|A happy Nico Rosberg|
Nico Rosberg started on pole and led every lap of the Russian GP to win his 7th F1 race in a row Sunday in Sochi. His Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton finished 2nd over 25 seconds behind after starting 10th.
Hamilton was closing on Rosberg who was cruising at the front when his Mercedes engineers radioed Hamilton that his water-pressure was too high, which led to him backing off and the race was over.
Kimi Raikkonen brought his Ferrari home third with Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez rounding out the top-5.
It all came undone on the first lap for Raikkonen's Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel who was rammed twice by Russian ride-buyer Daniil Kvyat, the 2nd time sending the German hard into the turn 3 wall and out of the race.
After starting 7th, Vettel made a move up the inside on Daniel Ricciardo into the Turn 2 right-hander on the first lap only for Kvyat to spear the rear of the Ferrari and pitch it sideways and into Ricciardo, who in turn hit Perez and gave the Force India a right-rear puncture.
The Ferrari was then speared in the rear again by Kvyat in the fast Turn 3, sending Vettel into the wall and out of the race. On the radio Vettel was livid with the Russian, who he had a run-in last race in China.
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]The safety car was deployed to clear up the wreckage of the Ferrari and the consequences of a separate incident in which Esteban Gutierrez hit Nico Hulkenberg's Force India.
Kvyat, who like teammate Ricciardo had to pit for a new front wing, had to stop again when he was given a 10-second stop/go penalty for causing the two collisions.
Immediately after the crash, Vettel said over his radio: "Oh for f— sake, man! Who the f—!! Oh, I'm out. Crash. Somebody hit me in the f—ing rear in Turn 2, then someone hit me in the f—ing rear again in Turn 3. Honestly. What the f–k are we doing here?"
When speaking to TV after the race Vettel — who paid a visit to the Red Bull pit wall to speak to his former boss Christian Horner — had calmed down but was in no doubt who was to blame.
"Look, I don't dislike him, but I think he did a mistake two weeks ago" Vettel said. "I think he did a mistake today – it is fairly obvious – but it doesn't help me now because I am not in the car.
"I think you saw more than me," he told reporters.
"It was fairly clear. I just saw the footage. I got a big hit.
"I was lucky not to spin into Turn 2. Then I got another huge hit that turned me around. I couldn't avoid the barriers."
Having been hit at Turn 2, Vettel said he was trying to establish whether his car had sustained damage when he was struck once more.
"I was equally attacking Lewis [Hamilton] into Turn 3," he said.
"I wasn't sure [if the car was damaged], I wanted to get a feel, but then got a big hit.
"I think there's nothing I could have done differently."
Asked if he would speak to Kvyat, he replied: "I think there's nothing I could have done differently. I think if anybody needs to talk to somebody I guess it's him."
After the race Kvyat claims Vettel suddenly slowed and he could not avoid hitting him. Did Vettel have a problem with the car after the first contact, or did Kvyat ram him on purpose. A review of the data will show the facts.
Vettel's chances to win the 2016 title are now over, not that he really had a chance given the superior Mercedes car.
Despite finishing in a respectable P3, the Finn explained that the atmosphere at Ferrari is to always win races.
"Of course it's not exactly what we want, we want to win races but we tried today," said Raikkonen.
"I had a pretty OK start and managed to get past Valtteri on the first lap.
"After the re-start we didn't have the pace. We caught the Williams but were not fast enough for Mercedes.
"We had good speed but with fuel saving we have to take some measures."
|A happy Rosberg|
Nico Rosberg (1st): "This weekend really went really perfectly for me. Already in Qualifying I had found a perfect balance and that continued throughout the race, which was fantastic. I had a great start and from there was able to control the pace at the front. Thank you so much to everybody at the factories for building such an amazing car. If you have a car like this, you are really able to push to the limits and that's an awesome feeling. Lewis drove really well to come back up to second so quickly, so well done to him too. The only down side to the weekend was to see that reliability is becoming a bit of a concern, as Lewis obviously has a problem yesterday and both cars had issues during the race today. But we have a great team behind us and I'm fully confident that we will sort this out. ItÂ´s unbelievable to go into the European races with four wins and I really look forward to Barcelona now. Thanks, Russia – you were very good to me!"
