Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Sochi Autodrom, 2020

2020 Russian Grand Prix Star Performers

2020 Russian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were RaceFans’ Star Performers of the Russian Grand Prix weekend – here’s why.

Stars

Max Verstappen

Verstappen was able to split the Mercedes in qualifying with what he called one of his best-ever laps. Cleverly, he positioned his car just close enough to Bottas ahead to pick up a slipstream at key parts of the lap.

Having also got through Q2 on the medium tyres – abandoning an extra soft-tyre run at the last second when it became clear it wasn’t needed – which gave him an advantage over Hamilton in the first stint. Starting on the dirty side of the grid, Verstappen was passed by Bottas on the run down to turn two but regained second place when Hamilton served his 10-second penalty.

Sergio Perez

Perez qualified on the second row of the grid while his team mate dropped out in Q2. Like Verstappen, he started on the dirty side of the track and lost places as a result, to both Renault drivers. But by pitting later than them he jumped from sixth to fourth.

For the rest of the race, he comfortably led the midfield and finished only eight seconds behind Hamilton. A fine performance under the circumstances, as he’s still waiting to be equipped with Racing Point’s latest upgrade.

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Strugglers

Carlos Sainz Jnr

Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Sochi Autodrom, 2020
Sainz had two crashes in three days
Sainz’s weekend started on the wrong foot as he slid backwards into the barriers in first practice. This compromised his work on McLaren’s latest aerodynamic package, which team mate Lando Norris ran instead in the race.

Sainz recovered well in qualifying and started sixth. But at the start, he ran wide at turn two, and as he tried to take the path through the bollards he collided heavily with the barriers. That second crash in three days ended his race prematurely.

Sebastian Vettel

Vettel made it into Q2, but on a subsequent run carried too much speed into turn four, lost the rear end ended up in the barriers. As a result, he started 14th. From there he was unable to make up any significant ground in the race, and finished 13th behind the Ferrari customer pair Antonio Giovinazzi and Kevin Magnussen.

Alexander Albon

Albon’s typical qualifying deficit to Verstappen has been in the region of half a second, but at a track which Christian Horner said “accentuated” Red Bull’s tricky handling characteristics, it was more than twice that.

A gearbox penalty forced Albon to start from 15th on the grid, so during the early Safety Car period he swapped his set of soft tyres from Q2 for hards. He was unable to make sufficient progress on these by the time he pitted for medium tyres, which dropped him back into traffic. In the final stint he lost a place to Pierre Gasly, who was on fresher tyres, but was able to overcome Lando Norris’s McLaren for 10th.

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And the rest

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2020
Hamilton’s penalty assured Bottas of victory
Hamilton’s weekend veered off course in Q2 when he ran wide on his first attempt, then lost his second run due to the red flag for Vettel’s crash. He therefore had to qualify on the soft tyres which compromised his race strategy, but he still grabbed pole with a flawless lap at the end of qualifying.

Bottas had a cleaner qualifying session until Q3, when he lost out to Hamilton and Verstappen. Hamilton held on to the lead on lap one but a pair of five-second penalties for his pre-race practice starts left him behind, at which point his head seemed to drop. Bottas enjoyed a straightforward race following Hamilton’s penalty to score his second win of the season.

Daniel Ricciardo out-qualified his team mate but Esteban Ocon emerged ahead by the end of lap one. The latter maintained pace with the front runners for the first part of the opening stint, but Ricciardo was much quicker in the second stint and the team swapped their two drivers.

Although Charles Leclerc failed to make it into Q3 but he had benefit of starting from new tyres, which he used to good effect. On the opening lap, he sent Stroll into a spin – surprisingly, the stewards overlooked the incident. He gained two positions on the opening lap and continued on a 28-lap opening stint on the medium tyres. He came out of the pits in between the two Renault drivers and easily held off Ocon for Ferrari’s best finish since the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix last month.

Esteban Ocon, Renault, Sochi Autodrom, 2020
Ocon slipped back from strong early position
Gasly started ahead of Kvyat but had to start the race on old tyres, which dropped him behind his team mate and Leclerc. During a late Virtual Safety Car period the team tried to pull off a quick pit stop, but were caught out when green flag running resumed earlier than expected, costing him two places. Nonetheless he re-passed Norris and Albon for ninth behind his team mate, who was hounding Ocon as the chequered flag fell.

