The 2019 Russian Grand Prix belonged to the Silver Arrows and in particular, to the “King at Mercedes.”
As Lewis Hamilton emerged supreme at a venue where he’s exulted previously and not allowed anyone to dominate in the past, there were lots of questions unanswered for Ferrari or should one say, Charles Leclerc, in particular?
In a race where flying speeds and race strategy played the decisive part, Ferrari were left wanting, particularly when their driver in the lead- Sebastian Vettel- felt out midway following an MGU-K problem in his Ferrari. But that said, what were the 5 key talking points from the 2019 Russian Grand Prix?
Did Ferrari bungle up their race?
If there’s a decision or move that all are speculating and perhaps debating endlessly at this point then it concerns the German driver Sebastian Vettel.
Whether the 2013 World Champion defied the team orders, after passing both Hamilton and Leclerc around Turn 2 and refusing to let his teammate through forms the basis of the most important talking points from the 2019 Russian Grand Prix.
In the immediate aftermath of the race, though, Vettel insisted that the team had in place a pre-race agreement for the start.
Whatever it was, Vettel, as most social media posts targeted at him reveal, was a victim of “Karma” as most put it. This is down to the fact that right after emerging from the pits, when was positioned behind Leclerc, he suffered an MGU-K problem in his Ferrari and registered a DNF, leaving everyone wondering whether he’d have been able to control the race proceedings had he not have run into the problem?
Carlos Sainz Jr.- among the talking points from the 2019 Russian Grand Prix
If there was a contender in the midfield who just didn’t put a wrong foot throughout the entirety of the race, then it was McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. The Spaniard bettered his personal best result from the 2019 Russian Grand Prix as he finished with a very strong P6, following the two Red Bulls of Verstappen and Albon, in that order.
Earlier on, he had scored a fighting P6 at the street circuit of Monaco, replicating the effort later at the French Grand Prix at Les Castellet.
He would do well to remember that the last time around when he raced at the same venue, he was plagued by a DNF.
But implicit in Sainz’ s strong drive at Sochi was the calmness with which he controlled the race and demonstrated immense grit in fighting with the Red Bull of Max Verstappen in an interesting scrap during the middle stages of the race. What will also help the Spaniard’s confidence is that the Sochi result indicates the first time in the second half of the season where Sainz has outscored his rookie teammate.
Bottas’s keeping cool with Leclerc adding pressure
If there was another impressive result from the Sochi contest then it was the close fight between the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, particularly during the closing stages of the 53-lap run.
As the two Mercedes gained at the back of Vettel retiring from the race, and kept their nose in the front of the contest during the deployment of the safety car period, there began a close scrap for track position between Bottas and Leclerc.
While arguably Leclerc was in the faster of the machines, Bottas’ excellent defensive skills were out for sharp display that enabled the Finn to keep the tail of his Silver Arrows, despite the Ferrari mounting enough pressure from behind.
From the onset of Lap 39, Leclerc drastically cut down the gap to the Mercedes driver, making several desperate attempts to blast past car number 77 but with no success.
Bottas held on strongly to his second place and ensured a strong Mercedes 1-2 in the end, just when it seemed that the weekend may have gone down Ferrari’s way.
No dearth in Kimi Raikkonen’s errors
Not nearly seeming the driver he was in the first half of the season, where he gave the likes of McLaren, Racing Point, and Renault a tough run on the grid, Kimi Raikkonen has seemed flimsy, erratic and at times, too careless as seen in the contests upon the resumption of the season, following the second half.
Among the big talking points from the 2019 Russian Grand Prix was Raikkonen getting off to a false start. Just who would’ve expected an experienced and calm driver, who entered the 307th race of his career to start prematurely even before the five red lights went out properly?
But then, just as Raikkonen, at 39, set the fastest-ever lap in the history of the sport in taking the world of motorsports by a complete surprise, the “Iceman” stunned everyone who expected something much better than the third-most experienced man to race in Formula 1 courtesy that Sochi shocker!
In the end, he was able to finish only with a paltry twelfth, hence no points again.
Hammertime- among the biggest talking points from the 2019 Russian Grand Prix
When Lewis Hamilton arrived at the Russian Grand Prix, there was a distant hope of triumph at the contest despite Ferrari’s massive resurgence as amplified by a thrilling hat-trick of wins as seen as Spa, Monza, and Marina Bay. As he leaves Sochi, Lewis Hamilton has ensured the dominance of the Silver Arrows once again.
On Saturday, he promised he would “tow the life out of the Ferrari” of Leclerc as he nearly gave everything to collect P2, not the worst position at the Russian contest.
But on Sunday, Hamilton controlled his race strongly once Vettel’s Ferrari was out, hence the minimization of risk, with the Briton already in the front of the grid.
In winning the 2019 Russian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton scored his fourth win at the Grand Prix Venue, with the icing on the cake being his stunning 1:35:761- the fastest lap of the day, meaning Mercedes are back in the hunt.