Hamilton achieves his 100th victory in a chaotic Russian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton finally achieved his 100th victory in Formula 1 in a thrilling Russian Grand Prix. A late rain shower played a joker to long-time leader Lando Norris and it helped Max Verstappen to take second place.

As for Norris, he ended up in seventh place after trying to stay on out slicks when Hamilton, who had charged up the order in the race’s second half before getting stuck behind the McLaren ahead of the rain arriving in the final laps, pitted for intermediates.

Norris also faces a post-race investigation for crossing the pitlane-entry line when he did eventually come in to switch to the wet tyres, by which time Hamilton had swept already ahead to take the lead.

At the start, Norris’s fear of leading the pack down to the Turn 2 right-hander came true as, although he made a smooth getaway from pole, his slipstream gave a crucial advantage to those following behind.

This worked out best for Carlos Sainz as he recovered from a poor launch and George Russell jumping alongside from third, by sitting in behind Norris and then gaining ground dramatically as the two British drivers punched a hole in the air down to the first braking point.

There, Sainz swooped in front of Russell and to Norris’s outside, sealing the lead despite locking up his left-front as the pack arrived at Turn 2.

Sainz managed to stay on track and did not have to go around the bollards in the run-off, which Fernando Alonso, rejoining alongside Russell before ceding ground to the fast-starting Lance Stroll.

By the end of the first lap of 53, Sainz was out of DRS range to Norris, with Russell third and then quickly falling back from the McLaren and heading train of cars down to Hamilton in sixth – the world champion falling back down the order, boxed in at the start after briefly getting alongside Sainz on the runoff the line and before the Ferrari benefitted from Norris’s tow.

Sainz and Norris were able to run in the mid-1m41s-bracket over the opening few laps, with Russell dropping back by nearly a second a lap at time, with the rain the teams had predicted may impact the opening stages not influencing proceedings.

The two leaders broke clear, with Sainz running clear of Norris until the end of the first 10 laps, which point the Briton started to pressure the Ferrari.

After small attacks at Turn 2 on laps 10 and 11, Norris briefly backed off, describing his front left as “completely gone”, before he suddenly closed in again on lap 13 and took the lead using DRS down the back straight to get ahead on the outside line into the Turn 12 right-hander.

Ferrari then called Sainz in at the end of the following lap, the Spaniard rejoining in front of Stroll, who had triggered the first stops with an undercut attack on Russell by coming in for hards at the end of lap 12.

Russell was brought in to cover Stroll, but emerged behind the Aston Martin, which, although the undercut was powerful, could not jump Sainz too despite a slow change to the Ferrari’s left-rear.

That trio ran in clear air behind Valtteri Bottas, who had been passed by Verstappen as they and Charles Leclerc made steady progress up the order in the opening laps from their back-of-the-grid starts for changing engines – the Ferrari driver actually gaining six places on lap one.

The early stops for Sainz, Stroll and Russell meant Ricciardo, Hamilton and Sergio Perez had no choice but to stay out to avoid coming out behind them again, with Norris also staying put up front – the leader extending his lead over his teammate from eight seconds to 12 by the time Ricciardo pitted on lap 22.

The graining to the tyres the drivers – including Norris – had reported began to clear up, with the leader therefore staying out until lap 28, two laps after Mercedes had pitted Hamilton, now Norris’s main rival after Ricciardo’s stop went wrong with slow front-left change, to go from mediums to hards.

Norris rejoined after making the same compound change in the net lead, with Hamilton in the pack behind carving through the drivers that had pitted earlier – Stroll and then Sainz – plus Pierre Gasly, who was yet to stop.

That set up an eight-second difference to Norris’s net lead with 22 laps to go, Perez, Alonso and Leclerc leading the race by this stage as they ran deep on the hard tyres they, and Gasly, had started on.

As the hard-starting cars peeled off in front of Norris and Hamilton – both of whom had to pass Leclerc on track – with the Mercedes scything into the McLaren’s advantage with a series of fastest laps.

With 15 laps to the flag, Lando’s lead was down to 1.7 seconds but there Hamilton’s charge stalled.

