in the Russian Grand Prix, starting and finishing 4th, while the same goes for Daniel Ricciardo in 5th, who couldn’t catch the Mexican. 

Charles Leclerc impresses in a slow Ferrari

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc managed to crawl his way into 6th after the events on the opening lap and earned some valuable points with the sixth slowest car on the grid. 

Renault had a good weekend in Sochi and ended the Russian GP with two cars in the top 10 after Esteban Ocon finished in 7th – disappointed not to catch the Ferrari in front of him. 

Both AlphaTauri’s finished 8th and 9th – Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly respectively – with the latter overtaking Alex Albon and Lando Norris in the final 10 laps for a points finish. 

Norris, who was caught up in his teammate’s accident on lap one, had the hard-set of tyres for over 40 laps and eventually lost grip, allowing the Red Bull of Albon to pass the British driver, as he finished 15th. 

The Thai-British driver ended in 10th after having to start in 15th for a five-place grid penalty after changing gearbox. However, Albon was given a scare on the chequered flag after he was given a +5sec penalty but did not affect his final position. 

 

Top 10 result for Russian Grand Prix

1st – Valtteri Bottas

2nd – Max Verstappen

3rd – Lewis Hamilton

4th – Sergio Perez

5th – Daniel Ricciardo

6th – Charles Leclerc

7th – Esteban Ocon

8th – Daniil Kvyat

9th – Pierre Gasly

10th – Alex Albon

 

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