Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2021

Hamilton takes dramatic Russian GP victory as Norris loses win in downpour

2021 Russian Grand Prix summary

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Lewis Hamilton has scored the 100th victory of his Formula 1 career in memorable fashion when a downpour hit the Sochi Autodrom in the dying laps of the Russian Grand Prix.

A late change to intermediate tyres as conditions deteriorated in the dying laps took Hamilton into the lead. He was running second behind Lando Norris when the rain hit: The McLaren driver’s decision to stick with slick tyres cost him dearly when the conditions suddenly worsened. Norris spun off as Hamilton passed him, and fell to seventh place at the finish.

Carlos Sainz Jnr took the lead from pole winner Norris at the start of the race and stayed ahead for the first 12 laps. Norris passed him for the lead on track, following which Sainz pitted.

McLaren left Norris out much longer. In the meantime Daniel Ricciardo pitted but suffered a very slow stop, promoting Hamilton into second place. The Mercedes driver pitted before the race leader, but once Norris and the rest had made their stops the pair returned to the front of the field.

Hamilton cut into Norris’ lead, reducing it to one-and-a-half seconds with 10 laps to go. He was stalking his rival when the rain hit.

At one stage in the race Hamilton appeared under threat from championship rival Max Verstappen. Starting on hard tyres while most opted for mediums, Verstappen worked his way forward quickly, putting a vital pass on Valtteri Bottas for 14th place on lap six. He dropped back in his second stint in mediums, but timed his switch to intermediates well to finish a remarkable second, 53 seconds behind the Mercedes.

Sainz salvaged third place after being among the first to switch to intermediate tyres. The late downpour shook up the finishing order and lifted Valtteri Bottas, who spent much of the race in 14th, to fifth behind Ricciardo.

Fernando Alonso briefly rose to third after staying out on slicks, but also had to dive for the pits, falling to sixth ahead of Norris.

Kimi Raikkonen, Sergio Perez and George Russell completed the points scorers.

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2021 Russian Grand Prix reaction

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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181 comments on “Hamilton takes dramatic Russian GP victory as Norris loses win in downpour”

  1. Everyone on this site probably knows im not a Hamilton fan but this is where 15 years of experience counts! Super performance by Hamilton. Cool calm and calculated. One of his finest for sure up with Germany 2018

    1. @fish123 Yes, of course… you’re a big deal and we all follow your views.
      But really, I don’t see what’s so spectacular… team told him to do it and he did it. Mercedes is a very hard car to drive behind others and Mclaren very fast. This negated any car advantage Merc may have in clear air. Factor in poor first lap and I don’t really see it being a great weekend from Ham, or even a race.

      1. Agreed. Hamilton spent almost the entire race stuck behind one or the other Mclaren not really getting anywhere, and then when it rained he questioned the call to pit.

        1. The thing is Lewis had nothing to lose by pitting. He was stuck behind Lando and wasn’t going to lose a place by doing so. As soon as Lewis pitted it was fane over

          1. Yeah, exactly.
            You can’t lose anything except a chance when you are in 2nd place and have a 40 second gap over 3rd place.

        2. Hamilton spent almost the entire race stuck behind one or the other Mclaren

          As did Verstappen, albeit he only encountered one car from Woking. He eventually passed, but it took him more time than for any other car. I think it shows how the McLarens are difficult to pass.

          1. After he passed almost the entire field and at one stage was seconds behind Hamilton.
            Not comparable al all.
            In the end verstappen passed 18 cars on merit and Lewis one with luck. M

          2. Erikje, I agree hamilton did nothing spectacular this race, but I think saying verstappen passed 18 cars on merit and hamilton 1 through luck is overkill, verstappen also passed some people only through the wet tyre switch (and let’s say both are good in the wet, as is norris and a few others), I think verstappen drove the better race on the dry but I also expected more from him (like 4th place given the circumstances) on a fully dry race, but he complained tyres were done and settled for 7th before rain came.

