Lewis Hamilton wins F1 Russian GP after Mercedes team orders
Lewis Hamilton extended his Formula 1 title advantage over Sebastian Vettel with victory in the Russian Grand Prix after Mercedes ordered Valtteri Bottas to move aside.
Bottas led from pole and was running in the de facto race lead, behind the yet-to-pit Max Verstappen, when he was told to let Hamilton past to protect him from Vettel.
Hamilton’s eighth victory of the season means his lead over Vettel is now 50 points with five races to go and 125 points up for grabs after Bottas, who sacrificed a first win of 2018 for his team-mate, restricted the Ferrari driver to third.
Bottas held his lead at the start as a good Vettel launch allowed him to attack Hamilton through the Turn 1 kink, but Hamilton regrouped in Bottas’s slipstream and rebuffed the Ferrari.
Hamilton had such a good run behind his team-mate that he closed right up and locked up slightly under braking for Turn 2, which allowed Vettel to attack again through the ensuing long left-hander, but Hamilton held the place.
Bottas led until pitting on lap 12, with Vettel stopping on the next lap and Mercedes keeping Hamilton out another lap longer.
Mercedes told Bottas to slow down and back Vettel up, but it was not enough to prevent Vettel undercutting Hamilton and stealing second.
Hamilton moved quickly to respond and was in Vettel’s slipstream two laps later on the run Turn 2 but Vettel appeared to move to the right twice in the process.
Hamilton retaliated with a good run out of the corner and toughed it out on the outside through the long left-hand Turn 3 and nailed Vettel on the inside of Turn 4.
Hamilton caught and followed Bottas for several laps but started to develop a blister on his left-rear tyre, not helped by Bottas being backed up by the long-running Verstappen.
Mercedes acted on lap 25, telling Bottas to slow and let Hamilton by at Turn 13, which he did.
Hamilton moved into second but did not start attacking Verstappen, which frustrated Bottas and led Mercedes strategist James Vowles to tell Bottas over the radio that he understood his concerns but had to make the team orders decision to secure Hamilton’s position.
Verstappen continued to lead with relative comfort and extended a stunning first stint in which he rose from 19th to fifth in just seven laps.
Hamilton reported engine "hesitations" but as those concerns appeared to ease he attacked Verstappen on lap 42 but had the door slammed in his face.
Verstappen finally stopped a lap later, releasing the Mercedes pair with 10 laps to go to ease clear to a comfortable one-two. Bottas asked how they would finish the race, indicating he wanted to be let back ahead, but was told they would maintain position.
Kimi Raikkonen was a muted fourth after Verstappen lacked the pace on fresh ultrasofts to mount a challenge in the closing stages.
Daniel Ricciardo made it back to sixth in the second Red Bull, having been passed by Verstappen at the start and failing to replicate the speed of his team-mate’s early charge.
Charles Leclerc produced a fine drive to take seventh, having ran as high as fifth early on, and claimed his first unofficial ‘Class B’ win of the season for Sauber.
Kevin Magnussen claimed eighth for Haas after fending off the Force Indias for the duration of the race, including an on-the-limit defence against Esteban Ocon early on.
Ocon finished ninth ahead of Sergio Perez having briefly led Perez ahead to try, unsuccessful, to pass the Haas.
The race featured only two retirements: Toro Rosso team-mates Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley suffered independent spins almost simultaneously but made it back to the pits to retire their cars having suffered brake failures.
The causes was not immediately determined but Toro Rosso had changed the rear brake duct blanking before the start.
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||53||31.016s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||53||1m20.451s|
|8||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||52||1 Lap|
|9||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||52||1 Lap|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||52||1 Lap|
|11||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||52||1 Lap|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||52||1 Lap|
|13||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||52||1 Lap|
|14||Fernando Alonso||McLaren/Renault||52||1 Lap|
|15||Lance Stroll||Williams/Mercedes||52||1 Lap|
|16||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren/Renault||51||2 Laps|
|17||Carlos Sainz||Renault||51||2 Laps|
|18||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams/Mercedes||51||2 Laps|
|–||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||4||Brakes|
|–||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||4||Brakes|
Oggi in qualifica la macchina è andata meglio che in tutto il weekend finora. Durante il mio ultimo tentativo in Q3, stavo facendo un ottimo giro, ma poi una delle Mercedes ha rallentato davanti a me e questo ha compromesso il mio giro. Il feeling con la vettura era buono, ma ovviamente non è bastato. In generale, sembra che qui abbiamo un certo svantaggio, che ci portiamo dietro dall’inizio del week end. Di certo non è l’ideale, ma è così. Questo non è un tracciato particolarmente adatto per i sorpassi, ma domani faremo del nostro meglio e vedremo quello che accadrà.
Valtteri Bottas beats Lewis Hamilton to Russian Grand Prix F1 pole
Valtteri Bottas claimed his first Formula 1 pole position in almost three months in qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix, leading a Mercedes lockout of the front row.
Bottas held a slender advantage over team-mate Lewis Hamilton of just 0.004s after the first runs in Q3, with everyone using the hypersoft Pirellis.
But on the second run, Hamilton was forced to abort his lap after setting the fastest time in the opening sector thanks to running wide in the middle sector.
This gave Bottas a clear run to post a 1m31.387s lap to take pole by 0.145s.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was third, 0.556s slower than Bottas, and admitted over the radio that there was "one-and-a-half, two tenths, but not enough," left in the car after making a small mistake.
Kimi Raikkonen had a difficult Q3, complaining on his first run that his set of tyres was not as good as the one used in the previous segment of qualifying, then failing to improve on is second run.
The top four will all start on ultrasoft Pirellis having used them to set their Q2 times, with the rest of the top six starting on hypersofts.
With Red Bull missing from Q3 thanks to grid penalties for engine part changes, meaning the team didn’t bother running in Q2, Kevin Magnussen was best of the rest for Haas in fifth place, 1.794s off pole.
That put him comfortably ahead of the Force India of Esteban Ocon, who shaded Sauber’s Charles Leclerc for sixth by just 0.006s.
Sergio Perez was eighth, with Romain Grosjean ninth ahead of Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson.
Q2 was rendered an irrelevance because only 10 cars ran, inevitably meaning they all reached the final segment of qualifying.
The Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo sat out the session because they will drop to the back with engine penalties, as will Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly.
Renault pairing Carlos Sainz Jr and Nico Hulkenberg also did not run because they are guaranteed to start 11th and 12th with a free tyre choice behind six midfield rivals who will all start on the hypersoft Pirellis.
All five of those who did not take to the track were classified in positions 11th to 15th based on their Q1 pace.
Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley was the fastest of those eliminated in Q1 in 16th.
The New Zealander, who will drop to the back thanks to Honda engine component changes earlier in the weekend, was unable to improve on his second run after backing off for the yellow flag caused by Sergey Sirotkin spinning his Williams at Turn 9.
Fernando Alonso was 17th fastest, almost half-a-second slower than Hartley.
Alonso also has engine-related grid penalties but is not due to start on the back row thanks to his car, driven by Lando Norris, being the first on track in FP1 of the five cars carrying penalties – which impacts the order of the five cars serving grid drops.
Sirotkin’s first-run time was good enough for 18th ahead of the second McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne, while Lance Stroll was slowest after also encountering yellow flags because of Sirotkin on his final lap.
Russian GP grid
|6||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m33.413s||2.026s|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m33.563s||2.176s|
|17||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||–||–|
|18||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m35.037s||3.650s|
|19||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||–||–|
|20||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||–||–|
Russian Grand Prix FP3: Lewis Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2
Lewis Hamilton exerted his dominance over the field with the fastest time for the final Formula 1 practice session for this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.
Hamilton and his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished 1-2, while Ferrari was struggling for outright pace with Sebastian Vettel third ahead of his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen – both six tenths down on Hamilton’s pace.
Despite the Ferraris setting the pace early on, Mercedes soon eclipsed them when both Bottas and Hamilton took to the track 20 minutes into the hour-long session.
Conditions on the Black Sea resort were sunnier than yesterday, with a maximum air temperature of 24 degrees C. Like Friday’s two practice sessions, this morning’s hour long period was free of incident.
Vettel’s session finished at the end of the pitlane as he was too late to make a second attempt to try a practice start and stopped his Ferrari just short of the red light.
Radio traffic between Vettel and Ferrari suggested both driver and team knew it was going to be tight to get back out, although as he was driving down the pitlane with five seconds remaining on the clock he thought they had enough time to rejoin the track.
After stopping at the line Vettel climbed out of his car and started to push it back to the garage.
When he exited the pits a few minutes earlier it was a close call as he came into the path of Daniel Ricciardo who was driving to the right of the track to stay off the racing line.
Max Verstappen was fifth quickest in his Red Bull, despite having to abort his first flying lap when he ran wide on three occasions on the lap. He finished nearly half a second ahead of his team-mate Ricciardo.
Finishing the session in an impressive seventh place – and best of the rest – was the Sauber of Charles Leclerc, one place ahead of Force India’s Esteban Ocon.
Kevin Magnussen’s Haas and the second Force India of Sergio Perez rounded out the top ten, the latter 1.8s off the outright pace of Hamilton across the 5.8km Sochi lap.
The two Renaults of Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg were 12 and 14th with Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) and Romain Grosjean (Haas) splitting them – the latter had a minor spin at the final corner at the end of the session.
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m33.937s||0.870s||11|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m34.394s||1.327s||14|
|8||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m34.809s||1.742s||16|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m34.916s||1.849s||14|
|12||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m35.125s||2.058s||21|
|16||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m36.033s||2.966s||22|
Kimi: “Di solito il venerdì è sempre difficile con la gestione degli pneumatici; poi la situazione migliora, l’asfalto si pulisce e l’aderenza è maggiore. Oggi le condizioni erano come ce le aspettavamo. Di solito il venerdì non guardiamo più di tanto ai tempi sul giro; proviamo diverse cose e impariamo da questo. Senza dubbio c’è del lavoro da fare e ci sono cose da migliorare, ma è normale. Vedremo quello che accadrà domani in qualifica, quando tutti daranno il massimo”.
Russian Grand Prix: Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two in practice
Mercedes headed the second Formula 1 practice session for this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton quicker than his team-mate Valtteri Bottas by two tenths of a second.
Their quickest laps, set on the hypersoft tyres, both came half an hour into the session during the team’s qualifying simulation runs.
Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were next up on the Sochi timesheets, with the pair both 0.4s off the best time of Hamilton’s and separated by just 0.017s.
Both Red Bull drivers will face grid penalties for engine changes this weekend.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel recorded the fifth fastest time, half a second up on his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen who was sixth.
With 20 minutes of the session remaining, Vettel had a small spin under braking for the tight Turn 13 right-hander, which was one of the few incidents in a largely uneventful session.
The Force Indias were seventh and ninth – Sergio Perez ahead of Esteban Ocon – while Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) and Marcus Ericsson (Sauber) rounded out the top 10.
Conditions on the Black Sea coastline were mild, but cloudier than this morning and despite Raikkonen reporting spots of rain early on it stayed dry throughout.
Kevin Magnussen set the 11th fastest time ahead of his Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean who was 15th on the day that both drivers were confirmed at the team for 2019.
Sauber’s Charles Leclerc finished the session in 13th, splitting the two Renaults.
Slowest of the runners were the two McLarens, Fernando Alonso ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne and finally the two Williams, with Russia’s Sergey Sirotkin, racing at his home circuit for the first time in F1, ahead of Lance Stroll.
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m33.827s||0.442s||32|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m33.844s||0.459s||37|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m35.122s||1.737s||30|
|8||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m35.137s||1.752s||28|
|9||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m35.147s||1.762s||33|
|16||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m36.024s||2.639s||29|
Russian GP F1 practice: Vettel fastest from Verstappen in FP1
Sebastian Vettel set the pace in the opening practice session for Formula 1’s Russian Grand Prix on Friday morning, ahead of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull.
The margin at the top of the timesheets between the two was just 0.050 seconds, both times being set on the hypersoft tyre.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was third quickest, 0.3s down on championship rival Vettel but like his team-mate Valtteri Bottas (who was fourth fastest) he set his best time running on the soft tyre.
Daniel Ricciardo was fifth overall, but had to sit out most of practice after he came into the pits early with smoke billowing from the rear of his Red Bull. His mechanics took the floor off his car to investigate the problem, having planned to make a floor change at that point anyway.
Ricciardo will face a grid penalty for Sunday’s race for power unit changes, along with his team-mate Verstappen and three other drivers: Toro Rosso duo Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley and also Fernando Alonso (McLaren).
Friday morning’s first practice session at Sochi took place in warm and overcast conditions without any major incident. There was spin by Williams’s Lance Stroll half an hour before the end of the session, while early on Lando Norris also looped his McLaren around at Turn 4.
Norris was one of four driver changes for the opening session of the weekend, taking over Alonso’s seat, while local driver Artem Markelov was in for Carlos Sainz Jr at Renault.
Sauber’s new signing for 2019, Antonio Giovinazzi stepped in for Marcus Ericssson while Nicholas Latifi replaced Sergio Perez at Force India for the 90-minute session.
Esteban Ocon was sixth fastest for Force India ahead of Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari – who set his best time on ultrasofts – and Kevin Magnussen’s Haas.
Nico Hulkenberg was ninth in the timesheets but was forced to pit before the end of the session with an issue with his Renault.
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m34.538s||0.050s||22|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m35.524s||1.036s||11|
|6||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m35.663s||1.175s||24|
|12||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m36.944s||2.456s||25|
|17||Nicholas Latifi||Force India/Mercedes||1m37.206s||2.718s||24|
|19||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m37.944s||3.456s||28|
Q: Ladies and gentlemen, year on year Kimi has been voted the most popular driver in Formula One and you have your fans here.
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, I’m very happy that I have here support but whatever country they come from I’m very happy to have the. Unfortunately today we could only give third place but we try next time more so.
Q: We have to talk about the podium and the lock-out on the front row. We weren’t sure how it would wind up and today both of you are on the podium. It shows a great sign for the future of this season and the championship and the excitement of it?
KR: Yeah, I think I have had a little bit of a rough start to the season. Far from ideal but this weekend for sure has been a step forward. We have been more happy with how things have been running but we still only finished third. We lost out at the start and then not a lot happened after that. We keep trying and keep improving and I’m sure we’ll get there, but it’s all about… all the small details have to be exactly there and then you will get the first place. The four or five of us are very close most of the time, so it’s the small differences that make a big difference in the end.
Q: Kimi, coming to you, similar problems to Sebastian at the start? Just talk us through your getaway.
KR: I had a pretty poor start, comparing even to Seb. Got wheelspin straight away and then I really thought I was going to lose a lot more but then luckily, both of these cars went side-by-side and I started to get the tow and I managed to stay ahead of Lewis in the end. But, I don’t know what happened. It was slippery and lost a lot, so, not ideal. If you look last year it’s all about starts, and if you lose a place in those, it’s going to be a boring race. Not a lot happened after that. Mercedes, Valtteri was a bit too fast but then we were kind of holding our positions but nothing really happened the whole race, so, yeah, all about the start. Happy for Valtteri. People always think that we have something against each other because we have come close to each other and into each other a few times but no, I’m very happy for him to win. It doesn’t mean that I’m not happy if Seb wins. It’s good for him and things will turn out to be for sure good for him. It’s going to be close between both of the Ferrari and both of the Mercedes drivers this year, so it will be exciting – but unfortunately a lot of times it will depend of what happens in a first lap. That’s how it’s going to play out. Hopefully it goes better. I’m more happy this weekend but obviously not happy to be third but this is how it goes sometimes.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) To both Ferrari drivers: do you think if you had jumped in front of Valtteri and Lewis do you think you could have kept the leadership of the race considering the pace of Bottas with the ultrasoft – if you were surprised with that. And also, for you Kimi, were you surprised that Bottas was in front of you?