Alfa Romeo struggled in qualifying and both drivers were eliminated in Q1, including Raikkonen who spun on his final run. Both drivers gained five positions on the opening lap but Giovinazzi’s 16-lap opening stint worked much better than Raikkonen’s longer run. Giovinazzi ended up just outside the points in 11th while Raikkonen was able to pass Norris in the final laps for 14th.

Stroll failed to make it into Q3 – he was already in the drop zone when his car overheated in the queue to leave the pits before the restart – but made up for it by positioning his car superbly on the run to turn two. But Leclerc tagged his right rear wheel at turn four, sending the RP20 into the barriers.

Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Sochi Autodrom, 2020
Stroll gained several places before being hit
Haas pair Magnussen and Romain Grosjean also made impressive starts and were ninth and 10th respectively after the first lap. They lacked the car performance to maintain these positions but Magnussen was able to hold on to 12th as Grosjean dropped to 18th after making two stops.

Norris’s race was ruined on the first lap: He had to avoid his team mate’s crash and ran over debris which upset the balance of the car for the remainder of the race.

Russell put in another impressive qualifying performance that was good enough for 14th, but finished the race behind his team mate after three pit stops. He lost three places on the opening lap and struggled with tyres for the rest of the race, coming in last.

Over to you

Vote for the driver who impressed you most last weekend and find out whether other RaceFans share your view here:

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Author information

Josh Holland
USA-based Josh joined the RaceFans team in 2018. Josh helps produce our Formula 1 race weekend coverage, assists with our social media activities and...

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81 comments on “2020 Russian Grand Prix Star Performers”

  1. Stars: BOT, VER, and PER
    Strugglers: HAM, OCO, ALB, NOR, and RUS.

    1. Generous for bottas. He got thumped in qualifying and was heading for his usual anonymous race before Hamilton’s penalty. I thought ricciardo did well, probably maxed out his car despite a tricky opening stint.

      1. You can’t claim Bottas was heading for an anonymos race when he at least made a great start and attempted to attack Hamilton.

        Ricciardo did do well, but he made a mistake when trying to stay ahead of Verstappen and cost himself a place to both verstappen and Ocon. This cost him a lot of time and even more when he basically wasted Ocon slowing down to let him pass. Ricciardo’s pace from then on was excellent, but without that poor first stint, I would say he should have beaten Perez.

        1. @thegianthogweed Rather than Bottas having a good start, wasn’t it more that Verstappen had a bad start?

          1. @f1oclown
            “Starting on the dirty side of the grid, Verstappen (and Perez and Carlos) was passed (just like Lewis was last year)
            Yeah, you’re right, absolute fail……

          2. I was also referring to the fact that he started 2 places behind hamilton and still put on a good fight with hamilton into the corner. Not just that verstappen had a bad one. Bottas showed some fight for once.

          3. @thegianthogweed Well that’s hardly a feat. That’s a given on that track. And then with the “bee distraction” simply gave away his lead by braking way too late. He was centimeters away from a penalty.

          4. Max didn’t had a bad start Bottas (and everyone on the left side) had a great start. Something most drivers on the right side had the same problem.

          5. @macleod Yes it’s funny that when Bottas loses P2 to Verstappen in P3, then Verstappen fans complain that Bottas is a mediocre driver who should be replaced immediately (by Verstappen of course). Yet when Verstappen starts from P2 and drops to P3 then it’s suddenly “a great start” ” splitting the “all powerful Mercedes” and he “couldn’t help being on the dirty side of the track”.

            In this case it’s not just starting from the dirty side. Verstappen fluffs turn 2 as well. Where he again could/should have ended up in front of Bottas, but actually loses another position.

    2. I agree BOT should be in the star performers, he won the race keeping it simple and clean – and gained two places in the race (one past an apparent star performer, who gained precisely zero places in the race).
      Can’t argue with PER – fantastic performance.
      And LEC – gained 5 places in the race, only one of which was from someone failing to finish – that includes 6 second ahead of OCC, who had a car 0.5s faster in quali.

      1. according to your theory…
        if the man on pole, wins the race, drives the race of his life, can never be a start performer, because he gained zero places?

        1. @ johnever : That wasn’t my logic, if VER is a star performer with no places gained and didn’t win the race (and I am not saying he isn’t a start performer), why not BOT with two places gained to win the race.

    3. To those who keep insisting Lewis Hamilton deserved his 10 second penalty at the Russian grand prix please check out these wise words from this formula 1 expert on YouTube. Either click on the bellow link or copy and paste the link to the top of your browser and then press enter. Click
      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Tl04ygbbrqE

      1. well
        first of all, nice new info

        I think the penalty was deserved
        And I also think Leclerc should have a penalty.

