Hamilton victorious in Russia while Mercedes achieves title

Mercedes F1 Russia 2014

Lewis Hamilton achieved his fourth consecutive victory this season and thereby increasing his lead in the Formula 1 world championship to 17 points over team-mate Nico Rosberg with a commanding win in the inaugural Russian Grand Prix.

The championship leader also matched Nigel Mansell’s record of 31 Grand Prix victories, which secured Mercedes their first Constructors’ title with three races left in the championship.

Hamilton looked more at ease than Rosberg with the demands of the new 3.6-mile circuit in Sochi, and he converted pole position into his ninth win of the year with a measured drive.

Rosberg also started on the front row, and briefly headed his championship rival after sneaking up the inside after the first run through the flat-out Turn 1 right-hander, but Rosberg locked up heavily under braking for Turn 2 and flat-spotted his front tyres.

That forced Nico into the pits for a tyre-change at the end of the opening lap and effectively handed victory to Lewis.

Extraordinarily, Rosberg made his set of medium Pirelli tyres last 52 of the scheduled 53 laps as he limited the damage to his own championship aspirations by recovering to second in a processional race.

This was the Silver Arrows’ eighth one-two finish of the season which clinched the Constructors’ championship for the Brackley-based team.

Valtteri Bottas ran second for the majority of the first half of the Russian Grand Prix, but had to settle for the final podium spot once he had made his own pit stop and it became clear Rosberg’s tyres would last the distance.

Jenson Button recorded his best result since July’s British Grand Prix by finishing fourth, while McLaren team-mate Kevin Magnussen – who qualified sixth but started P11 thanks to a grid penalty for a gearbox change – made an excellent start and recovered well to finish fifth.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso also got away well from the grid to climb from seventh and lie fourth at the end of the first lap when Rosberg pitted, but the double world champion ultimately lacked the pace to fight the McLarens and also suffered a delay at his only pit-stop.

Alonso held off Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull to finish best of the non-Mercedes runners and round out the top six.

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel ran ahead of his slow-starting Red Bull team-mate Ricciardo in the early stages, but his strategy of running an extended first stint didn’t work out and Vettel had to settle for eighth.

Kimi Raikkonen finished a distant ninth for Ferrari, while Force India’s Sergio Perez survived fears of excessive fuel consumption to claim the final point by rounding out the top ten.

Perez held off the second Williams of Felipe Massa, who started P18 after a fuel pressure problem ruined his qualifying session.

Massa attempted an aggressive two-stop strategy in an effort to recover the lost ground, but in the end fell short to score any points.

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg took a close P12, while Russian home hero Daniil Kvyat started a superb fifth but slipped backwards after a scruffy opening lap and wound up finishing P14, behind Toro Rosso team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne.

All the drivers stood united at the front of the grid ahead of the Russian Grand Prix, as a mark of respect to injured Marussia driver Jules Bianchi.

The French racer’s team-mate Max Chilton raced on in Marussia’s sole entry, but retired with a front-left vibration at the end of his ninth lap.

Russian Grand Prix race results, 53 laps
1 Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1h31m50.744s
2 Nico Rosberg    Mercedes        +13.657s
3 Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes     +17.425s
4 Jenson Button    McLaren/Mercedes    +30.234s
5 Kevin Magnussen    McLaren-Mercedes     +53.616s
6 Fernando Alonso    Ferrari       +1m0.016s
7 Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault      +1m1.812s
8 Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull-Renault      +1m6.185s
9 Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari       +1m18.877s
10 Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes      +1m20.067s
11 Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes       +1m20.877s
12 Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes     +1m21.309s
13 Jean-Eric Vergne    Toro Rosso-Renault     +1m37.295
14 Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Renault    +1 Lap
15 Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari    +1 Lap
16 Adrian Sutil    Sauber-Ferrari    +1 Lap
17 Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Renault   +1 Lap
18 Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Renault    +1 Lap
19 Marcus Ericsson    Caterham-Renault    +2 Laps

Not classified/retirements
Kamui Kobayashi    Caterham-Renault    21 laps completed
Max Chilton    Marussia-Ferrari    9 laps completed

Fastest lap
Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes     1m40.896s, lap 53

Drivers’ championship
1 Lewis Hamilton    291
2 Nico Rosberg    274
3 Daniel Ricciardo    199
4 Valtteri Bottas    145
5 Sebastian Vettel    143
6 Fernando Alonso    141
7 Jenson Button    94
8 Nico Hulkenberg    76
9 Felipe Massa    71
10 Kevin Magnussen    49
11 Sergio Perez    47
12 Kimi Raikkonen    47
13 Jean-Eric Vergne    21
14 Romain Grosjean    8
15 Daniil Kvyat    8
16 Jules Bianchi    2
17 Adrian Sutil    0
18 Marcus Ericsson    0
19 Pastor Maldonado    0
20 Esteban Gutierrez    0
21 Max Chilton    0
22 Kamui Kobayashi    0

