Russian Grand Prix 2014 – Recap

Lewis Hamilton made history again after winning the first edition of the Russian Grand Prix. He started from pole position and was able to hold the lead from start to finish. No other than Russia’s president Vladimir Putin handed the trophy to him during the awarding ceremony. His teammate Nico Rosberg came in second place while Valterri Bottas of Williams grabbed the third spot here which in stark contrast to the Japanese GP ran smoothly and was largely uneventful.

Qualifying

Hamilton beat Rosberg again in the qualifying after recording the fastest time of 1.38.513 to start at the pole of the inaugural Russian GP. This will be the seventh time that he will start at the pole this season. He was just 0.2 seconds faster than Rosberg who will start at second place. Williams’s Valtteri Bottas lost his chance to start at front row here after he made a mistake in the final turn of the track.

Racing Conditions

Unlike last week in Japan, the weather in Sochi was very pleasant during race day. The sun was shining bright with no chance of rain falling during the race according to weather experts. Almost all the drivers here have chosen to use Pirelli’s soft tires at the start except for Sergio Perez who chose to begin with the medium.

The Grid

Note: There are only 21 cars for this race. Marussia decided to field only one car here in respect of Julian Bianchi who’s still in the hospital after his tragic accident in the Japanese GP last week.

The Race

racing-at-the-2014-russian-grand-prixHamilton grabs the lead at the start of the race with Rosberg and Bottas following him. Rosberg locks up in the first corner and goes wide. He was able to grab the lead from Hamilton but the move badly damaged his tires. He needed to pit in early to change tires. This error proved to be costly for him as it moved him back to 20th place.

Bottas and Button are now behind Hamilton. Alonso and Vergne meanwhile hold the fourth and fifth positions respectively. Rosberg is now more than 30 seconds behind his teammate. His gamble on lap 1 didn’t and it could cost him the title.

Hamilton is slowly pulling away from Bottas on lap 11 as he records another fastest lap. Rosberg meanwhile is making some progress behind and is now in 16th place. Alonso who is in fourth place keeps the pressure on Button who trails behind Bottas.

Max Chilton retires from the race on lap 17 because of a vibration problem with his car. Rosberg is now readying to make a move past Perez for the 10th place. He was able to finally overtake Perez on lap 20. Hamilton is now cruising in front with Bottas now about six seconds behind him.

Kobayashi retires from the race on lap 27 due to mechanical problems. Rosberg continues his climb and is now on fourth place. Hamilton made his first stop on lap 28 and was able to get back in front when he returned to the track.

On lap 31, Rosberg was able to grab the second place from Bottas. He was able to overtake the Williams driver on turn two. The recovery operation is now complete for the German. However, he’s still 19 seconds behind Hamilton.

The race progresses without any hitch. Hamilton maintains his big lead over Rosberg while Bottas is steady on third spot. Button who was chasing Bottas earlier is now several seconds behind the current third placed driver. On lap 53, Hamilton cruises on to be the first to meet the chequered flag. He is followed by Rosberg and Bottas in the finish line moments later. This is his ninth win this season and the 31st GP win in his entire career.

After Thoughts

The win put Hamilton 17 points ahead of Rosberg in the drivers’ championship with 291 points. However, he shouldn’t be complacent in his position as Rosberg still has a good chance to win the title. There are still three races remaining this season and with double points offered on Abu Dhabi, Rosberg has enough reason to still keep on fighting. While the title race between the two Mercedes drivers is yet to be decided, their team was able to finally win the constructors championship after Hamilton’s win here. The next race will be the United States Grand Prix on November 2.