        What I question myself, were 2 penalties fair, adding up to 10 seconds, it’s a but harsh

  2. Quite generous on Grosjean to be left out of the Struggler category; I guess ratings are as much based on expectations.

    1. @coldfly
      Not really. He very nearly made it out of Q2 and both him, but magnussen more so made very good starts both getting up into the points. Throughout most of the race, Grosjean was 3 – 5 seconds behind magnussen and only started dropping off towards the end. As a COTD a few days back mentioned, he was racing fairly with Vettel, but he suffered the consequences of the barrier and bouncing over the kerb and going through the barriers possibly contributed to him pitting again If anyone should be added to the strugglers list, I would say that is Russell as his lock up and strategy was basically triggered by himself struggling.

      I this usually rare for Grosjean to be rated as a star which I think he deserved last weekend given he had such a damaged car and yet he still managed to produce some great racing at the last restart. He did get credit for it in this article though. Magnussen was clearly better in the race this weekend, but Grosjean hasn’t been that bad lately. Overall he’s looked better than Magnussen over the past few race weekends too.

      1. @thegianthogweed
        Maybe I am too harsh, but the only action I recall from him was letting another car past and then locking up and missing turn 2. I thought that was very clumsy.

        PS “was 3 – 5 seconds behind Magnussen” can hardly be seen as an accomplishment.

        1. It isn’t. But magnussen and him both were excellent at the start, and most of the race for Grosjean wasn’t much worse than Magnussen. I think Magnussen was good, therefore my point is that Grosjean wasn’t as bad as you are saying.

          Grosjean was alongside Vettel and it was a similar situation to Bottas VS Hamilton at the start, Only Hamilton just about gave Bottas enough room. Vettel forced Grosjean right off track (grosjean didn’t lock up here) and then Grosjean had to quickly decide weather to give himself a penalty and due to how late it was, he didn’t have time to take the correct line through the barriers. Given his late stop and the fact Magnussen had a very solid race, I just don’t see how Grosjean was a struggler. Magnussen was just better this time.

          1. I think Magnussen could have been listed near the stars for his 4ace,and only missed out a bit on his last quali lap to be amongst them. So in that respect @coldfly, I suppose I might agree with what @thegianthogweed wrote.

        2. There was no lockup, Vettel forced him off the track

          1. There was no lockup, Vettel forced him off the track

            I was referring to lap 39 when he let Albon overtake him for position (!) by moving off line and then missing the braking point and taking the escape road. Consequently GIO was all over him and I think Grosjean pitted to end up close to last.
            I just watched it again as I thought that I might have misjudged it the first time. But even now I think that manoeuvre was extremely clumsy.
            @pastaman, @bosyber, @thegianthogweed

  3. The Alpha Tauri pair had a great race too, not sure if they’d qualify as “stars” but I certainly enjoyed watching Gasly, and Kvyat would have been proud of his home race performance.

    Certainly not the best race for HAM, not sure I’d quite put him in the struggler pile (50% his own doing and 50% outside forces) but he was certainly close to it based on expectations. Talent shines through though and he’ll be back on top, I don’t doubt that.

  4. The stand out performer of the whole weekend was obviously Lewis Hamilton. I’m beginning to think that it’s a complete waste of time having things like driver of the day and driver of the of the weekend competitions because, firstly, people just do not understand the difference between the two statements and often vote the driver of the weekend when the person they nominated was only the driver of the day. Secondly, because people on this site only vote for drivers they like rather than drivers who put in great performances. I mean, how on earth is Lewis Hamilton not easily driver of the day and weekend when he brilliantly qualifed about half a second a ahead of Bottas and in the race itself he re-passed Bottas going into turn one And then after silly penalties he went from 11th place to finish on the podium. Now how is that not the leading contender for driver of the whole weekend, and WEIRDLY ENOUGH, Mad Max who started second and did not pass one single car, yet was voted driver of the whole weekend. so voters do vote according to who they like and not who is the best driver. I notice many voters are just bitter and jealous of Hamilton’s success and brilliance. Just accept the fact he is the greatest formula 1 driver who ever lived.

    1. I agree because that is exactly how I saw it.

    2. So typical. Complain that others base their choice on who they like, then basically write a hero-worship eulogy of guess who with complete disregard of the facts..

