Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

sunnuntai 29. toukokuuta 2016

Monaco GP: Pit stop delay cost Ricciardo the Monaco win!

This time the weather forecast was right, and it was raining in Monaco, when the race was about to get underway. The track was so wet, that the race was decided to be started behind the safety car. Naturally all drivers had the blue-marked full-wet tyres on. There was no excitement at the start, since it happened behind the safety car, and Ricciardo´s lead wasn´t compromised. Kvyat at the wheel of his Toro Rosso had a horrible start to the race, as the Russian faced difficulties right at the beginning of the race. Kvyat seemed extremely frustrated on the team radio, as the Russian was asking, why it was always him hit with the difficulties. I definitely don´t envy him; turning his career from disappointments and setbacks into success isn´t an easy task after being demoted back to Toro Rosso.

On lap 8 the safety car came in, and the race was finally on! Ricciardo was leading the race with Rosberg second and Hamilton third. But then Renault´s Palmer hit the wall, and there was a lot of debris on the track. This time virtual safety car was deployed. The race was back on a couple of laps later. There was an intense battle going on between the Mercedes teammates. Hamilton was right at Nico´s tail, and it seemed obvious, that the Briton was faster than his teammate.

On lap 11 there was an unexpected and disappointing moment, when Kimi was going through the hair pin in almost walking speed, but had a lock-up and ended up in the wall. The crash was enough to destroy Kimi´s front wing, which got stuck under the front-left tyre of Kimi´s SF16-H and the Finn was unable to make it into the pits. It seemed to be Kimi´s mistake, which lead into his second DNF of the season. I was so gutted for the Iceman. I would have wanted to see him fighting for points in the changing conditions!

On lap 16 it finally happened: Hamilton made it past Rosberg and jumped second. It seemed as if Rosberg was having an issue with his car, because the German´s pace looked significantly slower than his teammate´s. After the overtaking move Hamilton rapidly increased the gap to his teammate into several seconds. Sebastian was the first top driver to pit for intermediate tyres. The German Ferrari driver, however, rejoined the track behind Williams´ Massa. Sebastian was clearly faster than the Brazilian, but in the narrow streets of the Principality there was no chance to get past. This cost Sebastian a lot of valuable time! Rosberg pitted on lap 21 -also for intermediate tyres. Ricciardo pitted a lap later for the same tyres. Now it was Hamilton leading the race -still on the full-wet tyres.

Red Bull´s young Verstappen had started to the race from the pit lane, but by lap 24 the Dutchman had already made it P10. His driving was so refreshing to watch; the Red Bull teenager showed, that overtaking in Monaco was possible. When there´s will, there´s way :) Hamilton pitted not until on lap 32 -not for intermediate tyres though, but a fresh set of purple-marked ultra soft tyres! What a bold move from the Briton indeed. Ricciardo pitted on the very same lap; but what a pit stop it turned out to be. The tyres weren´t ready, although Ricciardo had been called into the pits! It took 10 extra seconds, until the team got the super soft tyres on Ricciardo´s car! This unforgettable mistake enabled Hamilton to take the lead in the race! Hamilton was leading, Ricciardo second and Force India´s Perez was third.

Towards the halfway of the race Verstappen had shown phenomenal overtaking, but suddenly it took only a small mistake to end his race. Verstappen had a lock-up, he went on the damp line and ended up in the wall! Another huge disappointment for me! Monaco definitely doesn´t allow any mistakes. The glory of all the overtaking moves was suddenly gone. In the lead there was a thrilling battle going between Hamilton and Ricciardo. The Australian was putting massive pressure on the Mercedes pilot. Hamilton made a questionable move, as he cut a chicane a bit and blocked Ricciardo after that, but no penalties were warranted for this incident, although it was investigated by the stewards.

