2020 Russian Grand Prix: Valtteri Bottas storms to victory in Sochi
Review of Russian Grand Prix
After a dramatic Qualifying session on Saturday afternoon Lewis Hamilton lined up on Pole position in Sochi setting a time of 1:31.304. The British drivers nearest challenger on Saturday was Max Verstappen who lined up second, Finn Valtteri Bottas rounded off the top 3 in Qualifying.
The five red lights went out and Hamilton made use of the extra grip from his soft tyres and led the field from Pole Position into Turn 2. Bottas challenged his teammate but couldn't make it stick. Meanwhile Verstappen dropped back to third with the two Renaults in fourth and fifth. Further round the first lap disaster struck for Lance Stroll and Carlos Sainz as both of them retired from the Russian Grand Prix, the Safety Car was deployed.
Lewis Hamilton's time penalties
Before the race Lewis Hamilton went under investigation for conducting a practice start outside the designated zone in the Pit Lane. This handed the Championship leader a five second penalty which was swiftly followed by a second five second penalty due to a second practice start violation.
Hamilton's charge through the field
Hamilton stopped on Lap 17 to serve his 10 second penalty, this dropped him from a comfortable lead in the Russian Grand Prix to 11th place behind Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton's W11 now had the hard tyres on which he expected to take to the end of the race and within 10 Laps the Mercedes driver found himself in 5th place after setting some blistering times.
Vritual Safety Car on Lap 43
On Lap 42 Sebastian Vettel dived down the inside of Romain Grosjean, the duo made light contact and Grosjean took to the escape road driving straight through the bollards. This created a mess of the run off area which needed a short virtual Safety Car to be deployed.
Norris V Albon V Gasly
Pierre Gasly boxed under the Virtual Safety Car which dropped him behind Lando Norris and Alex Albon who were fighting over 9th and 10th. On Lap 46 Alex Albon tried to pass the McLaren into Turn 2 but Norris stayed ahead. This allowed Gasly to close up and in the middle sector Albon had another crack at Norris and once again the British driver clung onto P9. Meanwhile Pierre Gasly tried every trick in the book to get past and eventually got past Norris into Turn 2 after Albon locked up and lost ground earlier on.
Valtteri Bottas' dominant victory
Valtteri Bottas started third and took advantage of Lewis Hamilton's mixed day at the office to claim his second win in 2020 and close down Hamilton's Championship lead to 44 points but the Finn still has a mountain to climb if he wants his first F1 drivers title this year.
What happens next?
Next up on the F1 calendar we have the somewhat unknown quantity that is the Nurburgring in the Eifel mountains in Germany for the Eifel Grand Prix on the 11th of October.
Image credit: F1.com Top 10 finishers from the 2020 Russian Grand Prix