      Everyone who followed the race weekend knows that Hamilton messed up qualifying which left him on the wrong tyre in the race, and as we saw in the race, Bottas was much faster on the mediums than Hamilton was on the hards after the first stop so he would have overcut him. Once on the hards, Bottas was faster as well so he would have stayed in front and won the race even if Hamilton was behind him. Reality was that Hamilton could hardly get closer to the Red Bull of Verstappen.

    3. I respectfully disagree because as you rightly pointed out it is called driver of the weekend.
      If it was called driver of q3 I would have voted for Hamilton as well. But the rest of his weekend was between clumsy and unlucky. Firstly he didn’t get the lap in on medium tyres in q2 due to a mistake and later the ill timed red flag. That meant he had to conserve his tyres for the whole race. Regarding the timesheets Bottas would have probably beaten him anyway virtue of the overcut.
      But he had already got a penalty for something that was again a bit unfortunate but also unnecessary.
      He dropped to third (not 11th) and stayed there for the rest of the race without showing great pace.
      Driver of the year so far? Absolutely.
      Driver of this particular weekend? No.
      Perez and Verstappen seems fair.

      1. @roadrunner Hamilton was classified 11th at some point though. It might be true that he only passed Grosjean, Vettel and Kvyat with an actual overtake on track, but he still lost a lot of time from being stuck that far behind. Besides P3 was the best he could anyway.

        The point is, Verstappen started ahead of Bottas, has an abysmal start and then finishes behind Bottas. Which nets him “driver of the day!”. Isn’t that weird?

        It’s like calling Bottas driver of the day in Hungary and Spain since he did well to keep behind Verstappen after fluffing his start.

        1. @f1oclown
          Lol, the bias is strong 😂😂😂
          Please keep making a fool of yourself, it’s absolutely golden.
          “ this was without doubt one of his strongest performances of a superb season”
          “ Max Verstappen continues to do things with the Red Bull RB16 that, from the outside at least, seem nigh on impossible.”
          (How dare all these professionals who have been involved in this sport for decades disagree with you?)

          1. Obsessed with that word?

        2. Boy Wonder is the chosen one.

        3. @f1osaurus

          Verstappen started ahead of Bottas

          When you consider how Mercedes is 1 second quicker than every other car in the sport, that by itself was a brilliant achievement.

          1. @kingshark Oh please. On race pace there is only a few tenths difference.

          2. @f1osaurus
            ever noticed that the difference in race-pace during FP’s is not representative for the race-pace during the real race.

          3. @johneve Ever noticed that Red Bull is just as fast in a race as Mercedes?

            1 second a lap faster would mean Verstappen would be almost a lap down at the end of a race.

            Also, we seen have plenty examples that a Mercedes does not just get past. Unless Verstappen panics and ruins his tyres and/or his front wing.

            For people who actually watch F1, it would be clear that if Verstappen had had track position on Bottas (as he should have had after the start), then he would most likely have finished ahead.

        4. You have a point though considering Verstappens start. I first thought it was just the slipstream to that allowed Bottas to pass…
          But let’s be generous and give him credit for the rest of a brilliant weekend.😉
          Except for Perez there’s hardly anyone who challenges his position as a star performer anyway this weekend…

          1. @roadrunner Verstappen you mean? Well he could/should have won that race.

            Sure he got lucky with the tow in Q3, but he started from P2 and he could have kept that place had he had a better start. So no, I don’t think Verstappen got the maximum out of that race.

          2. Everyone on the right side of the dirty track had a bad start. Its a known fact that all presenters agreed on.

        5. @f1osaurus
          you know right that the right side was the dirty side, and nearly the whole right side had a worse start.
          Long piece of asphalt here towards the 1st big brakingpoint, so a slipstream is very powerfull, and Lewis was carefull not to give a slipstream to Max, and stayed long enough on the left side to get Bottas passed Verstappen.
          Furthermore the Mercedes race-pace is better than the RBR’s, so a RBR splitting the Mercedes is the maximum

          1. @johnever Yes I do. Do you remember all the flak that Bottas got for losing P2 to P3?

            It’s not just Verstappen’s poor getaway from the line, he botched it some more into turn 2.

            The race pace of Red Bull is only a few tenths less than Mercedes. So track position would have been enough here. There is no way that Bottas would have overtaken him. As demonstrated the previous two times that Verstappen happened to get ahead of Bottas.

            Apart from Styriawhere Verstappen panicked and destroyed his front wing and tyres and only then got passed easily by Bottas.