The tyre strategy varied between the top five drivers: Hamilton had ultra soft tyres, Ricciardo super softs, Perez soft tyres as well as Sebastian in P4, and Rosberg had also opted for ultra softs. On lap 50 there was drama between the Sauber teammates Nasr and Ericsson; the Brazilian was asked on the team radio to let Ericsson past, but Nasr didn´t want to obey the team order. Instead, the teammates ended up colliding with each other! There was smoke coming out of Nasr´s car, and his race was over. At this point Rosberg was down in P6. Where had Rosberg´s magical pace disappeared?

Sebastian managed to get into DRS distance from Perez, but there seemed to be no chance for overtaking really. The same implied to the battle in the lead: Ricciardo got dangerously close to Hamilton, but couldn´t challenge the Briton for the victory after the catastrophic pit stop. Which was quite a shame, as Ricciardo himself drove a flawless race and would have deserved to win! No wonder we saw an extremely disappointed Ricciardo on the podium. It´s ironic, that Red Bull gives you wings, but it doesn´t give you the tyres!

Hamilton took his second win at Monaco and decreased Rosberg´s lead in the championship standings into just 24 points. Ricciardo is now third in the standings, jumping the Ferrari duo of Räikkönen and Vettel. Perez made an amazing job today by finishing third, and the Mexican was absolutely overwhelmed with joy. Sebastian had to settle for P4 today. Alonso in his McLaren, however, finished 5th, which was a great result for the Spaniard. Force India´s Hulkenberg managed to overtake Rosberg on the final lap, and the German completed Force India´s success by finishing 6th. Rosberg was 7th, Sainz 8th, Button 9th and Massa 10th. It seems Red Bull is seriously challenging Ferrari in the constructors´ standings! Red Bull is now only 9 points off the Italian-based team!

I was absolutely amazed at the performance of the new ultra soft tyres in the race. Previously they had been referred to as "a qualifying tyre", but today Hamilton drove over 40 laps on those tyres! I was quite shocked, that they actually lasted that long; at the end of the day it didn´t matter, whether you had opted for ultra soft, super soft or soft tyres, because you could drive to the very end on any of those tyres!

P.S. You are welcome to read my article on the Monaco GP also here:

lauantai 28. toukokuuta 2016

Monaco GP / Qualifying: Maiden pole for Red Bull´s Ricciardo!

Today´s qualifying in the streets of the Principality was quite eventful -and not only in a good way, when looking things from my personal point of view. Q1 was only moments old, with drivers still on their out laps, when the Ferrari engine in Nasr´s Sauber blew up exiting the tunnel. Out came the red flag, but the session resumed shortly after the marshals´ rapid clean-up job. Unfortunately this wasn´t the only red flag incident during the first segment. Red Bull´s Verstappen went over the final exit kerb in the swimming pool section and then impacted with the outer wall at Turn 16. Only a moment earlier the Dutchman had hit the inner wall of Turn 15 with his right-front wheel, damaging the track rod and leaving himself a passenger. What a disappointing moment! Verstappen had also hit the barriers in the FP3 in the morning, which shows, how rapidly the glory of winning a GP can disappear. Verstappen crashing out in Q1 was definitely something I wouldn´t have wanted to see! Especially because -in terms of pace- Red Bull seemed to continue where they left off in Spain! In Q1 Sebastian was topping the timesheets with Mercedes´ Hamilton and Rosberg two-tenths down on the German Ferrari ace. Out of Q2 were Sauber´s Ericsson, Renault´s Palmer (his teammate Magnussen made Q2) and the Manors of Haryanto and Wehrlein. However, Magnussen is under investigation for exiting the pits against a red light.

To put it shortly: Mercedes owned Q2. Hamilton put together a stunning lap, being four-tenths faster than his closest rivals Rosberg, Ricciardo and Sebastian. Kimi, on the other hand, seemed to struggle with the new ultra soft tyres especially in the second sector. Worth noting is the fact, that Red Bull´s Ricciardo set his fastest lap time on the red-marked super soft tyres, which means the Australian will start to the race on the very same tyres. At the end of the second segment Rosberg stormed to the lead; only 13 thousandths of a second separating him from his second-placed teammate. Sebastian was third and Kimi 5th. Williams´ Bottas was the first faller in Q2. Out were also his teammate Massa, both Haas drivers, McLaren´s Button and Renault´s Magnussen. The narrow streets of Monte Carlo definitely don´t suit Williams this year, either.