          3. Erikje After being stuck behind Ricciardo, Verstappen was passed by Alonso in an Alpine… Did you enjoy that move?

        3. Dave (@davewillisporter)
          27th September 2021, 8:19

          Max has also been stuck behind a McLaren at Monza. It’s a very difficult car to pass as most overtakes happen at the end of straights and the McLaren is a very fast car in a straight line, lacking the equivalent downforce and drag of either of the top teams and having the same power.
          F1 is a complicated game and can’t be boiled down to just a single factor.
          Max had a rear wing suitable for Spa. Bottas would have had to start from the pitlane if he changed to the same spec, as would Lewis. Lewis did have a bad start but after that he was at the mercy of what happened in front hence his position. He did Alonso pretty quickly and if he was behind Stroll he would have sailed past. Instead he got stuck behind a very fast car in a straight line in a DRS train meanwhile Max with a drag advantage over the whole field sailed past car after car and looked great. He still stalled out in 7th behind the other Redbull!
          I’m not actually defending Lewis here. I think by his standard this season is not his best, particularly his starts but Merc have only had one front row lockout so can’t compare both cars. I do think that Merc is hard to get max performance out of this year hence the growing chasm between Lewis and Bottas.
          Absent of the rain likely Lewis would have finished 2nd and Max 6th after a team order to swap places. That’s a place down from where both aimed to finish. Not that different!
          If I were Merc though, I would have started Bottas from the pitlane with all fresh elements and a wing like Max had. He would have finished 14th without the rain. That was a bad strategy.

      2. Not a great weekend for Ham and he still finishes first, listen to yourself lol.

        1. You can win despite driving a bad race. I think hamilton’s weekend was bad except after he pitted the first time in the race.

          1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            27th September 2021, 8:41

            @esploratore1 Again, nuance matters. It was a great weekend for Hamilton until Q3 where the team decided to stay out on inters for another lap. All the other teams committed to slicks earlier except Perez Gasly and the Mercs. All 4 suffered because of that. Lewis didn’t improve his time on that lap which introduced the time pressure that caused him to attack the pitlane to get on slicks in time to warm them up. Their decision caused his reaction which led to the mistake.
            I have experience in accident investigation and it is rare for the mistake that caused the accident to be the sole cause. That was my job, to determine those contributing factors and help protect the guy in the firing line if other factors were at play.
            Lewis was on for pole and the team were adverse to pulling the trigger on slicks. They are still adjusting to being in a tight fight and are still making conservative decisions like they have a performance margin. They don’t!
            Car setup is another factor in the performance. This Merc is edgier and more difficult to drive due to less rear downforce. Lewis built his career driving loose rear cars and like Max can cope with it. Bottas can’t and goes for a more understeer setup, which when he follows cars exacerbates the understeer. The growing gap between Lewis and Bottas is for that reason. It’s the same reason Max is killing team mates. They can drive difficult cars.
            Lewis making a pitstop as late as he did having followed a car as closely as he did for as many laps as he did showed excellent tyre management. That first stint was actually very good after lap one.
            As for Lewis’s starts, well he hasn’t suddenly forgotten how to and I haven’t seen Bottas make any places at starts either so maybe it’s a control issue. Who knows. And that’s the point. We can’t assume. We haven’t got the data.
            Fact is absent of rain, Lewis would have finished 2nd and Max after a team order to move Perez out of the way would have finished 6th. That’s a one place drop for both drivers over where they expected to be.

          2. @davewillisporter Great analysis and I agree to your points. One missed point in Lewis’s Q3 pitlane accident is that he had to use more steering input at that point as he was also turning into the first pitbox. That I think is the primary reason for the accident. I can never understand why modern tracks are built with hazards when the design aim should be to produce the safest and shortest pitlane time.

    2. @fish123 Why? He had a poor start and dropped to 6th and couldn’t pass a McLaren for 20+ laps. Then people in front foolishly go for a 2 stop and he is promoted to 2nd. Then it rains and the team had the better call and he inherits the win without passing a single car. It was the better car and good luck. The only thing he did was keep the tyres alive, but nothing special as so did the likes of Norris, who even made a pass.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        26th September 2021, 16:15

        I think Hamilton did pretty well though. He was stuck behind the McLaren but he kept his tyres alive which allowed him to drive away from Perez when in clean air. He then closed in on Norris which meant he was in the right place at the right time when his team called him in. It wasn’t his best performance but it was at least a 6 or 7 out of 10 and that was enough. Keeping his tyres alive whilst in traffic allowed him to be in the position to get lucky whereas many others couldn’t manage that today.