      2. CORRRCTION
        Balue and roadrunner please please please check your facts before you write on here. Firstly, BALUE If you watch the Russian grand prix QUALIFYING HIGHLIGHTS again you will clearly see that Hamilton did not mess up his ultimate qualifying lap, and it was Vettel whose crash brought out the red flag when Hamilton was on a fast lap at the time.

        Secondly to ROADRUNNER, when lewis got a 10 second penalty he did definitely come out in 11th place and made his way up to an excellent podium 3rd place.When Hamilton got up to 3rd his tyres were too worn to make up a 10 second to gap to Mad Max in 2rd place with about 11 laps to go.

        So Hamilton wisely decided to save his tyres and engine for another day as there was no way on hard tyres that he was going to catch catch Mad Max, who was 10 seconds up the road with 11 laps to go. No way. Looking at all the facts Hamilton is easily the driver of the day and weekend, followed by Perez and Leclerc. Mad Max did not pass one single car in the whole race, and only qualified ahead of Bottas in qualifying because he got a huge tow off Bottas.So how on earth could Mad Max be voted driver of the whole weekend? It’s so wrong.

        1. Yeah. Facts checked and… he dropped to third.
          He was 11th for a brief moment but only because he stopped earlier than anybody else and got all those places back when the other runners pitted. That’s hardly fighting back, that’s math…
          He didn’t even have to pass one slower car except for Vettel so he didn’t suffer from traffic as well.

          1. @roadrunner He overtook 3 cars on track though. Or drove past, but they were there. Kvyat most definitely didn’t make it easy.

            That’s not the point though. Hamilton was never going to get back in front of Verstappen. First of all there isn’t any significant delta between those cars on a race day. There needs to be quite a big difference in laptime to be able to overtake.

            If anything, Hamilton would be slower due to having about 10 laps older tyres. Also, he would first have had to make up 10 seconds on track to get close enough. So then his tyres would have been even worse off.

            That’s just never going to happen with two such evenly matched cars.

    4. @Vince – I totally agree. 100%. It seems these things are led more by emotional reasoning than anything else.

      Verstappen didn’t do anything noteworthy in the race. In fact, he lost a position and ended up 2nd because Hamilton was missing in action. Bottas didn’t do anything noteworthy in the race either. In fact, he gained 2 positions by dint of having a faster car, and his teammates bad luck.

      And they say Formula One fans are among some of the most intelligent in the world. Things like this surely calls that notion into doubt.

      1. @kbdavies
        “Verstappen didn’t do anything noteworthy in the race.”
        Well, he finished 2nd in what is at best the fifth car on the grid.
        But hey, humor us and come op with some quotes from less emotional professionals who agree with you.
        (Josh Holland doesn’t, Mark Hughes doesn’t, no team boss does)

        1. Oconomo, where do you get this myth that the car is somehow the 5th fastest car at best on the grid?

          Are you the same figure as David Bondo, who also posts similarly nonsensical claims about how the Red Bull is so slow – seemingly making it slower and slower per race – in order to pour increasingly hyperbolic praise over Verstappen?

          An objective analysis of the performance of the 2020 Red Bull shows that it is still pretty clearly the second fastest car in the field at most circuits. The midfield pack have still not closed the performance gap that Red Bull had over them in 2019 and, having initially been only matching their 2019 times, the 2020 Red Bull car is now measurably faster than their 2019 car.

          A 2019 Red Bull would have been capable of putting Max Verstappen 3rd on the grid in Russia, such was the superiority of the big three teams last year, and Verstappen demonstrated that the 2020 Red Bull was several tenths faster than the 2019 car around Sochi.

          There have been individuals carrying out comparisons of telemetry data that shows that Red Bull is still markedly faster than the midfield pack in most corners, with only Mercedes having a noticeable edge – indeed, in almost every single race this season, Red Bull has been significantly closer to the pace of the Mercedes cars than the midfield pack have been to Red Bull.

          Red Bull have not produced “the 5th fastest car”, or similarly wild claims – the car is measurably faster than that, and really is a fairly clear 2nd on the grid. It comes across as rather condescending towards Red Bull and Honda to constantly downplay their performance, or even derogatory to go “oh no, you’re clearly incompetent and unable to produce a competitive car – it’s nothing to do with your ability and only Max’s performance”.

          It’s not to say that Verstappen did a rubbish job, because that is not the case – but it is to say that there do seem to be some individuals who have a quite patronising and toxic attitude towards Red Bull that seems to think that Red Bull is somehow awful when they’re not.

        2. @Oconomo –

          Well, he finished 2nd in what is at best the fifth car on the grid.

          I just picked myself off the floor, laughing!!!

          1. Oconomo is definitely that David Bondo guy who makes the same risible claim about the Red Bull being the 5th fastest car in the field. He repeats this over and over again, that is seems like he is suffering some sort of neurosis.

          2. @kbdavies Lol, indeed it’s kind of comical to read his nonsense.

            It’s the same person who used to go with the nickname BigJoe previously. I think also uses a shorter version of that. I’m thinking Joe?

        3. I would say third best car as sometimes they are 5th but mostly they are third.

    5. @vince
      Hahahaha, so the guy who threw away a win by being stupid and than failed to finish second in a car that should have no problem lapping 1 second a lap faster than the Red Bull simply because he didn’t want to and rather sulk like a pathetic cry baby, should be stand out performer?
      Lol, what drugs are you on…..

      1. Ocon please reason on like a mature adult and not a 12 year ok. Hamilton first asked him team if it’s ok to do practice starts at the end of the pit lap. They said yes, so how is Hamilton being stupid? Secondly, by the time Hamilton drove his hard tyres from 11th to 3rd much of his thread on his tyres had worn out. There is no possible way any car on this earth can go fast on worn hard tyres. What planet are you on? Hamilton did the best race anyone could have. From 11th to 3rd is excellent.

        1. @vince

          Why did he only ask about the practice start location that late, rather than earlier? And why did he go that far forward, much more than his team expected?

          1. @aapje 1) Because he wanted to do a practice start before the actual start. That’s quite a normal thing to do.
            2) Because he didn’t want to be in anyone’s way. So he went all the way to the end of the pit exit lane where he wouldn’t bother anyone. This was not forbidden by the rules anyway, so why does it matter how far he went?

            In Spa, the rules (in the notes) stated that the practice start needed to begin before the SC2 line. Leclerc started well after the SC2 line and wasn’t even investigated. For Sochi all the ruels said to do it on the right, after the pit exit and leave space. Hamilton did all that.

          2. @aapje.
            Who says Hamilton did not ask his team earlier. We just don’t know what was said before Hamilton got into his car to start his practice. As to why lewis went so far forward to start practice. Well husiseam did not instruct him how far he could or should go, which is what they are paid to do.

          3. @f1osaurus

            1. The issue is not with him wanting to do a practice start, but only deciding on track that he wanted a novel spot. If he had talked about this in advance, the team and him could have pointed to specific locations on a map and even asked race control for permission. The way it happened now, there was a miscommunication about the place where Lewis would practice and time pressure on the team to skip a thorough investigation.

            2. He was in a spot where a tankslapper by a car on the racing track could result in that car hitting Lewis at high speed, which could result in a Hubert-like fatality. A practice start directly behind the pit exit light is behind the barrier, so a safe location.

            @vince

            You are now reaching even more than before. He obviously didn’t ask earlier, as he had to ask on track.

            I think that it is common sense to not practice at that unsafe location and his team seems to have thought the same.

          4. @aapje The rules for practice starts on this track were:

            19) Practice starts
            19.1 Practice starts may only be carried out on the right-hand side after the pit exit lights and, for the
            avoidance of doubt, this includes any time the pit exit is open for the race.
            Drivers must leave adequate room on their left for another driver to pass.
            19.2 For reasons of safety and sporting equity, cars may not stop in the fast lane at any time the pit exit
            is open without a justifiable reason (a practice start is not considered a justifiable reason).

            It does not mention how far from the pit exit sign he needs to do this. So according to these rules, he could do it anywhere on the pit exit lane. As long as he is on the right hand side and there is space to pass. It also does not mention “tank slappers”, so again your argument is invalid.

            You really need to find something that is literally from 19) Practice starts.

            Sure the stewards might not have intended for the practice starts to be held there, but they need to apply the rules as is and not their own opinion of what they feel should have written.

            So they need to state something like “immediately after the pit exit sign on the right hand side next to the pit exit lane” if that’s where they want it to happen. Yet they didn’t.

            Someone posted the Spa notes. That’s where Leclerc performed a practice start outside of the very specifically detailed area … and wasn’t even investigated for it. The stewards were actually looking at Leclerc’s incident from a “too slow lap time” point of view which was caused by him starting from the wrong place.

            Just for fun look at those rules:
            18) Practice starts
            18.1 During each practice session, practice starts may only be carried out on the right-hand side after
            leaving the pit lane. These must be done prior to the SC2 line and with all four wheels between the
            white line on the right-hand edge of the pit exit and the wall. (the area bordered by black in the
            photograph on page 6).
            18.2 During the time the pit exit is open for the race, practice starts may be carried out on the track after
            the pit exit before the SC2 line. Drivers wishing to carry out a practice start should stop wholly within
            the pit exit in order to allow other cars to pass on their left (the area bordered by red in the photograph
            on page 6). During this time any driver passing a car which has stopped to carry out a practice start
            may cross the white line that is referred to in 19.1 below.
            18.3 For reasons of safety and sporting equity, cars may not stop in the fast lane at any time the pit exit
            is open without a justifiable reason (a practice start is not considered a justifiable reason).

            See how these rules are actually clear. They even come with a picture showing the two mentioned boxes.

            Which is why Hamilton asked how far he could go since that is sometimes mentioned in the notes. ie like in Spa not to go past the SC2 line as Leclerc did.

            And then for Sochi we get this vague nonsense that does not actually disallow what Hamilton did.

          5. @f1osaurus

            It’s hard to be precise with language, especially since the same words can be interpreted differently. “After” can mean “directly after,” but also “somewhere after.” Neither clarifications are in the text.

            I think that “directly after” is the more sensible interpretation and it definitely is the interpretation that other drivers went with.

          6. A vague rule that resulted in 2 very different results for 2 different drivers within a few races of each other. Sounds like pretty poor stewarding consistency and perhaps even corrupt.

          7. @aapje Exactly! Now you are starting to get it. The wording is extremely vague. Rules need to be applied literally. There should be no guessing to what is their intent.

            Read the description of the practice start location at Spa. Which is very explicit.

            Although Leclerc did not get any penalty for doing his practice start outside of that very precisely described box. Even while they investigated that incident.

            So yeah. Incompetency is not uncommon for the stewards

          8. @f1osaurus

            There is no single literal meaning. There are two interpretations that are both semantically valid, but that doesn’t mean that one can’t be more reasonable than the other.

          9. @aapje Don’t be ridiculous. Rules should be applied literally. There is no “reasonable” in applying rules.

          10. @f1osaurus

            You keep pretending that a sentence that can be interpreted in two ways, has to be interpreted in a way that benefits Mercedes/Hamilton, because that is the literal meaning.

            It is not. It is an ambiguous sentence. I’ll stop arguing with you now.

          11. @aapje You keep pretending that rules can be arbitrarily interpreted by stewards rather than used a face value.

            If a rule or law is ambiguous then both interpretations are valid. That’s how loopholes work!

            So yes, please stop arguing and act like a sane person.

    6. Just accept the fact he is the greatest formula 1 driver who ever lived.

      Don’t make me laugh.
      A driver who was beaten by Rosberg in 2016 (mostly by failing to start properly) and who was trashed by Button in 2011 is the GOAT? that’s ridiculous. Rosberg and Button were pretty good drivers (and somewhat lucky in their WDC’s I’d say) but nobody thinks of them as GOAT candidates.
      How about Jim Clark who in 1963 and 1965 got 100% of the available points (54/54)? your worshipped hero is very far from that.
      How about El Chueco with his 47% wins, 57% poles and 17.57 points/start (with the present point system)? your worshipped hero is parsecs from that.
      So it goes

    7. I disagree.
      Hamilton performance during the race was very bad. Lewis has some off weekends, this was one. He should have easily caught up to Verstappen I think. When he has some setbacks, he sometimes doesn’t push a fully 100% any more.
      I know this is an English site, with English fans, but saying Hamilton should be DOTW, I can’t understand..

      I would vote for Perez as driver of the weekend, and he’s certainly not the driver I like most. Though I do think you are correct about a percentage of people voting for the driver they like most. As it seems, same goes for you :-)

    8. Beaten by Rosberg and Button? As much as I like both of them greatly, neither are greats of F1. Hamilton lost the champ on his dreadful starts as well as his reliability in ’16, and in ’11, he was mistake ridden, much like Max in 18. Great driver, best of era maybe, but no way best of all time. Clark, Fangio, Stewart, Hamilton, Prost. They are my top 5.

  5. Sainz seems to be practicing taking Sebs role next year

    1. Value and roadrunner please please please check your facts before you write on here. Firstly, BALUE If you watch the Russian grand prix QUALIFYING HIGHLIGHTS again you will clearly see that Hamilton did not mess up his ultimate aqualifying lap, and it was Vettel whose crash brought out the red lap when Hamilton was on a fast lap at the time. Secondly to ROADRUNNER, when lewis got a 10 second penalty he did definitely come out in 11th place and made his way up to an excellent podium 3rd place.When Hamilton got up to 3rd his tyres were too worn to make up a 10 second to gap to Mad Max in 2rd place with about 11 laps to go. So Hamilton wisely decided to save his tyres and engine for another day as there was no way on hard tyres that he was going to catch catch Mad Max, who was 10 seconds up the road with 11 laps to go. No way. Looking at all the facts Hamilton is easily the driver of the day and weekend, followed by Perez and Leclerc. Mad Max did not pass one single car in the whole race, and only qualified ahead of Bottas in qualifying because he got a huge tow off Bottas. so how on earth could Mad Max be voted driver of the whole weekend. It’s so wrong.

      1. Losing a ton of places through an early pit stop and then regaining most of them when others pit, is not a recovery drive no matter how often you repeat it.

  6. Sainz should have got a penalty for unsafe driving. He is off the track, skidding all over the place, lots of other cars around him and he is giving it full beans to get back onto the track (just listen to the onboard footage).
    Really irresponsible in my opinion.

    1. @pmccarthy_is_a_legend Verstappen was even worse. He simply cut that whole corner and floored it over the runoff area. In doing so he gained time.

      1. Max already knew that so he setup (angle) his car so he lost only 1 spot to Daniel which he overtake the next corner. Sainz just saw Max driving and thought i can do that also (but not from that Angle) and crashed endangering the rest of the field.
        Also a good reason to change that corner so you can’t get advantage and without crashing.

      2. Potentially dangerous, but he didn’t crash…
        Attempted murder or murder… for which one will you get a higher sentence…
        ..so, don’t think it was worse, as you state

        1. @johnever Well he’s flooring it over a runoff area. That’s dangerous driving by default.

          In doing so he went so fast that he couldn’t even keep his line when rejoining the track and flew out of control across the track to the opposite side. He could easily have taken out Ricciardo or Occon there.

          Besides, Verstappen didn’t even try to make the corner. He knew he had lost the position to Ricciardo. So instead of making turn 2 properly, Verstappen simply cuts the corner so he can take the place back from Ricciardo. He clearly gains an advantage. He gives it back initially, but ultimately that;s how he overtakes Ricciardo. That’s a very dangerous and unsportsmanlike way of driving.

          Just as say … overtaking an Alpha Tauri in the pitlane. Going off the fastlane to do so

          1. 1. you stated ‘was even worse’… I responded to that, I think it was not worse.
            2. He could’ve taken out… that’s an assumption, and it didn’t happen
            3. here I partly agree with you. Verstappen did that more than once, cutting the corner and therefore minimizes his loss. I don’t like such opportunities being taken, but I dislike even more that these opportunities are there, meaning the tarmac runoffs… it should simple be costing much more time being off track, like gravel.
            Verstappen, losing little time by cutting the corner, gives himself the opportunity to overtake Ricciardo 2 corners later, but that’s also part of how Ricciardo comes out of turn 4, being overtaken in 5.

            If you call that unsportsmanlike… I see little difference with Hamilton in Spa cutting the corner in 2008, letting Raikkonen pass and gaining a momentum advantage to be able to overtake on the same straight. Hamilton had a bigger advantage than Verstappen, Verstappen actually needed two more corners.
            I wonder, you supporting Hamilton, if you agree with that.

            3. don’t know about the pitlane incident you are talking about..?

          2. @johnever
            1) Yes it was since he gained an advantage by cutting the corner.
            2) Due to the angle of the reentry and the speed carried, he swerved across the track out of control. So yes a definite danger. When you run a red light it’s not OK even when you claim “but I didnt hit anything!”
            3) Verstappen overtook Kvyat in the pitlane. Going off the fastlane at speed to do so.

      3. Even when avoiding a crash you find something to stain max ;)
        Poor man, you will have a lot of very bad years to come

        1. Avoiding a crash? Wow, the mental gymnastics required for something like that. Just. Staggering.

    2. I’m a Sainz/McLaren fan and that behaviour deserved a more lasting penalty as the standard of driving was that bad. Shame the rules do not allow for a grid drop at the next race for such silly and dangerous mistakes.

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