The beginning of Q3 was quite dramatic: Hamilton complained of no power on the pit lane, and his Mercedes was wheeled back to the pits. Once again there were technical gremlins for the reigning world champion - this time thought to be fuel-pressure related. Meantime, Red Bull´s Ricciardo put together a smashing lap and snatched the provisional pole by a one-second gap to the Ferraris! Hamilton was able to come out, when there were still 6 minutes in the clock. However, Daniel Ricciardo was utterly unstoppable today! Although the Australian was unable to improve his lap time on his second run, Rosberg had to settle for being the runner-up today. Finally Hamilton was able to jump from 10th to 3rd after his technical difficulties. Sebastian qualified 4th, being nine-tenths down on pole-setter Ricciardo! Hulkenberg in his Force India made a brilliant job by finishing 5th, and Kimi had to settle for P6 today. Nevertheless, the Iceman will face a 5-place grid drop for tomorrow´s race due to a gearbox change! Sainz was Toro Rosso´s faster runner, and the Spaniard qualified 7th, Force India´s Perez 8th, Kvyat 9th and Alonso 10th.

This was the first pole for Red Bull Racing since the Brazilian GP in 2013, and also the maiden pole for Daniel Ricciardo! Ricciardo´s pace has seemed absolutely impressive this weekend. He´s the one with the new spec Renault engine in his RB12 this weekend, whereas Verstappen has to settle for the old spec engine. Everyone is expecting to see a one-stop race in spite of the ultra soft tyres. However, Ricciardo starting on the super soft tyres, might spice up the race and make it even more interesting. Also, weather forecast says there might rain in Monaco tomorrow! The key point in Monaco is to keep away from the barriers, which is everything but easy, especially if it rains! Overtaking will be extremely difficult, so let´s see, what Sebastian will be capable of starting from P4. Kimi has it even more difficult down in P11... Not to mention Max, who will start from the very back of the grid! Nevertheless, I´m looking forward to a memorable race... hopefully dominated by the red cars with a little twist of blue ;) Forza Ferrari!

sunnuntai 15. toukokuuta 2016

Spanish GP: Unstoppable Verstappen took victory in his Red Bull debut!

What a race we saw today! My hands are still shaking and my heart is pounding... What a breath-taking afternoon this has been! No doubt the Spanish GP has been the most entertaining and exciting race for a long time!

Everything started when the lights went out. Rosberg in his Mercedes got a superb start, and the German stormed to the lead. But going into the first corner, Hamilton was determined to get past his teammate. Hamilton made a move to the outside of Rosberg, but ended up going wide, which caused the Briton to spin. Spinning Hamilton crashed into his teammate´s car, and both Mercedes drivers got stuck in the sand, and their race was over! What a turn at the beginning of the race! I guess it was only a matter of time, when something like this would happen...

Safety car was deployed. Ricciardo in his Red Bull was leading the race with his new teammate Verstappen second! Toro Rosso´s Sainz had taken a spectacular start from P8, and the Spaniard was third, right ahead the Ferrari duo of Vettel and Räikkönen. When safety car came in a couple of laps later, Sebastian started to put pressure on Sainz, and Kimi, too was right at his teammate´s tail. After a few laps of intense battle, Sebastian finally managed to get past the Spanish Toro Rosso driver and jumped third. Then it was Kimi´s turn to put pressure on Sainz, who finally had no chance to keep the Iceman behind him.

Ricciardo was the first top four driver to pit on lap 12. He opted for a fresh set of medium tyres. The young Red Bull debutant Max Verstappen was now leading the race! Both Räikkönen and Verstappen pitted on the following lap; they also opted for the white-marked medium tyres. Now it was Sebastian, who took the lead in the race. Sebastian was called into the pits on lap 16; medium tyres were his choice as well. Sebastian rejoined the track in P3 behind the Red Bulls of Ricciardo and Verstappen.

