2018 Russian Grand Prix.

Discussion in 'Sports' started by Swami, Sep 27, 2018.

  1. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    F1 heads to Sochi this weekend, Vettel and Ferrari really need to win here to keep their faltering title hopes alive.

    Swami
     
  2. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    Lewis Hamilton top in Russian GP practice as Ferrari struggle






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    Final practice is live on the BBC Sport website and 5 live sports extra at 10:00 BST on Saturday
    Lewis Hamilton headed Valtteri Bottas to a Mercedes one-two in second practice at the Russian Grand Prix, as title rival Sebastian Vettel struggled.

    Hamilton pipped Bottas by 0.199 seconds while Vettel was fifth fastest in the Ferrari, 0.543secs off the pace.

    Vettel, who had a spin late in the session, starts the weekend 40 points behind Hamilton, with a maximum of 150 available over the remaining six races.


    The Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were third and fourth.

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    Two Vettels are better than one given how much he trails Hamilton in the title race
    They will start from the back of the grid because Red Bull have fitted new Renault engines to both cars and, as they have exceeded the maximum number of engine parts, that means they will receive grid penalties.

    Bad news for Vettel
    Mercedes' pace on a single lap suggested they have an advantage over Ferrari at the start of the weekend, which is bad news for Vettel, who really needs to beat Hamilton to revive his title hopes this weekend.

    Vettel set the pace in the first practice session, but he was only 0.33secs quicker than Hamilton despite using the softest hyper-soft tyre while the Mercedes was on the ultra-soft.

    The time difference between those two tyres is in the region of a second - so both sessions told a similar story, of a Mercedes that has a chunk of time over Ferrari.

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    Can Vettel salvage his season with a win in Sochi?
    However, Friday practice times can be misleading, as it is not clear what specification the cars are running in, so it would be premature to draw any conclusions.

    With the race expected to feature just a single pit stop, and overtaking difficult, grid positions are important - although the long run from the start to the first corner gives drivers on the second row a chance to get a tow and pass into the first corner, as Bottas did on his way to victory last year.

    All the latest F1 Gossip

    Both Toro Rosso drivers - who have new, upgraded Honda engines this weekend - and the McLaren of Fernando Alonso, also with a new Renault engine, will join the Red Bulls at the back of the grid.

    And the auguries looked good for the new Honda power-unit.

    Pierre Gasly's Toro Rosso was just pipped for the best of the rest slot in seventh by 0.015secs by Force India's Sergio Perez, whose team-mate Esteban Ocon was 0.01secs behind his fellow Frenchman.

    Swami
     
  3. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    Lewis Hamilton beaten to Russian GP pole by Valtteri Bottas






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    Valtteri Bottas beat Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to pole position as Mercedes dominated qualifying at the Russian Grand Prix.

    Bottas edged Hamilton by 0.145 seconds after the world champion made mistakes in the middle sector on both his laps in the final top 10 shoot-out.

    Hamilton's title rival Sebastian Vettel will start third but the Ferrari was 0.556 seconds off the pace.


    Kimi Raikkonen missed beating Vettel with a mistake at the final corner.

    Did Hamilton let pole slip?
    Hamilton looked a certain bet for pole after dominating the first and second sessions of qualifying and setting blistering first sector times on both his laps in the final session.

    But both laps got away from him in the second sector, while Bottas held it together to sneak ahead by just 0.004secs on his first run, a margin he extended when Hamilton aborted his second run following another error.

    Bottas' pole was only his second of the season, and he was thrilled about it, but he was already concerned about the start of the race.

    He recalled last year, when he started third but drafted pole sitter Vettel to take the lead into the first corner before going on to win.

    "For sure it feels good," he said. "It has been a long time [since Austria this year]. I knew this had been a good track for me and I managed to get some good laps together in qualifying. The car felt really good."