        1. @petebaldwin Again lucky as the pace of the Russel train and even the leaders were nothing really to worry about and then saving tyres did not require much with the pace advantage of the Mercedes.

          Many say this was fitting 100th win for Hamilton and I agree as it was mostly down to car, team and luck.

          1. @Balue totally unfair comment. He could easily have made his bad start worse, but kept out of trouble. Then did a good job of managing his tyres, he did what he needed to do to be in the hunt for the win, the only overtake he needed to do was on Norris. Knowing this and executing it in the manner that he did requires skill. The only driver with any luck today was most definitely Verstappen but again that was well deserved as well who also put in a fantastic performance.

          2. @icarby Exactly. You’re just proving my point. He could take it easy and perform under par in the knowledge that the car and team would take him up there, and that’s exactly what happened.

          3. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            27th September 2021, 8:54

            @balue I think your looking at the race with one eye and disregarding what the other one sees!
            Without the rain in Q3 Hamilton would have started on pole or 2nd. He would likely have lead most of the race and won an easy victory. That was UNLUCKY!
            It was a team call to stay on inters too long in Q3 and throw away pole.
            It was the same call to stay out that forced Lewis to rush the pit entry to get on slicks when it became obvious that staying on inters was the wrong move.
            It was a team call to run a downforce level that didn’t allow either Merc to pass easily.
            It was also a team call that forced Lewis into the pits for inters at the end of the race, when Lewis didn’t want to pit.
            It was LUCK that the rain came and Lando decided to stay out on slicks. He would have won if either it didn’t rain or he pitted a lap earlier for inters.
            If you could pick any race this season where you absolutely cannot ignore all the factors it is this one!
            Use both eyes. You’ll see the whole picture!

          4. God bless you Balue. A true beacon neutrality and not a sign of bitterness. At what point does luck become skill? Because according to you Lewis only ever does well through luck. That’s 100 times lucky! That’s God like lucky. It’s been a miserable 7 years for you, so I understand your bitterness. Chin up though Balue. Lewus will retire soon

          5. @davewillisporter No you’re guilty of what you accuse others of. Hamilton could well have gotten pole (thanks to a good car with good downforce level) in the wet but crashed and spun. That was nothing to do with luck. It was poor driving. Everyone was rushing in just like him. Hamilton misjudged the grip in the wet and crashed, just like in Imola. And just like in Imola, he recovered his mistake through luck and having a good car.

          6. @deanr Your obsession with me is plain embarrassing now, and so is thinking personal attack is a good debating strategy and doesn’t show your age.

          7. My, you are a delicate fellow arent you. Whats your “obsession” with “personal attacks”? Seems anyone they pulls you up on your nonsense is “attacking” you! If you class anything I’ve said as any sort of attack, then you have lived a very privileged, sheltered life dear boy. Ta ta for now

          8. @deanr It’s not the personal attack that you mind, it’s people reaction to it? I’m not surprised that’s how things work in your world.

            What surprises me is how uniform all you Hamilton fans are in going after the person and not the topic as is the normal thing to do. There’s clearly something about Hamilton that attracts this type and that’s very revealing.

          9. You’ve never considered the problem might be you?
            Regardless, I love our interactions Balue. You are a big part of my life now and I couldn’t be without you. God bless

          10. Let me remind DeanR:

            Your obsession with me is plain embarrassing now

        2. Agree a 7\10 could be ok for hamilton.

      2. ‘inherits the win without passing a single car’


        1. Suppose he passed alonso early in the race, but really, not a great race for him.

        2. Ok if you count the first lap

  2. Such a shame for Lando. But eventually himself to blame, denying team orders to pit.

    Top struggler: Bottas. Starting ahead of Lec and Ver. Driving miles behind them in 14th position with 5 laps to go. Not due to bad luck , but his signature mediocre racecraft. Had the dominant car but was taken off guard by Max and Lec. And got stuck behind Gasly. Bottas seems to be comfortable only on an empty track. Or with superior straight line speed for safe passes on the straight (monza).

    1. I disagree the MERC is now the dominant car – but 99% of your posts are anti HAM / MERC, so I understand your objective… Great race, BOT clearly struggled with the MERC following other cars – it looks difficult to extract performance while following.

      1. Merc IS the dominant car on this circuit.

        Did you notice Bottas ‘defence’ when Lec came out of the pits. If not, you will enjoy the replay. He clumsily went straight in turn 1 , missing his braking point.