By lap 20 Sebastian had decreased the gap to Verstappen into just a second. The German seemed determined to challenge the young Dutchman for P2. On lap 22 there was suddenly smoke coming out the back of Hulkenberg´s car, and his race was over. By this time it was obvious, that the battle for victory was going to be between four drivers: the Red Bull duo and the Ferrari teammates. The top three were separated by just two seconds, and Kimi was also catching them lap by lap.

Once again it was Ricciardo, who pitted first of the top four on lap 29. This time he opted for a fresh set of soft tyres, as well as Sebastian, who pitted a lap after the Australian. Verstappen was leading the race with Kimi second, and they decided to stay on the track, which gave an indication of a different pit stop strategy. Verstappen pitted not until on lap 35, and the Dutchman opted for a fresh set of medium tyres. Ferrari reacted immediately and took Kimi in a lap later; the Iceman´s tyre choice was similar to Verstappen´s. Kimi rejoined the track in P4 behind Verstappen.

Surprisingly, Sebastian pitted for the third time on lap 38 and dropped down to P4. Race leader Ricciardo had his third pit stop on lap 44; another set of medium tyres for the last stint. Ricciardo dropped down to P4 due to his pit stop. Verstappen, who was on a two-stop strategy, was leading the race, but the Finnish Ferrari ace Kimi was only a second off the Dutchman; the Finn, too was on a two-stop strategy.

For the last 20 laps there was an intense battle going on between Max and Kimi. The Iceman was able to get into the DRS distance, but unfortunately he couldn´t follow Max close enough in the last corner, so there wasn´t any real chances for trying an overtaking move. Behind these two Ricciardo had also closed the gap to Sebastian, and the Australian seemed persistent to overtake his ex-teammate. 7 laps before the chequered flag there was a hair-raising moment in Turn 1, when Ricciardo made a move on Sebastian, but ended up going wide, so Sebastian took his position back. My heart was pounding, I was very worried, that Ricciardo could really get past Sebastian before the race was over! On the second last lap, however, Ricciardo suddenly suffered a puncture, and his fight with Sebastian was over. The Australian had to pit for a fresh set of tyres, but in spite of the pit stop, he managed to keep his 4th place.

No matter how much pressure Kimi put on Verstappen, he was simply unable to get past. Max drove an absolutely flawless race and seemed utterly determined to take his maiden win. With this win Max has rewritten the F1 history by being the youngest race leader, youngest podium scorer, youngest race winner and the first Dutchman ever to win an F1 race! What an absolutely staggering race from the 18-year-old Red Bull debutant! I feel there are no words to describe Max´s driving today, it was absolutely phenomenal! What a diamond Red Bull Racing has in Max Verstappen! Max proved it was a brilliant move from Red Bull to promote him to the team. Kimi finished the race second and Sebastian 3rd, so it was a dream podium from my point of view! It was so touching to see all my three favourites up on the podium celebrating and spraying champagne.

Ricciardo had to settle for P4, which must have been a disappointment for him. Williams´ Bottas finished 5th, Sainz 6th, Perez 7th, Massa 8th, Button 9th and Kvyat 10th. Due to the first-corner incident of the Mercedes teammates, Kimi is now second in the drivers´ championship standings, 39 points down on Rosberg. Hamilton is now 4 points off Kimi. Since Mercedes scored zero points today, Ferrari is now "only" 48 points off Mercedes, but Red Bull is also decreasing the gap to Ferrari. Red Bull has now 94 points to Ferrari´s 109.

Verstappen has got a dream start to his career in the new team. A win in the first race for the new team must have been more than he ever dreamed of. Now it´s all about keeping his feet firmly on the ground and not let the success get into his head. I´m so so happy for this young man! He reminds me of Sebastian Vettel and his first years at Red Bull... I clearly have a new idol!

