Finnish double podium – Russian GP 2017
The Russian Grand Prix was once again a bit boring except for the fact that we saw the first Finnish F1 victory since 2008 and a second Finn on another podium.
- Valtteri Bottas – Got a great start, had no pit-stop troubles and drove steadily. This was Bottas’s first race victory and a good sign for his first Mercedes season.
- Sebastian Vettel – Vettel faltered at the start but drove an otherwise flawless race. More importantly, he was ahead of Hamilton so the championship battle should still be quite exciting.
- Kimi Räikkönen – Couldn’t really challenge anyone but this was still a positive result. Ferrari is really firing on all cylinders to challenge Mercedes this year.
- Lewis Hamilton – Hamilton seemed to struggle on the Sochi track and I do think this was just a temporary lapse. Lewis is going to have to improve for the next race, which I’m sure he will.
- Max Verstappen – Red Bull continues to have performance issues but luckily Verstappen keeps fighting for the team’s honour. An excellent job from the Dutchman.
- Sergio Perez – Perez was on the money and this probably the best Force India can do at the moment but it’s definitely not bad. Force India will probably not challenge Red Bull any time soon but they now have a clear points advantage over everyone else.
- Esteban Ocon – Esteban didn’t show much aggressiveness this round but stayed with the pack and drove flawlessly. Ocon is steadily improving as well as proving he deserves to drive the pink panther.
- Nico the Hülk – Renault has only scored twice on the same car in the first four races. Renault’s pace seems quite lacking and I’m beginning to lose faith in Nico’s chances of improving as a race driver. Another okay result but nothing to write home about.
- Felipe Massa – Williams too is in trouble but at least Massa’s results are keeping the team (just barely) in the Top-5 of the constructors’ championship. Good job from the nearly retired Brazilian.
- Carlos Sainz Jr. – After a promising start to the season, Toro Rosso seems to be hurting. One measly point from Sainz who stupidly took himself out in the last race and had to start from grid-14 in this race as a result. It’s better than nothing, I guess. Let’s hope he’s learned his lesson so that Toro Rosso can get back in the game.
Golden Pineapple Award: Lance Stroll, Williams
Good news! Stroll has finally finished a Grand Prix. Bad news, he still has no points. The first three races Lance’s retirements were by no fault of his own, but the Canadian rookie will have to start scoring points at some point. Massa’s already proved that it’s possible.
Drop-out count: 4
Fernando Alonso‘s car fried on the warm-up lap which caused the race to have a restart. Horrible luck for Alonso and also means that McLaren has yet to have scored any points. I’m sure Alonso is really looking forward to Indy 500.
In an incident which resembled the Stroll-Sainz crash from the previous race, Romain Grosjean bumped off Jolyon Palmer in the first corners. Palmer resultedly lost control of his car and hit Grosjean on the side as he was trying to drive past. Grosjean even had the gall (just like Sainz) to blame Palmer for the incident.
Red Bull continues to struggle with Daniel Ricciardo‘s burnt out breaks forcing him to retire into the pits unceremoniously.
Back of the Lot News:
Lots of disappointments this time around. Daniil Kvyat didn’t seem to improve at all with him stuck at 12th. Similarly, Kevin Magnussen was slapped with a penalty that dropped him to 13th from where he started.
At 14th, Stoffel Vandoorne once again showed how terrible McLaren’s engine is with only one team left behind them.
Amazing Marcus Ericsson held out ahead of his team-mate, meaning it was a different Sauber as the very last driver.
Dead Last: Pascal Wehrlein – The previous Grand Prix’s pineapple prince must have had a really weak race to be dead last. Unfortunately, I didn’t see what was going on at the back so I don’t know the reason for Wehrlein’s weak finish. Really hoping he’ll be able to score Sauber’s first points in the on-coming Spanish or Monaco rounds.