Norris set the fastest lap using DRS has he lapped Nikita Mazepin down the back straight on lap 40, and from there he matched Hamilton in the mid-high one minute, 37 seconds, which kept the gap between the pair stable.

Attention then turned to the possibility of rain arriving in the closing laps, with drops starting fall as early as lap 42, but only getting serious four tours later.

The wet weather intensified first at the Turns 5-7 sequence at the top of the Sochi layout, with Norris initially coping better than Hamilton to pull away from the Mercedes, which had finally got within DRS range on lap 48.

But as conditions got worse, Norris defied McLaren’s call to pit for inters on lap 49, opting to try and hang on with the slicks while Hamilton did come in to change to the green-walled rubber.

The decision soon backfired on Norris as Turns 3-7 were soon soaking wet, with the rain eventually making the track slippery all the way around.

Hamilton carved into the McLaren’s lead and got ahead when Norris slid off at Turn 5 on lap 51, at the end of which he finally pitted.

With Hamilton clear ahead of take his milestone triumph, the order behind changed dramatically.

Sainz, who had cycled back to a high position despite his early stop as slow dry weather pitstops hindered several rivals, Ricciardo and Verstappen were among the first to pit for inters.

Verstappen used his to jump up the order and ran clear of Sainz by the flag – the Red Bull’s fortunes changing dramatically after his early charge had been thwarted when he rejoined from his dry stop in a mixed pack of early-stoppers and long-runners.

He came home 53.2 seconds down on Hamilton, with Sainz taking third – he too benefitting by in the rain as Perez, who stopped for inters later than most, and Ricciardo had jumped him before it arrived.

Ricciardo took fifth ahead of Bottas, another driver who rose up the order in the late wet chaos having been stuck in the pack for most of the race.

Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Russell were the first to stop for inters, and they all gained considerably in the closing moments.

Raikkonen took eighth ahead of Perez, with Russell, who had been holding onto 10th even as the long-runners slotted in around him following his early stop, claiming the final point in the rain.

Then came Aston pair Stroll and Sebastian Vettel – who collided twice just as the rain got serious – and Gasly.

Stroll and Gasly will also be investigated after the race for a clash at Turn 2 in the late chaos.

The only non-finishers were Nicholas Latifi, who retired in the pits just as the rain arrived, and Mick Schumacher, who was called in after 22 laps due to a hydraulic leak on his Haas.

Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton in winning his 100th race in this sport. Such an incredible achievement by the champion but do feel sorry for Lando Norris, as he led the most laps and yet got caught out in the rain. Without that late drama, Lando should have won his first win.

As for Max Verstappen, what a fight back to come through from last to the runner-up spot. This was a superb result for the Red Bull driver despite taking so many grid penalties. Let the championship battle continue.

Russian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:30:41.001
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 53.271
3 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1’02.475
4 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1’05.607
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’07.533
6 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1’21.321
7 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1’27.224
8 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1’28.955
9 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda 1’30.076
10 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1’40.551
11 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1’46.198
12 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes +1 lap
13 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda +1 lap
14 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault +1 lap
15 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +1 lap
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari +1 lap
17 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda +1 lap
18 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari +2 laps
– Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes DNF
– Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari DNF

6 thoughts to “Hamilton achieves his 100th victory in a chaotic Russian Grand Prix”

  1. Russian Grand Prix race review as reported by Formula1.com.

    Lewis Hamilton took his 100th Grand Prix victory in a Russian Grand Prix that started in dry conditions and ended under rain, the Mercedes driver making a late switch to intermediate tyres to take the lead when pole-sitter Lando Norris agonisingly slid out of the lead with just two laps left. Max Verstappen made it from P20 to P2, and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz took third having started second.

    Grid penalties were the talk of the town on Sunday morning with Valtteri Bottas the latest to take the hit, Mercedes putting a new power unit into his car to see him start 16th with the knowledge that Max Verstappen would start 20th (having taken a new Honda engine earlier in the weekend) and Charles Leclerc 19th with a new Ferrari unit.