P.S. You can read my thoughts on the Spanish GP also on Scuderia Ferrari Club Riga´s web site:

lauantai 14. toukokuuta 2016

Spanish GP / Qualifying: Verstappen sensationally fourth in his first RBR qualifying!

I had looked forward to the Spanish GP weekend with huge anticipation, as I could hardly wait to see, how the Dutch teenager Verstappen was going to perform at the wheel of the RB12. It´s definitely not easy to jump in a new car with a different power unit in the middle of the season, but Verstappen proved already in Friday´s practice sessions, that he has the skills -not only to drive- but to cope with the pressure, too. The young Dutchman made an impressive work and seemed to adapt to his new car impressively well. I expected very much of Ferrari as well, as the red cars were only a couple of tenths off Mercedes´ pace in the practice sessions.

The Silver Arrows were the first top cars to come out in Q1. Rosberg showed, that his top form hadn´t gone anywhere, and took P1 with his teammate Hamilton second. The Red Bulls came out not until at the end of the first segment, and especially Verstappen made it with style! The 18-year-old Red Bull pilot showed everyone, that he hadn´t been promoted to Red Bull without a reason; he stormed to third, being half-a-second off Rosberg´s pace but two-tenths faster than his teammate Ricciardo! Kimi was 5th and Sebastian 6th, but at this point I wasn´t worried about Ferrari´s pace. Renault´s Palmer was the first driver to be eliminated from Q2. The highest profile casualty, however, was Williams´ Felipe Massa, who failed to get through to Q2 after an apparent timing error made by the team. Both Saubers and both Manors were also out of Q2, which didn´t catch me by any surprise.

Hamilton was the first driver to come out, when Q2 got underway. The Briton absolutely smashed his teammate by six-tenths in the second session! Sensational Verstappen carried on where he left off in Q1 and made it third again in Q2. However, there was a one-second gap to Hamilton in the lead. Kimi and Sebastian in their Ferraris came out not until there were only 5 minutes left in the clock. Kimi ended up making a mistake on his first run and in addition to that, the Iceman was caught in the traffic, so he had to pit for a fresh set of soft tyres. Luckily the Iceman managed to do a very decent second run, which made him jump 4th, right ahead of his teammate Sebastian. However, in the closing stages of Q2, Red Bull´s Ricciardo managed to make it fifth, splitting the Ferrari duo. Once again Verstappen was faster than his Australian teammate! That wasn´t the case for Kvyat, who had been demoted back to Toro Rosso. The Russian got beaten by his Spanish teammate, who managed to make it through to the final session, but Kvyat instead had to settle for P13. The biggest surprise in Q2 was McLaren´s Alonso. McLaren made Q3 for the first time since 2014! Force India´s Hulkenberg was the first faller in Q2, and out of Q3 were also Button in his McLaren, the Haas duo of Grosjean and Gutierrez and Renault´s Magnussen.

Hamilton´s first run in Q3 saw him fastest in the first two sectors, until he locked up and ran wide at Turn 10 in the final sector. After the first runs Rosberg had provisional pole, sensational Verstappen was 2nd and Hamilton third. Kimi set his first time on a used set of soft tyres, and the Finn had a lot to improve on his second run. Hamilton got it together when it mattered, and the Briton stormed on pole after driving an unbelievable lap. Rosberg improved on his second run, but was still three-tenths down on his teammate. The Red Bulls of Ricciardo and Verstappen conquered the second row, Ricciardo finally being the faster of the Red Bull teammates by four-tenths. The session was a disaster for Ferrari, with Kimi only fifth and Sebastian sixth. Both SF16-Hs looked a handful. Thus the grid will line up: Bottas 6th, Sainz 7th, Perez 9th and Alonso 10th.