Constructors’ championship
1 Mercedes    565
2 Red Bull-Renault    342
3 Williams-Mercedes    216
4 Ferrari    188
5 McLaren-Mercedes    143
6 Force India-Mercedes    123
7 Toro Rosso-Renault    29
8 Lotus-Renault    8
9 Marussia-Ferrari    2
10 Sauber-Ferrari    0
11 Caterham-Renault    0

Next race: United States Grand Prix, Circuit of the Americans. November 2.

Hamilton takes Russian Grand Prix pole position

Russian GP 2014 qualifying

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton achieved his seventh pole position of the season at the brand new Sochi Autodrome circuit.

Hamilton outpaced his Mercedes team-mate Rosberg by two tenths of a second while Valtteri Bottas was a contender for pole.

The Williams driver set the fastest sector times of all in the first two sectors, but the rear stepped out at the final corner and he ran wide, which cost him any chance of beating the Silver Arrows and left him in third position.

McLaren pairing Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen continued the strong form for the Woking-based team in fourth and sixth place.

In between them is the star of qualifying and home crowd favourite Daniil Kvyat, who qualified a career-best fifth after a strong performance in the Toro Rosso.

Daniel Ricciardo was seventh on a weekend of damage limitation for Red Bull, ahead of the  Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.

Jean-Eric Vergne, was slowest in Q3 and qualified tenth.

Reigning Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel was eliminated in Q2, his final lap only good enough to take P11, 0.123 seconds slower than his Red Bull stablemate Vergne.

Vettel did not report any specific car problems, although he had been struggling with the balance of his RB10.

Just behind were the Force Indias, with Nico Hulkenberg narrowly ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez.

Esteban Gutierrez won the intra-Sauber battle, over four tenths faster than team-mate Adrian Sutil. The Mexican doing a good job after sitting out the first practice session in favour of Sergey Sirotkin.

Lotus driver Romain Grosjean was slowest in Q2, ending up P16.

Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson continued his recent run of good form with P17, fastest of those to be eliminated in Q1.

Ericsson’s final lap allowed him to jump ahead of Williams driver Felipe Massa, who ended up P18.

Massa had looked set to qualify well, but a fuel pressure problem that the team did not have time to fix meant that he was down on power.

Kamui Kobayashi ended up just a tenth off Massa after improving by almost six tenths on his final run for Caterham.

This was enough to put him ahead of Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado, who received an apology over the radio for what was described as a “shambles” after a problem delayed him.

He has to serve a five-place grid penalty anyway, a consequence of using his sixth engine during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend, so will drop to last.

Max Chilton in the sole Marussia was P21, just over four tenths slower than Maldonado.

Qualifying positions, Russian Grand Prix:

1 Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m38.513s
2 Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m38.713s
3 Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m38.920s
4 Jenson Button    McLaren-Mercedes    1m39.121s
5 Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m39.277s
6 Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m39.635s
7 Fernando Alonso    Ferrari    1m39.709s
8 Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m39.771s
9 Jean-Eric Vergne    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m40.020s
10 Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull-Renault    1m40.052s
11 Kevin Magnussen    McLaren-Mercedes    1m39.629s*
12 Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m40.163s
13 Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari    1m40.536s
14 Adrian Sutil    Sauber-Ferrari    1m40.984s
15 Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Renault    1m41.397s
16 Marcus Ericsson    Caterham-Renault    1m42.648s
17 Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m40.058s*
18 Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m43.064s
19 Kamui Kobayashi    Caterham-Renault    1m43.166s
20 Max Chilton    Marussia-Ferrari    1m43.649s
21 Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Renault    1m43.205s*

*Magnussen, Hulkenberg and Maldonado have had five-place penalties applied

Hamilton wins shortened Suzuka race

Hamilton Japan 2014

Lewis Hamilton extended his lead in the Formula 1 world championship by defeating Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to victory in a Japanese Grand Prix shortened by an accident for Jules Bianchi.

After losing out to pole position to his title rival, Hamilton turned the tables in the wet Suzuka weather with a brilliant round-the-outside passing move at Turn 1.

Rosberg had led for the first 28 laps of a race that began behind the Safety Car, thanks to appalling conditions.

When the race got going properly after nine laps behind the Safety Car – interrupted by a red flag following the first two because of rain – the Mercedes driver held a small advantage over his British team-mate as the Silver Arrows streaked clear in the spray.

Rosberg looked comfortable on extreme wet weather tyres, but complained of oversteer after switching to intermediate tyres when circuit conditions improved.

He held Hamilton off until lap 29 when, having suffered a twitch accelerating onto the start-finish straight at the end of the previous lap, he lost enough momentum to allow Hamilton to attack.

Rosberg went defensive, but Hamilton – assisted by extra speed from the DRS – swept around the outside of his team-mate to take the lead through Turn 1.

Once released from following Rosberg’s gearbox, Hamilton pulled away to take his third consecutive grand prix victory in a race that was red-flagged for a second time under the safety car, after Jules Bianchi’s Marussia went off at Dunlop Curve where marshals were craning away Adrian Sutil’s Sauber following an earlier crash.

Bianchi was taken to the circuit medical centre. His Marussia reportedly struck the crane at the crash site.

Red Bull deliberately compromised its dry qualifying pace by setting the RB10 up for the wet conditions, and its drivers used this to good effect to finish third and fourth.

Ferrari-bound reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel completed the podium, despite a trip through the gravel at the Esses, while team-mate Daniel Ricciardo overcame Jenson Button’s McLaren to finish in fourth.

Button held third position for most of the first half of the race, after being the first driver to pit for inters, but he lost time to a steering wheel change at his second pit stop, which dropped him behind Vettel, before Ricciardo further demoted the McLaren driver with a firm pass on the inside of the hairpin on lap 43 – a lap before the result was taken.

The Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa started third and fourth, but both struggled badly in wet conditions and trailed home sixth and seventh.

Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India stopped at the end of the pitlane as the race was red-flagged for the final time, but he finished eighth on count back, while Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne charged from the back of the grid to claim two points for ninth.

Hulkenberg’s Force India team-mate Sergio Perez rounded out the points scorers in tenth.

Ferrari scored no points from the Japanese Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen finished P12, while Fernando Alonso retired with a mechanical problem under the Safety Car before the race began properly.

Japanese Grand Prix, race results after 44 laps:

1 Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1h51m43.021s
2 Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    9.180s
3 Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull-Renault    29.122s
4 Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    38.818s
5 Jenson Button    McLaren-Mercedes    1m07.550s
6 Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m53.773s
7 Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m55.126s
8 Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes     1m55.948s
9 Jean-Eric Vergne    Toro Rosso-Renault      2m07.638s
10 Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
11 Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Renault    1 Lap
12 Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1 Lap
13 Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
14 Kevin Magnussen    McLaren-Mercedes    1 Lap
15 Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Renault    1 Lap
16 Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Renault    1 Lap
17 Marcus Ericsson    Caterham-Renault    1 Lap
18 Max Chilton    Marussia-Ferrari    1 Lap
19 Kamui Kobayashi    Caterham-Renault    1 Lap
20 Jules Bianchi    Marussia-Ferrari    Spun off
21 Adrian Sutil    Sauber-Ferrari    Spun off
– Fernando Alonso    Ferrari    –    Retirement

Drivers’ championship:

1 Lewis Hamilton    266
2 Nico Rosberg    256
3 Daniel Ricciardo    193
4 Sebastian Vettel    139
5 Fernando Alonso    133
6 Valtteri Bottas    130
7 Jenson Button    82
8 Nico Hulkenberg    76
9 Felipe Massa    71
10 Sergio Perez    46
11 Kimi Raikkonen    45
12 Kevin Magnussen    39
13 Jean-Eric Vergne    21
14 Romain Grosjean    8
15 Daniil Kvyat    8
16 Jules Bianchi    2
17 Adrian Sutil    0
18 Marcus Ericsson    0
19 Pastor Maldonado    0
20 Esteban Gutierrez    0
21 Max Chilton    0
22 Kamui Kobayashi    0

Constructors’ championship:

1 Mercedes    522
2 Red Bull/Renault    332
3 Williams/Mercedes    201
4 Ferrari    178
5 Force India/Mercedes    122
6 McLaren/Mercedes    121
7 Toro Rosso/Renault    29
8 Lotus/Renault    8
9 Marussia/Ferrari    2
10 Sauber/Ferrari    0
11 Caterham/Renault    0

Next race: Russian Grand Prix, Sochi. October 10-12.

Advantage Rosberg with Suzuka pole

Rosberg Japan 2014

Championship contender Nico Rosberg beat his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to pole position at the Suzuka International Circuit.

Rosberg had set the pace in Q2 and on the first runs in the top ten shootout. The Silver Arrows driver then secured his place in top spot by shaving just over a tenth off his time on his second run.

After Rosberg crossed the line for the final time, Hamilton completed his lap but a lock-up at the hairpin cost him and he ended up two tenths slower.

This mean that both of Rosberg’s flying laps in Q3 were good enough for what could prove to be an important pole position in the world championship battle.

The Williams pairing of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa lock out the second row, with Fernando Alonso taking his usual slot of fifth for Ferrari.

As for Red Bull, this was a difficult session. Daniel Ricciardo ended up sixth despite on the edge of elimination in Q1, while Sebastian Vettel was only ninth. Both drivers carrying wet set-ups in anticipation of a rain-hit Japanese Grand Prix.

Kevin Magnussen won the intra-McLaren duel by beating Jenson Button to seventh position, with Kimi Raikkonen rounding up the top ten.

Jean-Eric Vergne was the fastest of those to be eliminated in Q2 in P11, falling two tenths short of relegating Vettel with his final lap.

Despite this, Vergne is still ahead of Force India driver Sergio Perez, who complained of a power problem during Q2. Vergne’s Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat will start in P13 after failing to improve on his second run.

Because of breaking into his sixth power unit, Vergne is set to be hit with a ten-place grid penalty for the race.

Nico Hulkenberg will start in P14 and edged out both Saubers of Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez.

Pastor Maldonado was bumped out of Q2 contention in the final seconds of the first part of qualifying by Sutil.

The Lotus driver, will drop back ever further on the grid thanks to using his sixth V6 engine of the season. He was less than a tenth second off his team-mate Romain Grosjean.

Because Maldonado is only able to serve five of his ten-place grid drop, the remaining positions will be rolled over to next weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson’s strong weekend continued, as he ended qualifying P19 ahead of Marussia’s Jules Bianchi.

As for home hero Kamui Kobayashi, whose Friday afternoon session was ruined by a crash, the Japanese ended up in P21 ahead of Max Chilton.

So another Silver Arrows one-two with Nico Rosberg achieving his twelfth career pole position. He now equals his pole position record with Gerhard Berger and David Coulthard.

Qualifying positions, Japanese Grand Prix:

1 Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m32.506s
2 Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m32.703s
3 Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m33.128s
4 Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m33.527s
5 Fernando Alonso    Ferrari    1m33.740s
6 Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m34.075s
7 Kevin Magnussen    McLaren-Mercedes    1m34.242s
8 Jenson Button    McLaren-Mercedes    1m34.317s
9 Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull/-Renault    1m34.432s
10 Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m34.542s    2.036s
11 Jean-Eric Vergne    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m34.984s
12 Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m35.089s
13 Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m35.092s
14 Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m35.099s
15 Adrian Sutil    Sauber-Ferrari    1m35.364s
16 Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari    1m35.681s
17 Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Renault    1m35.984s
18 Marcus Ericsson    Caterham-Renault    1m36.813s
19 Jules Bianchi    Marussia-Ferrari    1m36.943s
20 Kamui Kobayashi    Caterham-Renault    1m37.015s
21 Max Chilton    Marussia-Ferrari    1m37.481s
22 Pastor Maldonado    Lotus/Renault    1m35.917s

Vettel leaves Red Bull with Kyvat taking over

Seb Vettel driver

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel will leave Red Bull Racing at the end of the 2014 Formula 1 season and his seat will be taken by Daniil Kvyat.

This big news announcement has certainly shake up the form order for next season. After so many years of success with the Milton Keynes-based team, scoring the outfit’s first win at China 2009 and winning the championship four times during 2010 to 2013, Sebastian Vettel is heading off.

Rumours are saying that Vettel will go to Ferrari to take Fernando Alonso’s place at the team. And yet, the first official move in the driver market has been taken by the reigning world champion.

“Sebastian Vettel has advised us that he will be leaving Infiniti Red Bull Racing at the end of the 2014 season,” said Red Bull in a statement.

“We’re pleased to announce that Daniel [Ricciardo] will be joined in the team for 2015 by another rising star from the Junior Programme, Daniil Kvyat.”

Red Bull guided Vettel’s progress towards Formula 1 which led to him joining the main team in 2009 from Toro Rosso. He won his first of four consecutive drivers’ championship titles with the outfit in 2010.

The decision marks a surprise promotion for Kvyat, who made his debut for Scuderia Toro Rosso at the beginning of the season.

Initially, Kvyat would remain with Toro Rosso for a second season, alongside newcomer Max Verstappen, but his impending switch to the main Red Bull team leaves a vacancy in their line-up.

So a big shock at Suzuka in the lead up to the big event. Which team will Sebastian drive for? Ferrari seems the most likely destination with Kimi Raikkonen as his new team-mate.

As for Fernando Alonso, the question is what’s next for the double world champion? Taking a sabbatical from the sport or a move to McLaren, which will use the Honda power unit next season. Interesting times in the world of Formula 1.