- Sunday’s race for the Russian F1 Grand Prix at the Sochi track had a dramatic track. Lando Norris may have been in the lead for a long time. A few laps before the end, the track was crumbling, and the risks taken by the McLaren driver ended in disaster
- Norris fell off the track in a corner, which Lewis Hamilton took advantage of. The British changed his tires and won the race
- Max Verstappen also made great art. The Red Bull Racing driver started the race from the bottom of the grid, and eventually came second. The battle for the championship title is getting more and more exciting!
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Saturday’s Russian Grand Prix qualifiers mixed a lot among the Formula 1 drivers. Unexpectedly, the main roles in it were played by drivers who do not compete for the top prizes this year. Lando Norris has had the most exciting time, starting from pole position for the first time in his career until the F1 race. Carlos Sainz came right behind him with Williams driver George Russell third.
Due to the replacement of the engine in his car, Max Verstappen completely abandoned the competition, who started the race from the last field. At his request, the situation was complicated by Lewis Hamilton, who before the race on the track in Sochi lost five points in the general classification of the leading driver, Red Bull Racing. But the championship defender damaged his car in the third inning of qualifying, and in the end it was only the fourth time.
However, Mercedes management decided to “sacrifice” Valtteri Bottas once again, as the power unit in his car was replaced after Saturday’s qualifying and the Finn driver was automatically moved ten places back and started from 17th for the race. Bottas was tasked with stopping Verstappen from sprinting forward and keeping Lewis Hamilton in pole position after the race in Sochi.
When all eyes were on Hamilton, the Briton unexpectedly started Sunday’s race in a nightmare. After the start and confusion in the lead, the defending champion slipped back to seventh place. Lando Norris took off immediately, but Carlos Sainz quickly found a way to get a McLaren driver.
Max Verstappen moved up to 15th on the field after the first laps and was consistently ahead. On the sixth lap, the Dutchman overtook Bottas with a beautiful maneuver, who was completely surprised by the work of the Red Bull Racing driver. The Dutchman liked one of the bends, leaving after a moment Pierre Gasly behind his back. Verstappen, with its impressive and efficient ride, made many impressions for fans. The Red Bull Racing driver after 13 laps climbed to ninth in the competition.
On the other hand, Hamilton participated in a fight with Daniel Ricciardo, as the fifth session.
On lap 13, Norris played against Sainz and returned to the driving position. The Ferrari driver also complained of problems with the front tire and after a moment visited his mechanic while Norris was improving the speed.
Meanwhile, Verstappen’s chase to the top was in full swing. The Dutchman was in a class of his own, recording the fastest lap times and cutting losses for the leading drivers in no time. On lap 18, Verstappen was already sixth.
After Carlos Sainz entered the pit lane, Lando Norris began to consolidate his lead, after 22 laps, he had more than 12 seconds of lead over his second teammate – Daniel Ricciardo. A moment later, the Australian went to the mechanics and Hamilton moved into second, with an empty track in front of him, and started chasing Norris.
Once again, a huge fight was fought in the pit lane. On lap 27, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen decided to visit the mechanics together. In ninth, Hamilton is back on the track, and three places below Verstappen, who, however, quickly tackled George Russell. “Norris” later went off the track. The McLaren driver returned to the competition in fourth place.
With less than 15 laps remaining, it became clear that the battle for the ultimate victory would take place between the two Britons: Norris and Hamilton. Norris at this point in the fight had nearly two seconds of advantage over his compatriot with a much bigger title. However, both have developed a huge advantage over their competitors. Verstappen was seventh at the time, but his tone was too low.
Seven laps before the end, the track was falling apart a bit, causing an uproar among the drivers. Rain began distributing cards on the track at a crucial moment of the race as Norris found out. The McLaren driver had problems in the first corner, but fortunately for him, Hamilton was unable to get to the front of the group.
Over time, the slippery surface began to cause more and more problems for drivers. Four laps before the finish line, Hamilton decided to change the tyres, while Norris berated his engineer harshly and did not intend to leave the track. But the strategy chosen by the young driver did not pay off, and the Briton paid a heavy price for it. Conditions on the track became very difficult and in one corner the McLaren driver went off the track, which Hamilton took advantage of and ran confidently to the finish line for the win.
Max Verstappen also used confusion with Norris and the other drivers, who was promoted to second place. Given the conditions and the starting at the end of the pack, the Dutch driver’s performance is absolutely stunning.
Norris had a victory in the Russian Grand Prix within his reach, but lost not only the first place, but also the podium at his behest. In the end, the McLaren driver finished the competition in seventh place.
It turns out that Mercedes’ quiet tactics are the key to success. It was Hamilton’s 100th victory in Formula 1. Historic battle for the title in 2021 is shameful!
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