Hamilton makes it a 100 at the VTB Russian Grand Prix 2021
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton entered a unique club after his 100th career win in Sochi at the VTB Russian Grand Prix 2021. The 7- time world champion, however, is the only member of this club of drivers who have accumulated 100 career wins. Starting P4, the English driver proved his mettle as he made up places to go into P2 at the time that the rain set in.
Taking advantage of fellow Englishman Lando Norris’ decision to finish the race without switching for intermediate compound tyres, Hamilton soon got an opportunity to get ahead of Norris. With the McLaren driver sliding off track as a result of no grip on his tyres, Hamilton moved into P1 with a considerable lead over the rest of the grid. His latest landmark race marks helped Mercedes remain unbeaten in the history of the Russian Grand Prix, with the constructor winning every race so far.
Norris denied a maiden win
It was indeed a heartbreak for Lando Norris who saw his first career win in Formula 1 snatched away, with a mere two laps to go. Having secured pole position in qualifying, Norris started the race with former teammate and Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz alongside him in P2. The initial battle was intense as Sainz managed to get the better of Norris going into turn 2. The Spaniard took the lead but Norris was able to chase him down a few laps later and regain his position at the head of the pack.
Towards the end of the race, Norris found himself fending off the charge of Lewis Hamilton, just when the rain began to set in. Hamilton was quick to get into the pits and switch out his tyres for intermediates while Norris opted to stay out and finish the race on his running tyres. This decision ended up costing him a potential win as he slid off the track after losing grip.
The McLaren driver managed to finish the race P7 after ultimately pitting and switching to intermediate tyres.
Strong performance by Red Bull at VTB Russian Grand Prix 2021
Taking a chance to swap out Max Verstappen’s power unit saw the Dutchman starting at the back of the grid in P20. Verstappen was quick to make a comeback as he began overtaking driver after driver. The biggest task lay in getting past Valtteri Bottas, who had started P16 after Mercedes opted to change his power unit as well. The Finn who had qualified P7 faced a grid penalty which strategically placed him in the path of Verstappen.
The Red Bull driver, however, quickly made his ascent up the grid and was within podium positions when the rain set in. Pitting at the right time allowed him to finish P2 ahead behind championship rival Lewis Hamilton.
The rain upset the race for a lot of drivers. One amongst that list of the drivers was Sergio Perez. Having qualified eighth, the Mexican showed signs of a struggle as he tried to move up the field. A slow pit stop also saw his charge up the field hampered. Though Perez managed to make it to P3 at one point in the race, the rain saw him pit during lap 50. The Mexican managed to finish P9 and come away from the race with two points.
Carlos Sainz continues to perform
Carlos Sainz put on a display worthy of his podium finish in third. The Spaniard who started P2 on the grid alongside his former McLaren teammate Lando Norris, did well to snatch the lead from him early on in the race. Switching to the hard tyres, Sainz was on the tail of Norris for a good part of the race.
With the rain setting in, Ferrari called him in to switch for intermediates. The move was timed quite rightly as the Spaniard went on to finish third, behind Max Verstappen. The podium was his third podium of the year and at Ferrari and the fifth of his career.
A bad outing for Alpha Tauri
After a hectic turn of events that saw Pierre Gasly unable to finish in the points positions, the Alpha Tauri driver was left quite frustrated. The week did not seem in favor of the Frenchman, as he was found struggling for form. Having qualified 12th on the grid, he has moved up a place to 11th, on account of Valtteri Bottas’ grid penalty.
The Frenchman even went as far as P6- but even then began to lose pace. He was running in P10 when it began raining and then again lost out on positions to finish P13. His troubles however did not end there as he went on to have contact with the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll which resulted in the latter being awarded a time penalty. Having suffered a retirement in Monza and not having finished in the points positions in Sochi, the Frenchman will look to regain his form in Turkey.
Sharing Pierre Gasly’s frustration was teammate Yuki Tsunoda who also didn’t have the best of weekends at Sochi. Starting the race in P12 behind his teammate, Tsunoda was quick to lose positions at the start. Falling down the order, he soon began showing slow pace. Given the onset of the rain, Tsunoda’s cause wasn’t helped further. The young Japanese driver struggled to keep up with the rest of the midfield and managed to bring his Alpha Tauri in at P17.
The championship race after VTB Russian Grand Prix 2021
After a dramatic turn of events at the Sochi VTB Russian Grand Prix 2021, Lewis Hamilton found himself at the top of the driver’s championship standings with 246.5 points, a mere 2 points adrift of Red Bull rival Max Verstappen. As the result Mercedes lies ahead of Red Bull in the constructors’ championship with a considerable lead. Despite Lando Norris losing out on the win and Carlos Sainz’s podium finish in third, McLaren still holds a lead over Ferrari in the constructors’ championship.
Down the order, Alpine sit in 5th place in the constructors, ahead of Alpha Tauri and Aston Martin respectively with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso being the only driver from the three teams to finish within the points positions. George Russell’s fine run over the past few races see Williams in 8th place in the constructors with 23 points, above 9th placed Alfa Romeo and Haas, who sit in tenth place having not yet scored points this season.
That being said, İstanbul’a gidiyoruz!