Lewis Hamilton (2nd): "Firstly, I would like to that the guys who came together to get the new parts over here from the factory last night – and then to the mechanics who worked all through the night to get everything prepared for me to go out there and race today. The guys on my side of the garage are having a really hard time of it at the moment – but I have every faith and confidence in them. We've swapped things round in the garage a bit this season but that is absolutely not the reason we've been having issues. It hasn't been the case for the past three years and I have no reason to believe it would be now. Without their hard work I wouldn't even have got to this point, so a big thank you to them once again. The first corner was pretty hectic. I don't know what happened – but I saw something happening in the corner of my eye and just thought "I'm not getting caught again!" I managed to get out of the way and avoid it – but if I'd turned in I would have collected them. It was pure instinct and I'm glad I was able to come out without any contact this time. From there I had good pace and I felt like I could challenge for the win – but then there was the water pressure problem which ended that chance. It was tough to hang on at the end but I handled it as best I could. I had to really nurse the car home and I'm just relieved to have made it to the flag after how this weekend has been. I've got a long way to go yet this season with not many healthy engine parts left, so we need to do a better job on reliability."
Paddy Lowe: "Coming into the race, the team did a fantastic job to get Lewis' car back into shape for the race in the right specification and preserving his tenth place on the grid under parc ferme restrictions. It was quite a dramatic start, from which our drivers fortunately emerged unscathed. The result, in fact, worked in their favor, with Nico comfortable at the front and Lewis moving up to fifth. After the re-start, Lewis made some fantastic overtaking moves on Massa and Raikkonen, then once again on Bottas following the first round of stops. This proved critical to his result. After Nico's stop, his car developed an MGU-K problem which we were able to manage to some extent but remained a concern to the end of the race. Then, shortly afterwards, Lewis' water pressure started to progressively drop. We encouraged him to ease off, which helped to a degree. But, in reality, this appeared to be a terminal situation and we were sitting for about 20 laps with our fingers crossed hoping the car would make it to the flag. By some miracle it did just that, which came as a huge relief after the difficulties of the weekend. Overall, it's great to get another one-two finish. But it's clear that we have more work to do in the days leading up to the next race to understand the series of problems experienced over the past two weekends."
Toto Wolff, Technical Director: "That race was anything but plain sailing today – it was a pretty stressful experience to get both cars home, and there was a point when we thought neither of them might make it to the flag. First of all, congratulations to Nico, he did a perfect job all weekend and controlled the race from the front once again. He didn't put a foot wrong and, when we faced an issue on the MGU-K during the middle part of the race, he was able to do all the necessary steps to keep it under control and bring it home. As for Lewis, he drove brilliantly. Some really good, aggressive passing maneuvers and clever racing brought him to P2 – and he was just getting his head down to charge when we saw a water leak and he was losing water pressure. The only thing to do was ask him to back off to bring the car home and fortunately that meant the situation stabilized but cost him the chance of racing Nico. No doubt he will be thinking about what could have been today – but it was a fantastic recovery after such a tough moment in qualifying yesterday. A one-two finish is always something special and to be savored, especially with the performance advantage we enjoyed this weekend. We are pushing hard this year and finding the limits of our car – but we need to get on top of our issues so the drivers can battle it out on track themselves. That's what we all want to see and what we will be working hard to achieve in the coming days before Barcelona."
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Kimi Raikkonen (3rd): "Overall it hasn't been a very easy weekend, but today we tried to make the best out of it. I had a good start and managed to get second position but then, like last year, after the Safety Car I could not hold up the Williams behind me on the straight. After that I was trying to fight them back, but I lost one place to Hamilton. So we decided to run longer to gain positions and we did quite a pretty good job. The car was handling very well through the whole race, even if we were forced to do some fuel saving and this affected our laptimes. The third place we managed today is what we were able to achieve, but is not ideal, because we want to be at the front with both cars. It's a pity not to be fighting for the win, but we take this result and keep on working to put ourselves in a better position."