    Hamilton said: "Big congratulations to Valtteri. He has been really quick all weekend. My laps were not special at all, but you can't always get it right. The team are doing an amazing job and I'm really happy with a one-two."

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    The race is held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi - the architecture's colourful enough though
    What happened to Ferrari?
    Vettel arrived in Russia knowing he needed to beat Hamilton and close the 40-point lead the Mercedes driver had opened with three wins in the previous four races.

    Both teams have brought major aerodynamic upgrades to their cars this weekend but the Mercedes one seems to be more effective and Ferrari have been lagging about 0.5secs off the pace throughout.

    Vettel said: "They have been very quick. It should have been a bit closer the gap but not enough to be a threat.

    "I had a small mistake in the last sector but I am quite happy. The car felt all right and that makes me quite positive for Sunday.

    "I just spoke to Valtteri and reminded him of what happened last year. Maybe we can turn it around. It depends a lot on the initial jump and then we see what we can do into Turn One, But if there is a gap, we go for it."

    Who will win in Russia?
    Choose your top three drivers from the list below

    Clever Renault?
    The Red Bulls were not involved after the first session because they will start from the back as a result of grid penalties for excessive engine usage.

    That gave the smaller teams an opportunity to grab an unusually high starting spot, and the winner of the battle was Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, who beat Force India's Esteban Ocon to fifth place by 0.232secs.

    Sauber driver Charles Leclerc was seventh, ahead of the second Force India of Sergio Perez, and the other Haas and Sauber drivers Romain Grosjean and Marcus Ericsson.

    But all those teams may have missed a trick and been out-thought by Renault.

    The French team decided not to take part in second qualifying, and doing so guaranteed them 11th and 12th places on the grid.

    That gives them free tyre choice, whereas the Haas, Sauber and Force India drivers have to start on the fragile hyper-soft tyres they used in second qualifying.

    For Renault, this could be a huge advantage as they can start on the more durable ultra-soft or soft tyres, while those ahead will find their hyper-softs quickly lose pace.

    It was a tactic McLaren used to perfection to secure Fernando Alonso seventh place in Singapore last time out, and Renault are hoping they can do the same in Sochi.

    Swami
     
  4. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    Lewis Hamilton wins in Russia after team orders
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    By Andrew Benson

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    Lewis Hamilton took a giant step towards a fifth world championship with victory in the Russian Grand Prix.

    Hamilton benefited from team orders as Mercedes told his team-mate Valtteri Bottas to let him by at half distance to protect against rival Sebastian Vettel.

    But Hamilton had to pass Vettel on track to get into a position to benefit from the orders after being passed at the pit stops.


    The Briton is now 50 points ahead in the title race with a maximum 125 still available in the remaining five races.

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    Bit awkward: Hamilton places his hand on his team-mate following the team orders, a famous gesture of dominance in politics
    Jeopardy, but then a brilliant pass
    For a short time around the pit stops, it appeared as if Vettel might have got himself in a position to claw back some championship points on Hamilton.

    Bottas led away from pole position, and the Finn's slipstream enabled a slow-starting Hamilton to fend off Vettel's attack into the first corner.

    They circulated in grid order until the first pit stops - when Mercedes' plans began to go awry.

    Bottas stopped first, on lap 12, with Vettel following a lap later.

    Hamilton started setting fastest sector times and initially looked as if he might leapfrog Bottas into the lead.

    But he then hit traffic, having to lap the Williams of Sergey Sirotkin as he headed for the pits on lap 14, and that made him vulnerable to Vettel.

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    Team orders by Mercedes took the shine of the race, which saw good on-track battles
    The Ferrari was alongside the Mercedes as Hamilton emerged from the pits, taking the position - third on the track but a de facto second - as they headed into the first corner.

    Hamilton was not happy, asking over the radio: "Guys, how did that happen?"

    But he was not to be denied, and immediately began to attack Vettel.

