Another daring race in Sochi, the rain in the final knocks out Norris who was in charge and exalts Hamilton who makes round numbers of successes in F1. On the podium Verstappen who started last, third was a great Sainz
Lewis Hamilton wins the Russian GP, his 100th triumph in F1, with Verstappen second after starting last, yet another feat on a traditionally fiefdom Mercedes track. Sainz, excellent at the start, third on the podium, with Norris protagonist of the race who pays for the choice not to replace his dry tires with the start of the rain Hamilton was expected at a turning point of the season, with five points to recover on the leader of the Verstappen classification at an altitude of 226.5 and the wonderful opportunity of a friendly track like Sochi, in a Russian Grand Prix that has always seen a Mercedes triumph in all its seven editions since 2014. The tire factor is decisive, with the choice initial to favor a long pit stop that contrasts with the wear of the left front tire in a circuit with 12 right-hand corners. Verstappen at the start with the hard ones. Hamilton with the medium, which he managed in the second part of the race with hard in a much more aggressive way.
Lewis does not shine at the start
Hamilton immediately fell to seventh place after Sainz’s quick start. The Spaniard, flanked by poleman Norris and Russel closes the first corner in the lead, while the first Mercedes driver remains behind, hampered by his teammate 2022 swimming. , which in the meantime had recovered positions from the last one at the start. The Finn’s marking role on the Dutchman immediately takes shape by limiting the pace of the Red Bull number 33, at least until the sixth lap, with Bottas slipping almost disarmingly at turn 15. The Dutchman conquers 15th position while the Ferrari Sainz takes 1.5 seconds ahead of second Norris, followed by Russel 8 seconds behind the leader. A duel in the head begins between the two friends, who on lap 10 sees Sainz’s Ferrari already in tire crisis with the front left, the most stressed in a circuit with 12 right-hand corners. Verstappen still takes advantage of the battle between Leclerc and Vettel to gain 12th place.
Norris and Verstappen by force
On lap 13 the turning point, with Norris gaining all Sainz’s slipstream and at turn 13 overtaking the Spaniard, who in just one lap was already 2.5 seconds late and returned to the pits to replace the tires. In world terms, the photograph of Hamilton’s moment of difficulty lies in the just six seconds ahead of Verstappen, protagonist of the fastest lap in the 16th lap and like the Englishman who has not yet entered the pits for his first tire change. For this Hamilton climbs up to the second position with Verstappen’s angry comeback fifth, while Sainz after the tire change is navigating with difficulty in tenth place.
Lewis and Max, tire war
Yet another change of scene on lap 27, with Verstappen in the pits returning twelfth with a medium tire, in the midst of traffic, with what will prove to be a sensational strategy error for the Team, which could keep the Dutchman on track with hard tires for many more turns. Hamilton comes out of the pits in ninth position on the hard tire and begins a race in the race that quickly takes him to the front, with such an amazing pace on the hard tire that Verstappen’s performance in the medium is improved. With 20 laps to go, the Englishman laps two seconds faster than anyone on the track and is 6 seconds behind Norris. In front of them only drivers still without pit stops who free on the field early to the paw of the Mercedes driver, relentless in exploiting his hard tires, with Norris defending his first position with his teeth by lapping up to two seconds of his companion Ricciardo, fourth . Verstappen is now sailing in 13th position, very slow on medium tires. Sainz is third over 22 seconds behind Hamilton. The race takes the path of a Mclaren duel against Mercedes. The circle closes on lap 47, with the first drops of rain on the track and Hamilton falling below the second behind Norris, who resists with determination and drives to the limit on the slimy asphalt, while in the rear Perez blows the clear place at Sainz, also surpassed by Alonso.
The last five laps are full of risk, with Norris remaining on the track and Hamilton returning to the pits to mount the intermediates and returning to second position 25 seconds late, but playing his game on Verstappen, sixth. On lap 51 Norris goes off the track twice and compromises the race. Hamilton in the lead, according to Norris, who progressively loses positions and returns to the pits. Last lap for Hamilton in the lead, with Verstappen second and Sainz third. The victory goes to the Englishman who does not consolidate the advantage of a friendly track at all, while the Dutchman makes his umpteenth textbook comeback.
Russian GP: order of arrival
1. Lewis Hamilton (GB – Mercedes)
2. Max Verstappen (Ola – Red Bull) +53.271
3. Carlos Sainz (Spa – Ferrari) +62.475
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Aus – McLaren) +65,607
5. Valtteri Bottas (Fin – Mercedes) +67.533
6. Fernando Alonso (Spa – Alpine) +81.321
7. Lando Norris (GB – McLaren) +87.224
8. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin – Alfa Romeo) +88,955
9. Sergio Perez (Month – Red Bull) +90.076
10. George Russell (GB – Williams) +100.551
11. Lance Stroll (Can – Aston Martin) +106.198
12. Sebastian Vettel (Ger – Aston Martin) +1 gyro
13. Pierre Gasly (Fra – AlphaTauri) +1 giro
14. Esteban Ocon (Fra – Alpine) +1 lap
15. Charles Leclerc (Mon – Ferrari) +1 giro
16. Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita – Alfa Romeo) +1 lap
17. Yuki Tsunoda (Giap –AlphaTauri) +1 giro
18. Nikita Mazepin (Rus – Haas) +1 giro
19. Nicholas Latifi (Can – Williams) +1 giro
20. Mick Schumacher (Ger – Haas) +1 giro
September 26, 2021 (change September 26, 2021 | 16:02)
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