Sebastian Vettel (DNF, Accident): "I think it's a shame because today we had done everything right. I had a really good start, I was a bit stuck at the first turn, but then I was able to go. Of course there's always a bit more risk in starting behind, but P7 is not P15. I was going into second corner, I was already attacking and approaching fifth place, but it doesn't help when people behind don't brake. What Kvyat did was completely unnecessary. I had a massive hit from behind, then another big hit in turn 3 and that finished my race. As far as I know, the race is 53 laps, but not everybody seems to remember. I don't think I need to say much, I think if you look at the footage you'll have the answers to your questions. Today it was not my fault, there was nothing I could have done differently, nothing I would change. I don't dislike him (Kvyat), but I think he did a mistake two weeks ago, he made a mistake today but it doesn't help me now. Obviously I would have loved to drive the car today to feel if we could keep the same balance into the race, but for the future nothing has changed. Of course I'm disappointed but we're already focused on the next race."
Valtteri Bottas (4th): "The beginning of the race was pretty good and we managed to defend against some of the quicker cars behind. I think being aggressive with the early pitstop was good but unfortunately the cars with more pace managed to get through, and at the end of the race there wasn't much happening for me. All-in-all the team has done a good job this weekend. It's positive to get a lot of points for Williams. There's definitely progress, this is a good track for us so that helped, but we just need to keep improving. I definitely had more in mind today than fourth so we need to keep pushing."
Felipe Massa (5th): "I think it was a very positive weekend for us and a very positive race. I would have loved to finish fourth and not fifth, but that's just part of the game so I'm happy with the result. We managed to score a lot more points than Red Bull, and that's the target for us right now. They have a very good team and a very good car, but we need to keep believing. This weekend was a very good weekend so we need to keep fighting like that. I think for the team the best position was fourth and fifth. Valtteri was able to manage the tires better here, whilst I was able to manage them better in China. That's the way it goes, but today's result is very good for Williams."
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: "It was a good race, and it was a really good weekend. Every day we got our heads down and have done what we needed to do. The car performance is going forward, even in race trim today. We had improving pace against Ferrari and Mercedes and that's what we need to keep heading towards. I think our pace against Red Bull this weekend has been really good; they've had a bad weekend and we've absolutely capitalized on that. Felipe's tires were degrading a bit towards the end so we made a precautionary stop and let him run on the supersofts again, as we had enough of a margin to easily stop him and retain fifth. The race played out just as we expected it to really, so it was very good from that point of view. We've gained 22 points over Red Bull and Toro Rosso, so that's really good, and third is well within our sights now; we just have to keep heading towards it. As I've mentioned before, we've developed the car a lot, but we need another two or three tenths, and we just need to keep developing it, in all areas. Nobody is free from finding performance in Formula One, and certainly not at Williams, but I think we got the most we could have done out of today."
Red Bull-Tag Heuer
Daniel Ricciardo (11th): "It's frustrating and a shame to be out of the race more or less from the first lap onwards but I think these things happen with racing. After the start I felt a big hit. I saw Seb come into me but it looked like he got hit as well. We had a lot of damage and had to pit. We thought we'd try the mediums but that wasn't really working. Unfortunately the damage was so much that we didn't really learn anything from today's race and we don't know what our pace was. Barcelona and Monaco should be better, so we have a few races to be excited about."
Daniil Kvyat (15th): "There was a lot going on at the start and I didn't expect to slow down as much, I locked the rear wheels and the car was a bit out of control which caused the contact with Sebastian. On Turn 3, I couldn't see what was happening ahead, Sebastian seemed to slow down and unfortunately I didn't have time to react and this caused the second contact. I'm sorry for Sebastian and also to the team as we gave away a lot of points today from both my side and Daniel's. It doesn't feel great, this is probably the messiest first lap of my career."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Unfortunately our race concluded at Turn One for both our drivers. It looked like Dany misjudged his braking and hit the rear of Sebastian's car who in turn hit Daniel causing significant damage to both our cars. This lead to a double pit stop for new front wings. From there Daniel did what he could with the damage to his car to finish in 11th and Dany in 15th. It has been a frustrating day for the team as obviously we gave away a lot of points. Dany hasn't been involved in an incident like this before and I am sure he will learn from it. Apologies to Sebastian as well, it's not the race any of us wanted."