    As for tyres, there was a mix of mediums and hards on the grid with the first five drivers – Norris on pole, Sainz second, Russell third, Hamilton fourth and Ricciardo in P5 – on mediums, and only Fernando Alonso starting sixth, Sergio Perez (P8), Pierre Gasly (P11), Bottas, Antonio Giovinazzi (P17), Leclerc and Verstappen starting on the hard compounds.

    Although he fell to seventh at the start, Hamilton’s pace was competitive on his medium tyres and he pitted on Lap 27 for hards, before Norris – who had scored a sensational first pole on Saturday and duelled with Sainz early in the race – and once the pitstop sequences had finished by Lap 38 it was Norris leading a rapid Hamilton. The pair were just one second part in the closing stages. And then the rain hit.

    Lead pair Hamilton and Norris stayed out after others pitted for inters and it was the Mercedes man who made the decision to pit first, switching with three laps left – as Norris stayed out, a first ever F1 victory almost within touching distance. The McLaren driver did his best to keep the lead but, with the rain getting heavier by the second, he eventually slid off the track and Hamilton passed him for P1.

    Norris eventually finished seventh having pitted at the very end, but will find himself at the mercy of the stewards after crossing the pit entry line twice on his way in.

    Verstappen, from 20th on the grid, finished an incredible second after switching from hards to mediums midway through the race and cruising through the field. And it was Ferrari’s Sainz who took the final podium place – having briefly led over Norris – with an early switch to hards from mediums.

    Valtteri Bottas started 16th but took fifth having pitted for mediums just after Verstappen, while Fernando Alonso started sixth and finished there with a long first stint on hard tyres. Kimi Raikkonen kept his cool to make up places in the late wet conditions and finished eighth – leaving Sergio Perez and George Russell to take the final points for Red Bull and Williams, respectively.

    Norris came away with Driver of the Day honours, but the pain of having a maiden Grand Prix victory wrenched away from him in the final laps with the rain falling at Sochi, in what must go down as the most entertaining and dramatic Russian Grand Prix to date.

    Qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix, in which Lando Norris took a shock pole position ahead of Carlos Sainz and Williams’ George Russell and Mercedes’ Lewis hamilton, may have been a wet session – but the race would prove to be anything but a dry affair.

    Championship leader Max Verstappen would start 20th for Red Bull, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc 19th, and Valtteri Bottas 16th thanks to engine penalties. Bottas’s penalty, announced just before the Grand Prix on Sunday, was of particular significance as he would have the tough job of holding Verstappen off at the start.

    Despite a 70% chance of rain, conditions stayed dry for the start and most of the drivers opted to start on mediums bar Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, Bottas, Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, Leclerc and Verstappen, who began on hard tyres.

    As the lights went out, Norris led away while Sainz squeezed into the inside of Russell going into the kink at Turn 1, Russell forced to go out wide and losing Norris’s slipstream. Sainz took the lead into the Turn 2 braking zone while Norris and Russell followed. Meanwhile, Stroll had made a stunning start from seventh to go P4, Daniel Ricciardo stayed fifth and Hamilton had fallen to seventh behind Fernando Alonso.

    Leclerc charged from P19 to P12 with the inside line at Turn 2 while Verstappen made a steady jump up two places from last, Bottas taking two places from P16. Bottas’s mission may have been to hold off Verstappen but on Lap 6, he was passed for P14 by the Dutchman with ease down the inside of Turn 13.

    Verstappen had a new Honda engine in his car but the same drive and talent that has seen him produce stunning drives from the back before. He would soon pick off Leclerc on his way into the top 10.

    Meanwhile, Aston Martin triggered the undercut with Stroll pitting from fourth and emerging 15th in free air on Lap 13. Williams’ Russell responded from third and emerged behind Stroll a lap later.

    Sainz was then caught by Norris on the back straight, the McLaren driver going down the inside of Turn 12 and leading the race into Turn 13, causing the Spaniard to pit for hards on Lap 15 and emerge ahead of Stroll.

    Hamilton stayed out, hoping for track position, but was still stuck behind McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo in P3 as the race neared one-third distance. Verstappen was getting too close to comfort, setting fastest laps – and he was just eight-seconds behind Hamilton on Lap 17. Norris continued to lead, his team mate holding station in P2 as McLaren dreamed of another stunning result after their amazing one-two at Monza.

    Ricciardo made the decision to pit on Lap 23 from P2 and a slow release from his box saw the Australian lose a few seconds and emerge 14th. Although Hamilton was 13 seconds behind leader Norris, he was finally in clean air and what followed was a flurry of rapid tours of Sochi. The Briton made up ground but bit the bullet on Lap 27, pitting for hards – while Verstappen also chose to pit (for mediums) seconds later. They emerged ninth and 12th, respectively, but Verstappen soon swiped P11 off Russell (who had pitted much earlier) and only had Ricciardo between himself and Hamilton.

    Norris responded to the championship protagonists’ pistops on Lap 29, a solid stop seeing him emerge in P4 – ahead of a massive train of cars – with Leclerc, Alonso and Perez ahead, and none of them having pitted.

    “Lewis, we can win this race,” were the words from Mercedes boss Toto Wolff on Lap 30 after the Briton dispatched Stroll and Sainz for P6. Gasly was next. Then Hamilton was up to P5 on Lap 31, with Norris just eight seconds ahead.

    Those who hadn’t pitted were leading and on Lap 35 it was Leclerc who came in first, his stop not so quick – leaving him 13th – while Perez and Alonso followed on Lap 37. Perez’s pit stop lasted nearly nine seconds but he still emerged ahead of Alonso. Thanks to those slow tyre changes, Sainz and Ricciardo capitalised.

    Now attention turned to the matter of the Norris-Hamilton battle, the two drivers duelling for the lead and just a second apart. It looked like it would be a straightforward race between them until the end. That was, until the umbrellas emerged with just over five laps remaining. Would the drivers make it home and dry on slicks? Or would a switch to intermediates be necessary?

    Hamilton continued to chase, resisting calls to pit to inters as others around him switched to the green-banded rain tyres. And with just three laps left he would finally take the plunge, emerging well behind Norris – the McLaren driver leading, but on slick tyres.

    The rain tumbled down, the gap between Hamilton and Norris shrinking by the corner, and then came the moment that changed the race: Norris slid off the track on the penultimate lap. His hopes of a maiden win were over in the cruellest fashion, and he limped back to the pits for those intermediates.

    As for Hamilton, he duly took the lead and held it for the last lap for his 100th Grand Prix win.

    Verstappen was assured a top five finish before the rain fell, but a calculated switch to brand new inters helped him clinch P2 from last on the grid, ensuring that even in the most eventful race, he could secure a podium – albeit 53 seconds off his rival Hamilton.

    Sainz completed the podium for Ferrari, having gained the lead at the start and pitted earlier than his rivals to stay in the hunt before a pitch-perfect switch to used intermediates. In fourth was Daniel Ricciardo, the Australian up to P2 before pitting on Lap 23, his late-race pace proving enough to beat Mercedes’ Bottas. The Finn’s hopes of a top-five finish seemed slim as he was running in 14th before the rain came, but he rallied in the wet after a Lap 47 stop for inters, to pull of a fortunate recovery to P5 from P17.

    Alpine’s Fernando Alonso started sixth and finished there having pulled off a long first stint on hard tyres. He was classified ahead of Norris, the heartbroken McLaren driver picking up Fastest Lap and Driver of the Day honours as a consolation.

    Kimi Raikkonen enjoyed the rain to finish eighth for Alfa Romeo, while Sergio Perez – who lost out thanks to a slow late stop – and Russell rounded out the top 10 for Red Bull and Williams, in P9 and P10 respectively.

    Russell took the final point as behind, Aston Martin racer Stroll had a calamitous end to the race, hitting team mate Vettel (P12), Pierre Gasly of AlphaTauri (P13) and spinning on his way to P11.

    Esteban Ocon took 14th for Alpine having started ninth, the weather ruining his hopes of points, while Leclerc’s recovery drive ended in disappointment as he settled for P15 from 19th.

    Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi started 17th thanks to an engine penalty taken on Sunday, but still finished ahead of AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda – who started 12th and lost places after pitting as the rain fell.

    Nikita Mazepin took 19th for Haas in his home GP debut – while Mick Schumacher was the sole retiree with a mechanical issue seeing him retreat to Haas’s garage on Lap 33.

  2. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton admitted that Lando Norris would have been tough to beat without late rain. Motorsport.com has the full story.

    Lewis Hamilton believes it would have been “tough” to beat McLaren’s Lando Norris in Sochi before a late rain shower helped the Mercedes driver score his 100th Formula 1 win.

    Hamilton dropped to seventh on the opening lap of the race, but recovered to sit second behind Norris after the pit stop cycle was completed, trailing the McLaren by nine seconds.

    But Hamilton was able to make significant gains with clear air ahead of him, whittling the gap down to just over one second with 10 laps to go before telling his Mercedes team that it was hard to get any closer.

    Incoming rain prompted a number of drivers to dive into the pits for intermediates, with Hamilton eventually coming in at the end of Lap 49 to make the change.

    Norris stayed out, only for the rain to grow heavier and leave him tiptoeing around the track as well as spinning, causing him to drop all the way back to eighth following a pit stop.

    It meant Hamilton was able to cross the line to score his 100th grand prix victory, becoming the first driver in F1 history to reach the landmark, as well as reclaiming the championship lead.

    Speaking after the race, Hamilton heaped praise on Norris after the McLaren driver came to hug him during the parc ferme interview.

    “Lando does such an amazing job, he had incredible pace, he’s doing such a great job for McLaren and it’s very bittersweet obviously to see my old team ahead,” Hamilton said.

    “They’re doing so well, they won the last race so, you know, they’re doing fantastic obviously powered by Mercedes, so it’s good to see them united again, and obviously the team made a great call right at the end.

    “I didn’t want to let Lando go, and of course I didn’t know what the weather was doing, but I’m incredibly grateful to all these men and women that are here and back to the factory.”

    Hamilton doubted he would have been able to get past Norris had the rain not come and shaken up proceedings late on.

    “It would have been tough to have got past Lando, he had great pace and had the fastest lap,” Hamilton said.

    “It would have been tough to pass unless we caught some traffic or something, or he made a mistake which he’s not been doing at all.

    “Then the rain came and it was very opportunistic. As I said, the team did an amazing job, so a big thank you to them.”

    Hamilton’s hopes of pulling out a big lead in the drivers’ championship were ultimately dashed as title rival Max Verstappen recovered from P20 on the grid to finish second thanks to the late rain.

    It means Hamilton only sits five points clear at the top of the standings with seven races to go this year.

    “There’s nothing I can do about who’s behind me,” Hamilton said.

    “That’s the dream result for Max, naturally, but I’m grateful for the points.”

  3. It was so close for Lando Norris in winning his first race but the later rain played a joker… Norris was left feeling “devastated” to lose Sochi Formula 1 win after defying inters call. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Lando Norris said he was ‘devastated’ to lose victory in Formula 1’s Russian Grand Prix, after taking responsibility for the wrong tyre call in not pitting for inters late on.

    The McLaren driver appeared to have the Sochi race under control late on, having held off a charging Lewis Hamilton for the lead as the race drew to its conclusion.

    But a rain shower that hit the track a few laps from the end threw the event on its head, and opened the door for Norris to see victory hopes slip from his grasp.

    While Mercedes pitted Hamilton to take inters, Norris elected to stay out and try to hold on in the front.

    But as the rain got worse, staying on slicks was clearly the wrong choice and Norris slid off the track several times as he stopped too late and eventually tumbled down the order to finish seventh.

    Speaking about the pain of losing his shot at a maiden win, Norris told Sky: “I’m unhappy. Devastated in a way.

    “I guess we made a call to stay out. I think we stand by that call of course. It was the wrong one at the end of the day, but I made a decision just as much as the team.

    “In fact, it was more that they thought I should box and I decided to stay out. So it was my decision. I thought it was the way to go.”

    Norris said that the situation at the end of the race was especially difficult as it appeared initially, at the time Hamilton had stopped, that slicks were actually the quicker tyre.

    But it was the sudden downpour which soaked the track that turned things around rapidly and wrecked things for Norris.

    “I felt I did everything I could, even when it got tricky at the end,” he explained. “I made a couple of mistakes but still kept Lewis behind and started to pull away a little bit.

    “So it was a bit of luck, like the laps I was out before Lewis boxed, it was I think perfectly fine for the tyres I was on, and I got told the rain was going to stay the same.

    “If it was the same amount then we made the right decision and I think staying out was the correct decision. But it obviously got a lot wetter than we as a team expected and that had us over in the end.”

    Norris said making the call to switch tyres was so hard because they were so close to the end of the race.

    “Especially when there’s only two laps to go,” he said. “If there are 20 to go you are maybe not as aggressive with decisions, but we did what we thought was right, which I’m unhappy with of course. It was wrong at the end of the day.

    “Everything until then, the guys did an excellent job and have done all weekend. So I’m happy with basically everything apart from that one decision which we’ll review and hopefully try not make again.”

  4. Lando Norris has been summoned to see the stewards for running across the pitlane entry line during his late stop to change to inters in Formula 1’s Russian Grand Prix.

    The McLaren driver had made a mistake in staying out on slicks as a late downpour soaked the track.

    And having run wide at several corners in his attempt to get back to the pits to change tyres, he also slipped up by skidding across the pitlane entry line and then cutting back across on his way in.

    This is in breach of the event rules, where drivers were told ahead of the weekend that they are not allowed to cross the pitlane entry lines at all.

    In a note sent beforehand by F1 race director Michael Masi, he said: “Except in the cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the Stewards), the crossing by any part of the car, in any direction, of the painted area between the pit entry and the track, by a driver who, in the opinion of the Stewards, had committed to entering the pit lane is prohibited.”

    McLaren boss Andrea Seidl says the decision for Lando Norris to remain on slicks in the wet final Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix laps was ultimately a team call.

    Norris led for much of Sunday’s race at Sochi, taking the lead on lap 14 from Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and returning to the head of the pack following the pitstop phase.

    The McLaren driver was fending off Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton when the rain began to worsen on lap 46 of 53, with Hamilton eventually boxing for intermediate tyres while Norris committed to the slicks – despite the team calling him into the pits.

    Norris slid off the road at Turn 5 on lap 51 and gifted Hamilton the lead, before his eventual stop for intermediates dropped him to seventh.

    Seidl says the result was “part of the learning” Norris must still do in F1, but conceded McLaren could have been more assertive in its request for their driver to pit.

    “He knows this is part of the game, part of the learning as well,” Seidl told Sky F1.

    “But not just on his side, the team’s side as well because I think there is always a chance to overrule him form the pit wall side from the information we were getting.

    “But in the end, together we made this call to stay out.

    “I think on Lewis’ side we heard the discussions and it was pretty much the same ongoing and on Lewis’ side he had the chance to wait for what we were doing and do the opposite because he was in P2 at this point and we didn’t have this opportunity.

    “We wanted to go for the win, that’s why we decided together to stay out. That’s why it didn’t work out.”

    When asked if there was regret in the call, Seidl responded: “We finished P7, so we regret it at the moment!

    “It’s a decision we made together with the team, with the driver and the pit wall. The result is we didn’t get it together today compared to some other teams.

    “We will analyse it, learn from it and try to do better next time.”

    Seidl went onto praise what Norris is achieving in his third year in F1 having put on a strong showing on Sunday until the closing laps and taking pole in changing conditions on Saturday.

    “I think apart from the last two, three laps, what we’ve seen from the team again together with him from his side when he pulled off the pole and also today in the race, it’s impressive what he’s pulling off in his third year in Formula 1,” he said.

    “And that’s why of course we need to analyse together with him what we could have done better today, learn from it, that’s always the first thing we do – it doesn’t matter what the outcome of a race weekend is.

    “But then at the same time it’s important to see all the positives also from his side and come back stronger in Turkey.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

  5. Mercedes “adamant” to pit after Lewis Hamilton ignored first Formula 1 call to switch to inters. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Toto Wolff says Mercedes’ Formula 1 strategists were “adamant” to pit Lewis Hamilton for intermediates late in the Russian Grand Prix after he ignored an initial call to come in.

    Hamilton scored his 100th grand prix victory after capitalising on a late rain shower in Sochi to beat McLaren’s Lando Norris, switching to intermediates with three laps of the race remaining.

    Hamilton was initially unsure about the decision as the majority of the track was dry, and was seen passing pit entry and continuing for another lap after receiving a call from race engineer Pete Bonnington to come in and switch to intermediates.

    The decision to eventually come in paid off as the rain grew heavier, resulting in Norris spinning off and slipping all the way back to seventh place in the final classification after waiting two more laps to come in.

    Speaking to Norris in the TV pen after the race, Hamilton said that he didn’t want to come in as he was so close to the McLaren driver.

    “My team were great today,” Hamilton said to Norris. “But I ignored the first call, I was like, ‘no, he’s right there!'”

    Mercedes F1 boss Wolff acknowledged after the race that it was always difficult for the driver to have the full picture, but that the team was aware of the growing rain shower that was coming.

    “I think for the driver, it’s always very difficult when half of the track is dry and the other one is just a bit humid,” Wolff said.

    “We knew that the big weather was coming. So Valtteri [Bottas] pitted the lap before, and then our weather frog and the strategists were adamant to pit.”

    Hamilton recovered from dropping to seventh on the opening lap to sit P2 behind Norris following the pit stops, and had reduced a gap of almost nine seconds down to just over one before the rain hit.

    “We were in a way prepared to brace for the tough end, whether we could overtake Lando on-track or not,” Wolff said.

    “Then the rain hit, and things got pretty erratic at that stage. I understand why it was so difficult for McLaren to take this decision to stay out or come in.

    “As a leader, you can only lose. We benefitted from that today, and it’s spectacular for the fans I guess.”

    Hamilton thought that it would have been “tough” to catch and pass Norris for the win had the race stayed dry, having spent a spell earlier in the race stuck behind the second McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo.

    Wolff felt it was “difficult to say” if Hamilton would have passed Norris without the late rain shaking things up.

    “Lewis was stuck behind Ricciardo at the beginning of the race, although Ricciardo had DRS,” Wolff said.

    “I think it would have been difficult to pass. They had a fast car today, and it was well managed from his side.

    “They had a bit of a fuel worry, it seemed, and then when he picked up the pace, he was very quick.”

  6. Lando Norris has kept seventh place in Sunday’s Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix after only receiving a reprimand for cutting pit entry during the late downpour.

    Norris was closing in on a maiden grand prix victory after controlling proceedings from pole position before a late rain shower turned the race on its head.

    Norris opted to stay out on slicks while the majority of other drivers came in for intermediates, only for the decision to backfire as the rain grew heavier.

    The McLaren driver was eventually able to pit at the end of lap 51 – two laps after eventual race winner Lewis Hamilton – but was shown on the TV feed cutting across the white line as he hauled his car into the pits.

    The stewards noted the incident, and confirmed they would be investigating after the race, issuing a summons for Norris to meet them at 1745 local time in Sochi.

    Cutting the white line at pit entry typically warrants a five-second time penalty, as seen in Austria earlier this year with Yuki Tsunoda.

    But the stewards only opted to give Norris a reprimand for the incident, accounting for the fact that he had slowed his pace considerably to try and make it into the pits, and that cutting the line was not intentional.

    “The stewards took into account that on the previous lap the driver of Car 4 had passed through Turn 17 (adjacent to the Pit Entry) at a relatively high speed, without loss of control,” the stewards’ bulletin reads.

    “During the ensuing lap, the conditions deteriorated rapidly and were varied in different parts of the circuit. The driver slowed considerably on entering the Pit Entry, with his speed approximately half of his normal pit entry speed, but still lost control and slid across the painted area between the Pit Entry and the track.

    “Although obviously the driver chose to remain out on the track on hard compound slick tyres when others chose to change to Intermediates, and therefore sought to gain an advantage in retaining his race position, we do not consider that the crossing of the painted area was intentional or predictable in the circumstances.”

    It marks Norris’s first driving reprimand of the season, but means the McLaren driver does not lose any more positions after his heartbreaking defeat to Hamilton in the late rain shower.

    Source: Motorsport.com

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