    Starting lap 16, Hamilton was right behind the Ferrari and the German was bordering on illegality with his defence from the Mercedes driver's on the inside.

    Hamilton ducked to the outside, to get a better line through Turn Two, followed Vettel closely through the long, flat-out Turn Three and dived for the inside into Turn Four, where Vettel abandoned the aggressive defence he had employed just before.

    Hamilton complained over the radio that Vettel had illegally moved twice in defence down the straight, and his driving was investigated, only for the stewards to decide to take no further action.

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    Russian president Vladimir Putin assumes his usual position in the VIP area next to ex-F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone - he arrived with 10 laps remaining
    Let's talk about team orders
    Hamilton was now running third, behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen - driving a brilliant race from a back-row starting position on a different strategy with a long first stint - and Bottas.

    With Verstappen in front, Bottas was not able to stretch his advantage and he, Hamilton and Vettel were running line astern.

    Hamilton was struggling with his tyres, which were developing small blisters, and Mercedes were worried about Vettel being right behind him.

    So Bottas was ordered to move out of the way at Turn 13 on lap 25, and Hamilton assumed second place.

    Bottas was not happy, saying over the radio that he had been preparing a move on Verstappen on the next lap - which did not sound very credible given the nearly two-second gap.

    Chief strategist James Vowles came on the radio, a rare occurrence, and explained Mercedes could not take the risk with Hamilton's damaged tyres and Vettel right behind him.

    When Verstappen finally pitted on lap 43, Hamilton assumed the lead, and he led Bottas and Vettel home.

    In the closing laps, Bottas asked whether they were going to finish in these positions and was told: "Affirm. We will talk about it afterwards."

    Team boss Toto Wolff also came on the radio and said: "Valtteri, this is Toto. Difficult day for you and difficult day for us. Let's discuss it afterwards and we will explain."

    Hamilton said over the radio on the slowing down lap: "That doesn't feel great."

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    A great birthday gift
    Verstappen drove a brilliant race on his 21st birthday, carving through the field from his 19th place on the grid, caused by penalties for using too many engine parts.

    Starting on the hardest tyre and aiming for a long first stint, Verstappen was up to 12th place by the end of the first lap and by lap nine was into fifth - while team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who started one place ahead of him, was still 12th.

    Verstappen inherited the lead as the Mercedes and Ferraris in front of him pitted. And after his pit stop, he emerged in fifth place, 14 seconds behind Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen. But the gap was too big for Verstappen to close and he took a comfortable fifth ahead of Ricciardo.

    Driver of the day
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    Verstappen was scintillating in the opening laps, carving through the field like a warm knife through butter. He takes it for that
    What happens next?
    The Japanese Grand Prix at stunning Suzuka, arguably the greatest track on Earth. If Vettel fails to eat into Hamilton's lead there, the championship is all but over.

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    Flying: Hamilton took his 70th career victory in Russia. Bottas remains on three career wins, by the way
    What they said
    Sebastian Vettel said after the race: "Valtteri was backing off and Lewis was close and he had a run into Turn Two and managed to hold him off.

    "I didn't see him through the left-hander. i knew he was somewhere on the outside and I had to give some room to make sure I was hard but fair and he got past. We were better on the tyres, if not on pace, but I couldn't get close."

    Hamilton said: "Valtteri did a fantastic job all weekend and he was a real gentleman to let me by. It has been a great weekend for the team. Usually I would be elated. But I can understand how difficult it was for Valtteri.

    "Championship-wise we are trying to win both championships. It doesn't feel spectacular, but I know he is going to do a great job in the races to come."

    Valtteri Bottas said in his post-race interview: "Difficult day. It was a good result for us as a team; we got maximum points. But everyone saw it, it was a difficult race.

    "For sure we always go through all the scenarios, Lewis is fighting for the championship, and we are fighting for the constructors' championship.

    "We always have a plan. It's always difficult to predict what is going to happen. It is what it is."

    Swami
     

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