Sergio Perez (9th): "It's obviously good to come away with my first points of the year, but without the puncture on lap one the result today could have been so much better. I didn't get the best start, but I found a good line going into turn two and I was ahead of Ricciardo and Vettel coming out of the corner. Then I realized I had a puncture, which dropped me to the back of the field. After that it was a recovery drive and I managed to get back up to ninth place just behind Grosjean. I had a quicker car and fresher tires, but he had very good traction and I just couldn't get close enough to make a move. It's a shame not to score more points because we did everything right today, but we were just really unlucky. There are lots of positives to take away from this weekend – the great performance in qualifying and the strong race pace. The car is improving and we have some upgrades on the way so I'm feeling optimistic ahead of Barcelona."
Nico Hulkenberg (DNF, Accident): "It was a very frustrating end to my weekend. I got to turn two and felt a big shove from behind: Esteban (Gutierrez) out-braked himself, hit me and spun me around. I was hit by other cars and the damage was too much to even attempt to continue. It's very disappointing and not the way I wanted to celebrate my 100th race weekend. Hopefully our luck will change soon as we have been very unlucky lately. We should have some upgrades in Spain and I want to be back scoring the points we deserve."
Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer: "It was another race in which we didn't fully reap the rewards of our work. Unfortunately, both our drivers fell victim to incidents at turn two, neither of which were their fault. Nico's race was over immediately, while Sergio had to make his way back to the pits with a puncture and re-joined last. From there on, we were able to display some good pace as Checo made his way through the pack, got back into the points and closed in on Grosjean. Despite having superior pace we couldn't progress any higher on this track which proved very difficult for overtaking. It means we leave Sochi with mixed emotions. Without the incidents on lap one, we would have been at the front of the midfield pack and with the pace to stay there. At least we can take encouragement from the performance that will help us at the upcoming races, where hopefully we will have a bit more luck and score more consistently."
Kevin Magnussen (7th): "It feels really good to get these points for the team as I know how hard everyone's been working this season. I made a great start, but then lost a couple of positions at the first corner because of a spin in front of me. After that I was pushing hard for the entire race, made some good overtakes and I had a great pit stop from the crew. We were a bit lucky today; we've been unlucky in the past so I've certainly no complaints!"
Jolyon Palmer (13th): "It's great for the team to get our first points of the season and I'm pleased that we're making genuine progress with the car. Kevin showed what is possible today so that's a good target for the next races. Overall we've learnt a lot of positives this weekend so I feel there's a lot to build on for the races ahead."
Fred Vasseur, Racing Director: "After the Chinese Grand Prix everyone dug deep so to finish strongly in the top ten at a circuit where we didn't expect to excel is a testament to the resolve of everyone in the team. Kevin drove a superb race and there was nothing more we could ask of him. Jolyon didn't get quite the same opportunities in his race but drove well too. A big thank you to everyone at Enstone and Viry for their continued efforts."
Carlos Sainz (12th): "What an unfortunate race. Even though I did one of my best ever starts, a piece of another car got stuck in our side pod, which made me lose downforce during my first stint and also meant I had to stop too early for my pit-stop onto the Softs. This then compromised my second stint and I then also got a 10-second penalty…Now it's time to reset, get ready for my home race – it always gives me an extra boost! – and come back stronger than ever."
Max Verstappen (DNF, Engine): "Unfortunately I had to retire today after running in P6… It was looking like a great race up until then, as I was cruising around and I didn't have any pressure from behind; I was just following the guys in front and our pace was strong. We could hold on to the tires very well and I have to say I was quite relaxed, managing everything well and it was all looking so good… Who knows what could've happened! Of course it's disappointing to have to stop the car, but this is a mechanical sport and these things happen. Now we just have to take the positives from the weekend and get ready for the first European race of the season in Spain in two weeks' time."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Quite a dramatic race. After the start there was an incident where a lot of cars were involved – unfortunately Carlos got a part of another car stuck into his radiator duct, which had quite a big influence on his performance. In fact, we had to call him in much earlier than originally scheduled and this is when we found a part of a car's bodywork, which had caused the overheating. After his tire change his performance was good and he was able to catch up. He then had a fight with Palmer, where the stewards decided to penalize him with a 10-second penalty for pushing him off the track. This meant Carlos was not any more within the points. Regarding Max, he was racing in sixth place after the start and was able to keep this position quite easily, creating a big gap to Alonso who was behind in seventh place. With 20 laps to go, we had a problem with the Power Unit and therefore Max had to stop. It's a shame, because we really had the pace to finish easily in sixth position, as he was doing a fantastic job. We will now fully concentrate on our preparation for Barcelona, where we had a very competitive package during winter testing, and hopefully we will be luckier there."
Marcus Ericsson (14th): "It's been a decent race for me. I had a difficult weekend as I have been struggling a lot to get the tires to work on this special surface here. After the long-runs on Friday, we expected the car would behave better on high-fuel, which was the case today. For myself I can be satisfied with my race performance. Obviously, the result is not where we want to be. We are struggling with our pace at the moment, but we just need to focus even more to work on our performance."
Felipe Nasr (16th): "I had a good start and was able to gain some positions in the first laps of the race. Unfortunately, on my first stint with the supersoft tires, I had a slow puncture on the left front tire, which forced me to box on lap 12. We changed to the soft tires on which I made it to the end. This early pit stop surely compromised my race. It is unfortunate, but I can also take some positives from the weekend as I felt comfortable in the car."
Fernando Alonso (6th): "We were lucky in Turns Two and Three on the opening lap – due to those accidents, we were able to gain some places for free. But, as we saw last year, we can make a good start but then not be able to maintain those strong starting positions. This year, it's different – we have the pace: to finish sixth, and set the fifth-fastest lap, shows that our car is still gaining pace. In fact, the car felt good all race – obviously, we were saving fuel at some points of the afternoon, but, on one lap, I just decided to go for it – to wake myself up a little bit! – and the lap-time showed the potential is there. Finishing in the points should be our regular target from now on."
Jenson Button (10th): "To get both cars home in the points – and at a track which we didn't feel would really suit our package – is a fantastic result for the whole team. As the pack dived into Turn Two, I had to back off because it was mayhem. The bollard at Turn Two is the problem at the start because people are trying to fight through Turns Two and Three. I think that needs some looking at. From there, I was disadvantaged, but the pace was in the car. After that, it was just a case of fighting my way back – which I really enjoyed. It's difficult to overtake around here, but I was able to make a few moves and enjoy myself. I think the next race in Barcelona will be reasonably difficult for us, but there's no reason not to look forward to targeting another points haul in Monaco."
Eric Boullier, Racing Director: "A double points-finish is a great result for the entire team, and a real marker of the progress we've been steadily making since the start of the season. Fernando drove a brilliant race, displaying all the guile, aggression and opportunism for which he is so well known. His race was established at the very start, when he took advantage of the opening-lap carnage to leap from 14th to eighth. From there, he was able to firmly establish himself in the top 10, gaining two further positions before the checkered flag. Sixth was a great reward for his efforts. That said, he drove a somewhat lonely race, with one eye very much on his fuel-meter. The gap ahead to fourth-placed Valtteri Bottas tells the story of how conservatively he drove his race – and the handful of very quick, unrestrained, laps that he punched in during the closing laps show the potential of what could have been achieved had he been able to run at full pace throughout. If Fernando's race was defined by the start, Jenson's only really came together towards the end. He was heavily compromised by the chaos on the opening lap, but pulled off one of his characteristically deft and gritty performances, enjoying a lengthy four-car battle on his way to 10th. This race showcases the collective efforts of the entire organization – not just McLaren Racing and Honda, but also our key technical partner, Mobil 1, whose oil and lubes have played such a key role in our ongoing development. To our partners, too, their faith and belief is starting to be repaid. While we know that one swallow does not make a summer, we stand firm in our belief that we have turned the corner and will start to make further progress throughout the season."
Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda: "I am very happy that we finished with both cars in the points today. Our two highly experienced drivers maneuvered expertly around the chaotic start and first-lap collisions, which put us in a position to battle for points throughout the race. We knew that our longer stints were good here, but it was a job well done for our team and drivers to manage our one-stop strategy and fuel-saving during the race, which led to today's results. We know that we still have a long way to go, but I'm relieved that we've finally confirmed that we have the true potential to fight within the middle of the pack."
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Pascal Wehrlein (18th): "A disappointing result today. I got a good start and managed to avoid all the problems in the first couple of corners, then the first stint was quite good for me. I had a good fight with the Saubers but after the first pit stop they were in front of me. I tried to push hard to overtake one of them again but I couldn't manage it and I destroyed my tires behind them so I had to box again. At the second stop we had a problem with the left-rear which lost us a lot of time but by then I think 18th was the best we could hope for. Now we have to focus on heading to Europe and what we can do to improve. My thanks to the team so far for a good first few races and their hard work."
Rio Haryanto (DNF, Accident): "Today I was unlucky and it's very disappointing, especially after I made such a good start, probably my best of the season so far. I managed to gain a couple of places, however when I got to turn 2 there were lots of cars fighting and the Force India of Hulkenberg spinning but I had nowhere to go. There was contact on the side of the car and quite a bit of damage, which meant I had to stop the car. After a good couple of days it's disappointing to finish the weekend in this way, but looking at the positives I feel we have been more competitive and I'm looking forward to continuing this at the next race in Barcelona."
Dave Ryan, Racing Director: "I wouldn't go as far as to say it was a race to forget, as we learn something from every lap, but it's fair to say we're heading home from Sochi disappointed. Rio was massively unlucky and as the replays show, he was just a passenger as Hulkenberg came spinning back towards him. From the footage we can see he was airborne, which together with the damage to his car tells us a lot about the force with which he was punted out of the race. Pascal had a good initial stint and enjoyed a couple of feisty battles for position but in pushing so hard the tires were destroyed and we had to pit him again. At that stop we had a problem with the left-rear, which lost us a lot of time and so in the final stint it was just about bringing his car home. Now, with the first four races behind us, it's time to take everything we've learned so far and try to make some good progress with effect from Spain."
Romain Grosjean (8th): "It's great to be back in the points, especially after a very difficult weekend where we were never very happy with the car. It was a good first lap to avoid all the incidents, and then I kept (Sergio) Perez behind. There are still so many things we can improve on the car. I'm still not a hundred percent happy with the behavior. I think for the next race it's going to be so much better. It's very positive knowing that we have something that will become better."
Esteban Gutierrez (17th): "It was a tough race from the beginning. It was definitely not a nice start. I arrived at the first corner with a lot of space in front and I braked but, unfortunately, I couldn't stop the car and I ran into Nico (Hulkenberg). It's a shame not only for me but for him, as well. I tried to do my best to recover the race but, obviously, we got the penalty and lost a lot of track time. However, I pushed until the end and we managed to finish the race, which was a good thing. We now need to focus on the next race in Barcelona."
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: "A fantastic result for the team being in the points. After the last two days of testing and qualifying, we didn't expect to finish eighth. However, we were always aiming for the points and we pulled it off again. A big thanks to everyone for a great team effort. Obviously, it was very unfortunate for Esteban after his incident at the start, but he will get back from this and hopefully he'll be in the points soon. It was a great race from Romain to keep his position, fighting left, right and center. It makes F1 interesting. It was a great race."
|6||Fernando Alonso||McLaren/Honda||1 Lap|
|7||Kevin Magnussen||Renault/Renault||1 Lap|
|8||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|10||Jenson Button||McLaren/Honda||1 Lap|
|11||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/TAG Heuer||1 Lap|
|12||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|13||Jolyon Palmer||Renault/Renault||1 Lap|
|14||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|15||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/TAG Heuer||1 Lap|
|16||Felipe Nasr||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|17||Esteban Gutierrez||Haas/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|18||Pascal Wehrlein||Manor/Mercedes||2 Laps|
|DNF||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||Retirement|
|DNF||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||Collision|
|3||Red Bull/TAG Heuer||57|
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