Where did Ferrari´s pace disappear after this morning´s FP3, where the red cars had seemed extremely competitive? Both Kimi and Sebastian were over a second off Hamilton´s pace in the qualifying! Now I´m starting to wonder, how the situation is in terms of the long-run pace. On Friday Sebastian´s long-run pace seemed to be the best of all, but is it only window-dressing, just like Ferrari´s pace on one lap? Will Mercedes smash Ferrari in the race, like they did in the qualifying? In addition to all of this, there might be a penalty coming for Kimi for an unsafe release in Q3, as Kimi was released from the pits dangerously ahead of Mercedes´ Hamilton.

Verstappen´s debut at the wheel of RB12 has been almost too good to be true. How will this young man cope with the pressure tomorrow, when the lights go out? Red Bull seems to be extremely competitive at Circuit de Catalunya, so Verstappen has every opportunity to make it on the podium. All he has to do is to keep his head cool and take a wise start!

torstai 5. toukokuuta 2016

Breaking news: Verstappen promoted to Red Bull Racing!

This morning I woke up to breaking news regarding the F1 world: Toro Rosso´s young super talent Max Verstappen was announced to join Red Bull Racing already from the Spanish GP, which will take place next week. The Russian Red Bull pilot Daniil Kvyat, on the other hand, has been demoted back to Red Bull´s sister team Toro Rosso. Wow, what an unexpected but spectacular turn!

Although Kvyat made it on the podium in China, his manoeuvres at Sochi were too much for Red Bull. It may have been forgivable to hit your rival at the start once -especially under the pressure in front of your home crowd- but crashing into your rival twice within just two corners was simply too much. Kvyat didn´t ruin only Sebastian Vettel´s race, but also his own and his teammate´s, which took away a lot of possible points from Red Bull Racing. Making mistakes is human, but at the wheel of a Red Bull you aren´t allowed to make many of them. That has been the problem for Kvyat, whose performance and pace have varied a lot from race to race. The Russian pilot was under a lot of pressure from Red Bull, especially Dr Helmut Marko, already last season, and all that pressure seems to have been too much for the talented Russian.

Max Verstappen is now getting an opportunity of a lifetime by getting the chance to move to Red Bull all of a sudden. Of course it was very much expected, that the young Dutchman would join Red Bull sooner or later -probably for season 2017- , but this turn caught me by surprise indeed! The super fast Dutchman definitely has the talent and the skills to succeed at the wheel of the RB12. So now it´s all about how he deals with the pressure, which will come along with this move! Failure is not an option for Verstappen. Red Bull Racing is a controversial place for any talented driver; it can be a way into glorious success or it can end your career in Formula 1 for good. Which one will it be for the super talent Verstappen?

I think Max himself doesn´t probably realise yet, what kind of pressure he will be up against. In spite of his talent, raw speed and huge courage for overtaking, this young Dutchman is just 18 years old. Max is driving only his second season in Formula 1. I hope from the bottom of my heart, that Max has all the psychological skills needed to deal with the pressure he´ll be facing this season! But if he´s a part of Aki Hintsa´s team -like the Finnish F1 commentator Oskari Saari said he most likely is-, then I´m not worried about the psychological aspect. Hintsa´s method for wellness, training and winning is absolutely unique, and for sure it´s very much of help in terms of coping with pressure and mental challenges.

For sure the move to Red Bull Racing is a turning point in terms of Max´s Formula 1 career. It´ll be either a memorable success story or the fairytale that didn´t ever come true. I believe in Max Verstappen; he has every chance to be "the next Sebastian Vettel". There´s something extraordinary about this extremely fast young man; and I´m absolutely convinced he´ll prove that to everybody probably sooner than later!

sunnuntai 1. toukokuuta 2016

Russian GP: Kimi made it 700th podium finish for Ferrari!

Russian GP had a shocking start. First of all, Kimi had a brilliant start from P3 and the Iceman managed to get past his compatriot Bottas. Kimi´s teammate Sebastian took an excellent start as well, but going into Turn 2, Red Bull´s Kvyat locked his rears and the Russian hit the rear of Sebastian´s Ferrari. That wasn´t all: going into Turn 3 the Russian hit Sebastian´s Margherita again! Sebastian span and hit the barriers, which meant the German´s race was over. How utterly frustrating! In China Sebastian had an incident with Kvyat at the start, which lead into the collision between the Ferrari teammates and now this! We heard Sebastian´s extremely angry team radio message, which was almost entirely beeped due to the massive use of swearing words. I was so so gutted for Sebastian! This was already the second retirement for him this season. In addition to destroying Sebastian´s race, Kvyat also ruined his teammate´s race, as Ricciardo also had to pit for a new front wing due to the first-corner incident. Force India´s Hulkenberg and Manor´s Haryanto also collided in Turn 2 and they were both out of the race. There was so much debris on the track that safety car was deployed.

Hamilton had already made his way up to fifth by then. When safety car came in a few laps later, Kimi got a poor re-start and Bottas managed to take the second place back from Kimi. Rosberg in the lead started to increase the gap to his rivals right away. However, there was a thrilling and intense battle for the second place between Bottas, Kimi and Hamilton. On lap 7 Kimi made a small mistake, and Hamilton used his chance immediately. Kimi was unable to prevent Hamilton from overtaking him. Only a moment later Hamilton was putting pressure for Bottas. The Finn, however, defended his position extremely well.

Bottas was the first top driver to pit on lap 17 for a fresh set of soft tyres. Williams made an excellent job, and Valtteri´s pit stop was extremely fast. Mercedes had to react, and Hamilton was called into the pits on the following lap. In spite of the good pit stop, Hamilton rejoined the track behind Bottas. However, Williams´ pace wasn´t quite as good on the soft tyres, and Hamilton made a successful overtaking move on the Finn in the DRS zone. It seemed as if overtaking the Finnish Williams pilot was actually quite easy for the Briton. Kimi pitted a few laps later for a fresh set of soft tyres as well. Hamilton managed to keep the Iceman behind him, but Kimi rejoined the track right ahead of Bottas. After the first -and for the most drivers the only- pit stops Rosberg had a firm lead in the race, Hamilton was second, Kimi third and Bottas fourth. There were solid gaps between all top four drivers, and it seemed there would be no real battle for positions in the lead.

Toro Rosso´s Verstappen was driving a superb race in P6, until he suddenly faced an engine failure on lap 34. It was such a disappointment, as the Dutchman would have scored valuable points in the race! Already before the race he had complained on the team radio about some issue with his power unit.

With some 15 laps to go, Hamilton was driving aggressively and cutting the gap to his teammate in the lead. Suddenly we heard a team radio message, where Hamilton was told about a water pressure issue in his car. So it seemed that more dark clouds were about to gather above Hamilton towards the end of the race. The gap to Rosberg started to increase immediately. Although Hamilton was told a few laps later that the water pressure issue had stabilised, nothing could stop Rosberg from winning the race; it was the seventh consecutive victory for the German and fourth this season! Rosberg also took the so-called grand slam: pole position, victory, lead every lap of the race and set the fastest lap time. This was also the 25th 1-2 for the current Mercedes teammates, which means that Hamilton and Rosberg are the most victorious teammates of all time!

Kimi completed the podium, which was the maximum result the Iceman could achieve today. Bottas finished fourth, followed by his Brazilian teammate Massa in P5. Alonso took excellent P6 for McLaren. Another positive surprise was Renault´s Kevin Magnussen, who finished in P7 today. Grosjean took P8 for Haas, which was an impressive result as well. Rosberg has the maximum points in the championship standings; 100 points to Hamilton´s 57. Kimi is currently third with 43 points. Sebastian is now 10 points down on his teammate. In terms of the constructors´ standings, Mercedes has already double the points compared to their closest rival Ferrari!

I would love to hear the conversation that Sebastian and Kvyat are possibly having tonight... I still don´t understand, what the Russian was thinking in those first corners today!

P.S. You can also read my thoughts on the Russian GP weekend here: