Lewis Hamilton took his 100th Grand Prix victory in the 2021 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix that started in dry conditions and ended under the 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.
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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.
Mario Isola – Head of F1 and car racing at Pirelli commented:
After yesterday’s wet conditions, the rain held off until the final few laps – and it decided the 2021 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix outcome. Up until then, the drivers had made the most of dry conditions with maximum tyre freedom, as they could choose their starting tyres and they all had a full unused allocation of slicks. The ‘reset’ track following the rain led to a bit of sliding and graining at the start of the race, but this was soon overcome. The hard tyre’s resistance to abrasion proved very well suited to the conditions, with some very long stints of more than 35 laps, while the medium also did 28 laps in the hands of Lando Norris. Ultimately though, it was the intermediate tyre that made the difference, with the teams able to use their experience from a wet qualifying to extract the maximum performance from it when it mattered at the end.
2021 Formula 1 Russian GP Race Results
|1.||44||Lewis Hamilton||Great Britain||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||1:30:41.001||25||246.5|
|2.||33||Max Verstappen||Netherlands||Red Bull Racing||+53.271s||18||244.5|
|3.||55||Carlos Sainz||Spain||Scuderia Ferrari||+62.475s||15||112.5|
|4.||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Australia||McLaren Racing||+65.607s||12||95|
|5.||77||Valtteri Bottas||Finland||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+67.533s||10||151|
|8.||14||Fernando Alonso||Spain||Alpine F1 Team||+81.321s||8||58|
|7.||4||Lando Norris||Great Britain||Mclaren Racing||+87.224s||7||139|
|8.||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Finland||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+88.955s||4||6|
|9.||11||Sergio Perez||Mexico||Red Bull Racing Honda||+90.076s||2||120|
|10.||63||George Russell||Great Britain||Williams Racing||+100.551s||1||16|
|11.||18||Lance Stroll||Canada||Aston Martin F1 Team||+106.198s||0||24|
|12.||5||Sebastian Vettel||Germany||Aston Martin F1 Team||+1 lap||0||35|
|13.||10||Pierre Gasly||France||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+1 lap||0||66|
|14.||31||Esteban Ocon||France||Alpine F1 Team||+1 lap||0||45|
|15.||16||Charles Leclerc||Monaco||Scuderia Ferrari||+1 lap||0||104|
|16.||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Italy||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+1 lap||0||1|
|17.||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Japan||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+1 lap||0||18|
|18.||9||Nikita Mazepin||Russia||Haas F1 Team||+1 lap||0||0|
|19.||6||Nicholas Latifi||Canada||Williams Racing||DNF||0||7|
|20.||47||Mick Schumacher||Germany||Haas F1 Team||DNF||0||0|
2021 Constructor Standings
|1.||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team||613.5|
|2.||Red Bull Racing||585.5|
|5.||Alpine F1 Team||155|
|7.||Aston Martin F1 Team||77|
|9.||Alfa Romeo Racing||13|
|10.||Haas F1 Team||0|
Here are the team-by-team highlights:Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
Lewis claims an historic 100th F1 career victory for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team in a
pulsating 2021 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.
A hard-fought victory in Russia saw Lewis extend his F1 victory record to achieve the momentous milestone of 100 career victories in the highest echelon of motorsport.
Lewis had dropped three places on the opening lap, keeping his nose clean to navigate a very bunched field before settling into the race and preserving his tyres for an extended stint on the Medium, eventually moving up to fourth.
Lewis gained places after the first round of pit stops and worked his way to a two-way battle for the lead with Norris. With rain forecast to arrive for the final few laps, Lewis found it difficult to pass the fellow Brit in the dry.
When the rain finally arrived, the team pitted Valtteri for an early switch to the Intermediate tyres. Lewis joined him soon after, in contrast to Norris who stayed out and struggled badly in the worsening conditions.
Valtteri took full advantage of the late rain and his early switch to Inters saw him make several solid passes to bring the W12 home in P5, securing vital points as the team extended its lead in the Constructors’ Championship. Lewis, meanwhile, safely guided the W12 home in increasingly heavy rain to take the chequered flag in P1.
Today marks Lewis’s 79th victory with the Mercedes works team, extending its100% win record in Russia which began with victories for Mercedes in 1913 and 1914. In claiming 25 points today, Lewis surpassed 4000 points in F1, the first driver to reach that milestone.
Lewis Hamilton (246.5 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship from Max Verstappen (244.5), while Valtteri is in third position (151 points).
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team (397.5 points) lead Red Bull (364.5 points) by 33 points in the Constructors’ Championship.
Wow… 100! It’s taken a long time and I wasn’t even sure the 100th would come! Going to bed last night I wasn’t the happiest with the job I did yesterday. I watched the replay over and over again; they were subtle mistakes but I was so determined to put things right when I woke up this morning.
Today was tough – I lost a lot of ground at the start, just trying to stay out of trouble. I was patient and at the end, when the rain came, I didn’t want to let Lando go by boxing. Of course, I didn’t know what the rain was doing, it was just my feeling but I’m incredibly grateful to the strategy team for the job they did today. Getting anywhere near 100 victories wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of the men and women here and back at the factory, I’m so grateful to them – it just feels so special.
Lando did an amazing job today, he had incredible pace and he’s doing such a great job for McLaren. It was bittersweet to see my old team ahead, they’re doing so well powered by Mercedes and it’s good to see them united again. Max did a good job to come up from second to last, the battle continues and we know we need to be on top form over the remaining races.
Firstly, congrats to Lewis on the win and his 100th victory. From my side, it was a difficult race and not an easy day, but the situation at the end with the rain saved it for me. Before that, I was struggling to progress through the field. It was much more difficult than I thought it would be because I just couldn’t follow through the corners – I was getting big understeer. I couldn’t carry the speed and get close enough to overtake, and other cars were finding it easier to follow closely. Then the rain arrived, I wanted to stop one lap earlier but the team wasn’t quite ready, but we were still one of the first cars to stop, which was good. I managed to climb up the order and score some good points, which is positive after a tricky day.
Those final few laps were so intense, but we managed to make the right calls and lead the field across the finish line. A big congratulations to Lewis on his 100th win. What we are witnessing is just mind-blowing. It’ll be talked about for the next few days, but it’ll only be years down the line when we realise that we’ve all been part of this journey. A journey no other driver in F1 history has done so far. That’s beyond race wins and championship victories, that is the very human part of all this.
In terms of the race, I think it would have been difficult to get past Norris in the dry, as Lewis struggled to overtake Ricciardo even with DRS. Norris managed the race very well, who knows what would have happened if the rain hadn’t arrived, but it did. This kind of decision is hugely difficult, it started to drizzle on half of the circuit, but we made the call and it paid off. We’d made the call a little bit earlier with Valtteri, and that brought him into contention after a challenging race and he did a great job to move up the field and into the top five.
A big well done to the entire team for all their work and efforts, it’s been a little while since we had a race victory but I know results like this will fire everyone up, even more, to keep pushing until the end of the season.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas best pictures:
Max Verstappen delivered a stellar performance at the Sochi Autodrom to finish second, having started from P20 and despite experiencing battery and tyre issues early in the race.
The Red Bull Racing Honda driver was required to begin today’s race from P20 following a Team decision to change the power unit of his car.
When the lights went out the Dutchman began overtaking from the off, climbing quickly to P15 then up to seventh, where he spent much of the race; by lap 51 of the 53-lap race he’d reached sixth, then closed the gaps during the last two laps to cross a rain-soaked finish line in second place.
Verstappen’s team-mate, Mexico’s Sergio Pérez, came in ninth, having started in P9.
Wow, we will definitely take that result! Of course to come from last to second is very good and when I woke up this morning I definitely didn’t expect this result. To finish where we did with the penalty we had, we didn’t lose as many points as we could have, so as a Team we did a really good job. It was a crucial call to change to the Inters. It was really slippery on track and we made a great decision with the timing and took the right lap to pit.
A lot of things can happen when you’re starting from the back of the grid, especially on the first lap when other cars are fighting each other, but we stayed out of trouble, kept it clean and managed our race very well. The race itself was not very easy, it was difficult to pass other cars and once you got stuck it was easy to damage your tyres, but luckily in the end the rain helped us make the last jump in positions.
We were on for a podium today, so I decided to take the risk in staying out on the slicks instead of pitting for Inters. In the first and third sector it was pretty dry and you could get temperature into the tyres, so if it then dried up those of us on the slicks would have made it work and those on the Inters would have seen their race destroyed. In hindsight the slick wasn’t the right tyre and ultimately the timing of the rain in the race meant some people got lucky today and others didn’t.
We were on for a great result with a podium through pure merit and despite a slow pit stop we still managed to come through the field to third, but sometimes this is how racing is. The issue with the stop wasn’t a human error and I spoke with my pit crew after the race to check they were okay, because we’re obviously all disappointed. As a Team we still walk away with a lot of points today and yes, it is frustrating for me, but I feel like I got so much out of the car which is only promising going to Turkey in two weeks’ time.
Christian Horner – Team Principal
Today’s result in recovering from 20th to second is an amazing performance. Our congratulations must go to Lewis on his 100th victory, but second for us after taking our grid penalty feels like a victory. With six or seven laps to go it didn’t look like it was going to be possible. In tricky weather conditions like we had today, you can very easily come out looking like a hero or zero. It’s such a tough call knowing whether to pit or not and the drivers see and feel so much more out on track compared with the engineers on the pit wall, and so the decision was left to Max and Checo on stopping for Inters or not.
In the end Max got it right and nailed the call to come in, and benefited massively as a result, while Checo decided not to pit and ended up losing out significantly, but these things can happen and luck also has its part to play. You could see Sergio wasn’t alone with the guys out front that tried to brave it out being so close to the end of the race, but ultimately it didn’t work out. The last two venues have historically been very strong for Mercedes, so to come away only two points behind in the Drivers’ Championship is positive, and I’m glad we’ve got our power unit penalty out of the way here and managed to recover with a podium.
Everybody in the Team is really enjoying this championship, we’ve got ourselves back into a competitive position and it’s going to be all about these final seven races, getting the strategy right, having the pace, and penalties are going to play a role too. It’s going to be fascinating to see how it unfolds. Looking ahead to Turkey, it was an interesting race with the new surface last year. Hopefully it has weathered in now, but we’re really looking forward to it and today’s result sets everything up in the championship nicely. It’s going to be a phenomenal competition.
Red Bull Racing Honda best pictures:
Hear from McLaren Formula 1 drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, and Team Principal Andreas Seidl after the Russian Grand Prix.
It wasn’t the race or the result we wanted in the end. I made a good start and we had a good first stint. Right at the end when the rain started, we made the call not to box and that cost us everything. We made the decision that was right at the time for the conditions at the time. It was my call, along with the information from the team, and together we need to review what we could’ve done better. It’s incredibly disappointing of course, because we’ve been strong all weekend and I felt comfortable with the pace and the car today. The team has done a great job and I want to thank them for all their hard work. Of course, the result is not a reflection of our weekend, but there are a lot of positive we can take, and now we need to analyse, reset and bounce back in Turkey.
Pretty eventful race. Sometimes this track doesn’t provide that, but this weekend it did with both quali and the race. There was a lot that happened. I think my start was kinda too good! I had to pull out and then pull back in, so we lost a few positions there, but then made a few back over the first lap. So, there were some good moments. I defended pretty well in the first stint, then in the second stint made a few good passes, but then struggled towards the end of that Hard tyre.
Then the rain came, and that’s when it all turned on its head. The in-lap was sketchy. I think Carlos [Sainz] went off in Turn Seven, then me, then Max [Verstappen]. I think Max saw both of us and just went off less and was able to pass there. Then we got out on the Inters and I could see Carlos ahead – the last couple of laps I felt like I was bringing him in a bit, but it was a little too late. I just missed the podium, but P4 is a solid result. Good points and, I think, for those tricky conditions, it’s always nice just to get out with your nose clean. There are definitely some positives and personally still a few things to work on, so we’ll keep our head down.
Andreas Seidl – Team Principal
We are, of course, disappointed with finishing P4 and P7 in the Russian Grand Prix today, given the positions we were in three laps from the end of the race. On the positive side, both Lando, Daniel and the whole team put in strong performances all weekend, which is highly encouraging going into the last third of the season. Thanks to the team at track and back at the factory, along with our colleagues at Mercedes HPP, for their hard work and effort.
Attention will no doubt be given to the decision to stay out on the slicks with Lando, while we went on Intermediate tyres relatively soon with Daniel. There were tricky calls to be made at the end of the race when it started raining, and that’s never easy. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out on Lando’s side today. As always, we’ll analyse this as a team, together with the drivers, learn from it and come back stronger.
Finally, congratulations to Lewis on his historic 100th win. Everyone at McLaren Racing is proud of what he has achieved since his first race with us 14 years ago.
McLaren Racing best pictures:
Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow took its fourth podium of the season in the Russian Grand Prix courtesy of Carlos Sainz who came home in third place. Charles, who was starting from the back, produced a masterly performance but came away empty handed after the final crazy stages of the race when the rain fell.
A great first lap. Both Carlos and Charles drove great opening laps. The Spaniard started from the dirty side of the track, but managed not only to fend off those behind, but also to exploit the slipstream to overtake Lando Norris and lead the race. Charles, who started from the back row, was 12th come the end of the first lap having made no less than seven overtaking moves.
All about tyres. From then on the race was all about tyre performance for the two Ferrari men. Carlos, who started on Mediums, began to suffer from a bit of graining after a dozen or so laps, which led to him pitting earlier than his nearest rivals. The situation was better on the Hards and the Spaniard was third when the rain came. Charles had a great pace on the Hards and he was also competitive on the Mediums, to the extent he was fighting for a good position before the chaotic final stages.
Timing. As the rain got progressively harder, choosing the right moment to change tyres was the key factor. It all went well for Carlos, but Charles came in a few laps later, which cost him dearly, depriving him of a good points haul that had seemed to be within his grasp.
Next stop Istanbul. The championship resumes in a fortnight with the 16th round of the championship, when the ninth running of the Turkish Grand Prix takes place from 8 to 10 October at the Istanbul Park Circuit.
Carlos Sainz #55
This was a tricky but positive weekend for me, with a good quali and a strong race where I gave absolutely everything. We made a perfect start from the dirty side, braking late into turn 2 and risking it on the outside of Lando to get into the lead. Unfortunately we suffered from graining and couldn’t hold P1 for much longer and had to pit early.
After the first stop, we had a very good stint, managing the Hard tyre in traffic and then pushing in clean air, on course for a reasonably comfortable P3 before the rain came and made everything a lot trickier. With the used Hard it was clear to me we needed to box for Inters and together with the team we made the right decision at the right moment, regaining P3!
It’s a happy podium but I think as a team we need to keep analysing what we can do better to make sure next time a Ferrari is leading we are less vulnerable. We’ve got some time before the next race so we will keep pushing.
Charles Leclerc #16
What a disappointing end to an otherwise extremely positive race! I had a good start, gaining a few positions. Everything looked really promising, I made lots of overtakes and my pace was strong.
Things suddenly changed when it started to rain at the very end of the race. Carlos was ahead and decided to pit for Inters, while I still had some doubts. I tried to do another lap on slicks, hoping that the rain would decrease. But it started pouring down and it was just impossible to go on without pitting with two laps to go. That was basically the end of my race, which is a real shame.
A good job from the team and Carlos to bring home a third place today.
Mattia Binotto – Team Principal
That was a very intense and difficult race today, which ended with one of our drivers on the podium. Carlos had a great weekend, both yesterday in qualifying and today in the race and third place is a nice reward for all the hard work. Charles leaves empty handed at the end of a weekend which started on the back foot because of the penalty, but today he once again proved just how talented he is. He made a great start, had really strong race pace and showed the right amount of aggression for the overtaking moves.
We know that as a team we must always try and improve in every area. Here, we introduced an update to the hybrid system for the power unit, which worked the way we had expected and produced a little bit more performance. However, we were not perfect in other areas, for example the pit stops and tyre management with Charles in those final chaotic moments of the race, whereas with Carlos everything went according to plan and we will build on the experience gained today.
Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team best pictures:
Alpine F1 Team extended its points-scoring streak to fourteen races as Fernando Alonso finished in sixth place in a busy and eventful Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom. Esteban Ocon was outside the points in fourteenth place.
The race began dry and ended in the wet as rain fell just a handful of laps from the end, bringing a difficult decision on whether to gamble on dry tyres to the chequered flag or opt for Intermediates. Eventually, both drivers went for Intermediates with Fernando able to hold onto sixth place and add a valuable eight points to the Championship.
Both drivers made strong starts off the line with Fernando – starting on Hards – late on the brakes into Turn 2 in the fight for the top four, and Esteban – on Mediums – able to progress to eighth place. Fernando settled into eighth and Esteban ninth in the early running. Esteban pitted on lap 15 for new Hards to cover others around him while Fernando remained out and ran long on Hards, occupying second place for seven laps.
After his pit-stop for Mediums on lap 36, Fernando soon chased the top five, passing Max Verstappen into Turn 2 on lap 37. With the threat of rain increasing, Fernando continued his charge towards the podium positions, which he briefly held after passing Sergio Perez on lap 48. But, as the rain fell, he and Esteban pitted for Intermediates three laps from the end. The Spaniard was able to battle back to sixth with Esteban outside the points in fourteenth.
Esteban Ocon started P9, finished P14:
It was not a good race for us today and, in general, we haven’t had the pace all weekend. It’s disappointing, of course, not to score points, especially when there was an opportunity at the end with the wet conditions. We didn’t make the right decision at the end and it was a risk to stay out on track on dry tyres. It’s one of those days we have to forget, and we’ll move on, analyse what happened, and come back stronger for the next race.
Fernando Alonso started P6, finished P6:
We finished sixth, but I think third place is more of a true reflection of our finishing position today. It all came down to luck in the end with the rain coming so late on. It was like a flip of a coin. Some cars stopped one lap earlier and I was in the third position when it really started to rain. It was impossible to predict. Nevertheless, sixth is a good result for us and we deserved it. We looked competitive throughout the race, so there are lots of positives to take away.
Marcin Budkowski, Executive Director:
A bittersweet feeling today; we took home eight points, but we missed an opportunity to finish on the podium. We decided to start the cars on different strategies, with Fernando starting on Hard tyres with the objective of stopping later in the race and potentially benefit from safety cars or any rain coming. Both drivers had a good first stint, with Esteban stopping earlier on the Mediums. Unfortunately, he ran out of grip in the later stages of the race on the Hard tyres.
Fernando managed his tyres well and had a very good pace right until the rain started to fall. At this stage, the challenge was to predict whether it would get heavier or go away, which is a bit of a lottery. Fernando was making positions on the dry tyres in the light rain and we decided to leave him out; had the rain intensity reduced we would have likely finished P2, but unfortunately, it went the other way and we pitted him a lap too late. It was a similar story with Esteban: as he was outside of the points, we had to take a gamble: pit early for Intermediates or leave him out on the dry tyres, we opted for the latter and did not luck in.
We’re leaving Sochi with eight points while our closest rivals didn’t score any, so overall a good result for the championship even if we feel we missed out on a better result today.”
Alpine F1 Team best pictures:
2021 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix. France’s Pierre Gasly, driving for Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda, finished in 13th place. His team-mate, Yuki Tsunoda from Japan, finished 17th.
It’s not been a great weekend for us really. We missed a big opportunity yesterday in Qualifying and again today we made the wrong decision with the slicks, which unfortunately means we finished out of the points. The pace was strong here and I think we had a good first stint, but we just didn’t utilise all the opportunities given to us this weekend, which is a real shame. We need to review everything from today and work out how we make the most out of these conditions in the future. It’s a weekend to forget, but we’ve got a good team and I’m confident we can bounce back at the next one.
It’s obviously a disappointing day. I’ve struggled with the balance of the car all weekend and it was the same today in the race, especially on the first lap where it was hard to keep it on the track. I just need to reset after this weekend and work on my baseline performance, so I can start finishing in the points again.
Claudio Balestri – Chief Engineer, Vehicle Performance
Today the target was to score points and we didn’t. In the first lap we immediately lost positions with both cars, but for the rest of the race, when we were free of traffic, the pace of the car was quite good. To maximise the possibility to score points we decided to split the strategy across the cars, with Pierre going long on the first stint with the Hards, then swapping to the Mediums – while with Yuki we did the opposite, starting him on the Mediums. However, with just six laps to go, some light rain arrived and the track became slippery.
Some cars pitted for Inters, but we decided to stick with dry tyres – leaving Pierre out and calling Yuki in for Softs – as we believed the rain wouldn’t continue and we could capitalise on this opportunity. Unfortunately, the gamble didn’t pay off and the rain became far heavier, so we were forced to pit for Inters. We now need to go home and analyse what we could have done better in such tricky weather conditions.
Scuderia AlphaTauri Team best pictures:
Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel battled hard and looked set to charge their way into a double-points finish in Sochi, only for late rain to throw the 2021 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix upside down. The final five laps proved challenging for the Formula One field but the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team duo showcased precision driving to take home 11th and 12th respectively.
It is a real shame that the change in weather cost us a strong chance of a good result and plenty of points. In hindsight, stopping one lap earlier for Intermediates could have changed our race, but it is always hard to judge when the conditions are evolving. I made the call for us to stay out and try to make it to the end, so it is down to me. It is even more disappointing considering we made a great start and got up to fourth in what was a really enjoyable battle in the first few corners. We made the undercut on George [Russell] later on, which worked out nicely, but the second stint on the Hard tyre was made more challenging by the DRS train of cars ahead, which always hurts the tyres, and then it rained. It became very slippery out there and I did not see Sebastian alongside me. We will learn from today and move on to Turkey in a few weeks’ time.
In the early part of the race, it was not easy to make much progress in the train of cars, but when the rain came in the final few laps the race became a lottery. It felt like a 50/50 call as to whether we should pit for Intermediate tyres. It felt like the rain would stay light, so we stayed out, but then it became much heavier and caught us out. So we had to pit in the end and fit Intermediates, which dropped us down the order. When you have rain late in the race it can give you a big opportunity, but it did not go our way today. I think it was an entertaining race for the fans and I am happy for Lewis to have won his 100th Grand Prix: a huge achievement and well deserved today.
Lance made a fantastic start to move up to fourth place on lap one, and he held that position comfortably on the Medium tyres until we brought him in for Hards on lap 12 – the first tyre stop of the race. He then managed his tyres well in very difficult conditions, until the heavens opened a few laps from the end, which made the last part of the race something of a lottery. There was almost no grip at all, and he and Sebastian even made contact at one point, but the track surface was incredibly slippery and both our drivers did their very best. The result was ultimately a disappointing one for us – 11th and 12th – but, when it rains suddenly like that, luck often plays as big a part as judgment. Finally, on behalf of all of us at Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team, I would like to say a big congrats to Lewis [Hamilton]. To win 100 Grands Prix is a truly extraordinary achievement. Well done!
Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team best pictures:
George Russell finished 10th in the Russian Grand Prix, whilst Nicholas Latifi retired due to car damage. George started third and Nicholas 18th, both on the medium Pirelli tyre. George stopped on lap 13 for the hard tyres, before switching to intermediates on lap 47. Nicholas pitted on lap 13 for the hard compound, before retiring the car on lap 47 with accident damage. Congratulations also go to Lewis Hamilton for his 100th career victory.
I thought we had a really strong race today. We held our own and made no silly mistakes and that was our Grand Prix throughout. We held third for the first 12 laps and it was quite fun fighting for this position, trying to keep cars like the McLaren, the Mercedes’, and the Aston Martin behind and we have to be proud of this. I struggled at the end on the Intermediate tyre as I was on a used set having gone through all of our sets in qualifying yesterday. In the end, it is another point on the board so we will take it. It wasn’t the dream result but before the weekend if we’d have been offered 10th and another point, we would have taken it. Overall, I think it was a good race.
Unfortunately, I got caught out on the slicks at the end of the race when it started raining and made a mistake. I couldn’t slow down so spun at Turn seven and clipped the barrier which damaged the rear wing. At that point, there was nothing to play for and it made more sense to retire the car. It was a frustrating race because the car felt very nice to drive, possibly the nicest it’s felt, but I couldn’t make much progress at the beginning of the race or follow closely to the Haas in front during the key areas of the track. It’s unfortunate because the Prime tyre felt good and I think if we’d started higher up we could have maintained position and got a stronger result, but that’s how it goes sometimes.
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance:
We went into today’s race hoping to hold on at the front but fearing that the quicker cars behind would make our race difficult. We had a reasonable start but couldn’t make the progress before turn two that we had hoped to do. Nonetheless, George was able to settle into a good rhythm and hold P3 without the leaders getting too far ahead. On the Prime, George did another fantastic job of managing the car and we were set for a points finish in the dry. The shower that came across the circuit towards the end presented an opportunity for George and we called the switch to Intermediate tyres well. Unfortunately, following a very successful qualifying session yesterday, we had only used tyres left and so we had to fight hard to hold on to 10th place.
Another points finish is an excellent result and fair reward for the hard work throughout the Team. It is a shame that Nicholas had to retire but following damage to the car when he was on his in-lap for Intermediates, we had to retire him. Until that point, he was doing very well and showing excellent pace. Sadly, his grid penalty stopped him from using that raw pace to get into a points-scoring position and then he was simply unfortunate with where he was on the track as the rain began to intensify.
The Sochi Autodrom is always a challenging place to race and we are pleased with our return on what could’ve been a very difficult weekend. The team operated very well throughout and both drivers showed some excellent pace. Another Championship point moves us closer to Aston Martin and limits the damage in our tight battle with Alfa Romeo.
Finally, it was a privilege to see Lewis score his 100th career victory; an incredible achievement even for a driver of Lewis’s immense ability and dedication. Congratulations to him and his entire team.
Williams F1 Team best pictures:
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN brought home four points from the 2021 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, courtesy of eighth place by Kimi Räikkönen. Team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi was 16th in a race heavily influenced by a downpour of rain with little more than five laps to go.
Räikkönen, starting in 13th, had a really good start to climb to 10th at the end of the opening lap. He settled into a rhythm and, when the rain came, the team made the right call to switch to intermediate tyres, gaining ground and crossing the line in P8. Antonio’s race was eventful: after receiving a hit on lap one, forcing him to take to the escape road, his radio failed. He had to navigate the whole race without any communication from the pit wall, and managed to be involved in several interesting battles and overtakes.
The result brings the team up to seven points in the championship, with the next race taking place in Istanbul on October 10th.
Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
It was a good result we fought hard for. We could keep up with our rivals in the dry but passing them was not easy, especially in the DRS trains. In the end, we made the right call on the tyres: I thought it was getting too wet and we chose to box, which really helped us in the end. We did the best we could and we have some points to show for it.
Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
It was an eventful race with lots going on. I was hit in turn two and I lost a few places there: in addition, I was without radio from the first lap, so it was impossible to communicate with the team. It has been a difficult afternoon, especially when the rain started at the end of the race and I couldn’t talk to the pits about the tyre change. I’m pleased for the team’s result, but I’m already looking forward to Turkey.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN:
The race ended up being very exciting and we head home with a good haul of points. Despite a difficult Saturday, we entered the race with some quiet optimism as we knew we would be in a position to fight. Kimi had a good start to jump to P10, while Antonio was hit and had to recover from the back. He was in a few good fights and made some nice overtaking moves –all the more so as he had no radio.
Kimi was able to stay with Ocon for most of the race, just outside the points, and when the rain came we made the right call to stop for inters. He was able to make up ground and cross the line in P8, four good points for the team. It’s a good result, a reward for the job we have done so far and a confidence boost ahead of the next race in Turkey, in two weeks.
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN Team best pictures:
Uralkali Haas F1 Team driver Nikita Mazepin classified 18th, while Mick Schumacher was unable to reach the finish of Sunday’s 2021 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix, held at Sochi Autodrom.
Mazepin took the start from 15th on Pirelli P Zero Yellow medium tires and leapt up to 13th on the opening lap. Mazepin battled with much faster cars but held a solid 16th through the first stint, coming in on lap 14 for White hard tires, emerging in 19th position. Mazepin came in again on lap 48 for Cinturato Green intermediate tires as a band of showers swept through Sochi Autodrom and he avoided the drama that befell others to collect 18th spot at the checkered flag.
Schumacher started from 14th on the grid, also on soft tires, but dropped to the rear of the field on a frantic opening lap. Schumacher regrouped and came in on lap 20, taking on hard tires, and closed on teammate Mazepin, making a move for 19th on lap 32. Unfortunately for Schumacher, a hydraulic issue on his VF-21 meant he was forced to come into the pitlane to retire just two laps later, bringing his perfect finishing record this season to an end.
Upfront Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton recorded a historic 100th Formula 1 victory with Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen and Scuderia Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz completing the podium.
Uralkali Haas F1 Team will next be in action at the Turkish Grand Prix, to be held at Intercity Istanbul Park, from October 8 to 10.
Nikita Mazepin, Driver No. 9, Uralkali Haas F1 Team
It was a long race – loads of things happening. I had a very good first opening lap and then did my best to hold the faster cars behind using the battery cleverly, which I think I did well. Then after we boxed, came out on hard tires, I still tried to keep the cars behind and obviously one overtook me, and then I had a lock-up and unfortunately for us when the hard tires lock up, they don’t ever come back. We as a team made a good call to go on to inters, I was one of the very first cars and gained quite a bit of time back. It was fun to overtake some cars that I would never be able to overtake. Nevertheless, we know where we stand and now eyes forward to the next race.
Mick Schumacher, Driver No. 47, Uralkali Haas F1 Team
We obviously had an issue and we were trying to fix it out on track but didn’t manage. It is what it is, we live and we learn and it’s Formula 1 – so things can happen. It’s my first retirement this year and I was certainly hoping it would take some more time, or not happen at all this year but it’s a part of the game. We were very good in terms of pace and the car felt really good out there. We’ll take away the positives, analyze them and take them on to Turkey.
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Uralkali Haas F1 Team
We had a good race start with both cars. Nikita in the first part of the race had a good pace, keeping a few other cars behind. Mick’s start was not fantastic, but he got out after his tire change and was very strong and then unfortunately he had a hydraulic issue, losing pressure. Nikita – once the blue flags started – the tires got cold and he struggled to keep the pace, that was the reason. In the end, we got one car to the end and we come back.
Uralkali Haas F1 Team best pictures: