From Russia With Love: Bottas Breaks Curse To Win
The Finn finally wins another Grand Prix as Hamilton left miffed by time penalties - the full race review.
A pretty decent race - by Sochi standards, that is. Lets get stuck in, shall we?
Bottas eventually broke his duck to take the chequered flag in Russia and slated his critics in the process, proclaiming once again "to whom it may concern, f**k you". He spent time on Saturday interestingly responding to critics on Instagram, and this victory is only going to add to his growing confidence. The start of a spirited Bottas comeback?
Verstappen was next on the podium in second, as he added another trophy to the six he has already secured this year to date. "Lets focus on our own race" he proclaimed and he did just that. It is a refreshing sight for the Dutchman after two consecutive retirements through no fault of his own essentially mean he is now only chasing second in the Driver's Championship, as once again the fight for the title returns to a two-horse race.
Penalty-shod Hamilton completes the podium, pulling off a strong drive in adverse circumstances. Two five-second penalties eliminated the chance for a race win, which could have been Hamilton's 91st, and in turn he missed the opportunity to equal Michael Schumacher's all time race wins record. Hamilton repeatedly exclaimed his displeasure at the Steward's decisions during the race. But it was after the race where he really attacked the Stewards, telling Sky Sport's Natalie Pinkham that he believes the Stewards are giving these penalties "to stop him".
McLaren's fight for third in the Constructor's Championship took a huge blow today as both of their cars failed to score points for the first time this year - Carlos Sainz crashing on lap 1 and Lando Norris conceded a point after his tyres lost all form of grip towards the end of the race. Racing Point also suffered another blow as Lance Stroll, hit by Charles Leclerc, also crashed out on lap 1. Sergio Perez did the best he could have, finishing fourth, but the Pink Panthers will be left disappointed, as two more points would have put them past McLaren.
The big beneficiary in this race was Renault. Although Cyril's podium tattoo will have to wait, 5th and 7th is a good points haul for the French outfit as they slowly pull away from Ferrari in 6th and start their assault on Racing Point in 4th. This Renault looks very strong, especially in a straight line - I wager a podium is in the waiting for Renault.
Charles Leclerc was the only positive for Ferrari as teammate Sebastian Vettel finished outside the points once again. Leclerc has had many strong performances this year, this race adding to that list.
Meanwhile, both AlphaTauris scored points for only the second time this year - home hero Daniil Kvyat in 8th, one position ahead of his teammate and Italian Grand Prix winner Pierre Gasly. AlphaTauri have left Alfa Romeo in their dust, pulling clear by a huge 55 points!
A power-sensitive circuit like the Sochi Autodrom will, of course, punish those who have low power; Williams, who got a car into Q2 thanks to George Russell, and Haas finished outside of the points-paying positions, despite Haas running in 8th and 9th after the lap 1 chaos. It is Williams however, the only team who remain pointless this season.
To Whom It May Concern: The Flying Finn will need more of these performances this year (Photo: F1)
Shock of the Race: Carlos Sainz
An uncharacteristic mistake from the Spaniard saw him slam into the wall at the turn 2 penalty chicane. His second retirement in a row and his fifth non-scoring race this season.
Battle of the Race: Norris vs Albon vs Russell
These three close friends had an entertaining back-and-forth for a few laps, but it was ultimately Albon who triumped and collected the final point that was up for grabs.
Overtake of the Race: Sergio Perez on Daniel Ricciardo
Full throttle, wheel-to-wheel, up the inside through turn 3? Perez pulled it off and boy was it a brilliant move.
Driver of the Day: Sergio Perez
A strong and aggressive yet controlled drive from the Mexican maestro to secure 12 points for Racing Point. Classic Perez performance.
Overall Race Rating: 6/10
Meh. Nothing to write home about, but it certainly wasn't bad.