KR: At what point?
During the race you said on the radio that you were surprised that Bottas was in front of you.
KR: Yes, because I was not sure which one it was in the front of the race. I was asking – I was not sure because it was a bit confusing for me after the pitstops. Obviously I realised straight after. For me it made no difference: there was one Mercedes in front of us. I didn’t ask before.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) For sure you don’t have a crystal ball but next race most of the teams will present very different cars and these changes have been conceived using all the knowledge gained in the first four races of the season with these new regulations. What do project for the next phase of the season with all these cars? Do you believe it’s possible there can be some dramatic changes to what we have been seeing until now?
KR: We’ll see what happens in two weeks at the next race. There’s always a lot of talk because it’s the first real European round. Let’s wait and see.
Russian Grand Prix: Bottas resists Vettel for first Formula 1 win
Valtteri Bottas fended off a late charge from Sebastian Vettel to secure the first Formula 1 victory of his career in the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi.
Mercedes driver Bottas crossed the line just 0.617 seconds ahead of Vettel’s Ferrari with Kimi Raikkonen taking his first podium of the season with third.
Lewis Hamilton finished a muted fourth.
Bottas made a blistering start from third on the grid, benefiting from a slow-starting Raikkonen and then passing Vettel on the run to Turn 2 to take the lead.
The race was then neutralised shortly after when the safety car was deployed following a collision between Romain Grosjean and Jolyon Palmer at Turn 2.
At the restart, Bottas put the hammer down and gradually went about building up a lead over Vettel that grew to just over four seconds.
Bottas caught traffic ahead of the pitstops, allowing Vettel to cut the deficit to 2.5s before Mercedes called Bottas in at the end of lap 27 of 52 to swap ultra-softs for super-softs.
Vettel stayed out for an extra seven laps, with his pace remaining competitive, and rejoined just over four seconds adrift of Bottas following his stop for the super-softs.
Championship leader Vettel slowly chipped away at that deficit, getting the gap down to just under a second at one stage to set up a grandstand finish.
But Bottas, who asked for "less talking" on the team radio in the closing laps, kept his composure to fend off Vettel and take his first victory in his 81st F1 start.
Hamilton had a frustrating afternoon, making a good start initially but struggling in the second phase of acceleration as he stayed in fourth.
The three-time world champion complained consistently that his car was overheating in the first half of the race and after the stops, he was unable to catch Raikkonen and ended up a distant fourth.
Max Verstappen was out on his own, too, in fifth, well adrift of the leading quartet but comfortably ahead of Sergio Perez.
Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo retired with an early rear brake problem.
Force India scored points with both cars for the fourth race in succession as Esteban Ocon took seventh behind team-mate Perez.
Nico Hulkenberg was eighth, with Felipe Massa on-course for sixth before he was forced to make a second stop late on because of a slow puncture that dropped him to ninth.
Carlos Sainz Jr completed the top 10.
Rookie Lance Stroll finished his first grand prix, just missing out on a point in 11th after a first-lap spin..
It was a miserable weekend for McLaren, with Fernando Alonso failing to start the race after stopping his car at the entry to the pits on the formation lap.
Honda suspects the loss of power was down to an ERS issue, but is still investigating.
The other McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne was 14th, ahead of the two Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein.
RESULTS – 52 LAPS:
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m00.416s|
|6||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m26.788s|
|7||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m35.004s|
|9||Felipe Massa||Williams/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|10||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1 Lap|
|11||Lance Stroll||Williams/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1 Lap|
|13||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|14||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren/Honda||1 Lap|
|15||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|16||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber/Ferrari||2 Laps|
|–||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||Brakes|
|–||Fernando Alonso||McLaren/Honda||Not started|