        Great team mate to have for 5 years.
        Let’s see if he can at least give an avg rookie (Zhou) some beating.

        1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
          27th September 2021, 9:08

          @trib4udi I think you are confusing two things. Sportsmanship and team competition.

          In F1 sportsmanship is what the drivers do on track. How they drive and how they treat other drivers. I don’t think anyone can accuse either Merc driver of deliberate unsporting behaviour, and note the word DELIBERATE lest Silverstone or Hungary is mentioned again!

          Team competition is how teams compete. In the factory developing cars, in race weekends with strategy and in meetings lobbying for an advantage in the regulations to suit themselves. It’s all the same thing. It literally is F1!

          I can recommend a book. Ross Brawn “Total Competition”

          It IS the sport! It’s the way it’s always been. Sportsmanship is between drivers. With the teams, there is a reason its called the Piranha club. And they all do it!

          1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            27th September 2021, 9:11

            @trib4udi apologies, wrong person for the sportsmanship reply!

          2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            27th September 2021, 9:12

            @esploratore1 I think you are confusing two things. Sportsmanship and team competition.

            In F1 sportsmanship is what the drivers do on track. How they drive and how they treat other drivers. I don’t think anyone can accuse either Merc driver of deliberate unsporting behaviour, and note the word DELIBERATE lest Silverstone or Hungary is mentioned again!

            Team competition is how teams compete. In the factory developing cars, in race weekends with strategy and in meetings lobbying for an advantage in the regulations to suit themselves. It’s all the same thing. It literally is F1!

            I can recommend a book. Ross Brawn “Total Competition”

            It IS the sport! It’s the way it’s always been. Sportsmanship is between drivers. With the teams, there is a reason its called the Piranha club. And they all do it!

        2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
          27th September 2021, 9:10

          He will absolutely annihilate Zhou! I’d have picked Piastri if I were Alfa.

      2. And I am not anti-Lewis.
        He is a legend. Well done to him for getting the century!

        1. @trib4udi

          The Lewisfans are clearly feeling very upset this season, so don’t take them too seriously.

          1. It’s good to see the Max fans have calmed down after this morning’s melt down…

          2. Plossl, whoever you root for except mercedes, mercedes are being very unsportsmanlike and have been for years.

      3. I think Redbull have the superior areodynamics, or at least Max makes it seem that way.

        Max is able to drive that car with less down force, less rear wing, which is what’s giving them that strightline speed advantage. I wonder if Mercedes could have tried Bottas wiith less rear wing to match that stright line speed, an relie for turning on better breaking, which the Redbull also seems to have.

      4. petebaldwin (@)
        26th September 2021, 16:20

        @theswift – Whether it’s “the” dominant car is irrelevant – it’s dominant against everything other than the Red Bull.

        Bottas was bad today because Mercedes screwed him with the engine change to hold up Verstappen. Bottas got caught napping and from there, he had no motivation to fight.

        Telling him “we need tbe points for the team” is a bit meaningless when you’ve sacrificed points to help Lewis win the drivers title.

        1. This is how I saw it as well. Why would you risk everything for a team that keeps sacrificing you, you’d be an idiot to do so. Valterri might say he’s still got a team job to do but reality says he’s doing otherwise

        2. Mmmm, I’m not sure, norris is driving that mclaren constantly so fast that sure, it lacks a bit compared to merc and red bull, but it the season started the previous race, I’m not even sure mclaren would be in a different tier than the top 2.

    2. If it was not rain.. the surely BOT will be bottom 5 not the top 5, team told him

      1. Yeah Bottas made something like 9 placed in the rain, otherwise looked set to finish 14th trapped in that natorious Sochi DRS train.

    3. @trib4udi Bottas can sometimes be bad, but around this track he is good and proved it this weekend. I believe he threw the race on purpose when he was sacrificed after qualifying. He let Verstappen go without a real fight and didn’t bother the rest of the race either. Serves Mercedes right.

      1. I believe he threw the race on purpose

        Which – if true, and we are far from that point – is a very idiotic thing to do. F1 teams look at your past to decide if they hire you or not. Refusing to obey to team orders of throwing a race to the bin because you feel upset is setting a very bad precedent: no one wants to hire that kind of drivers.
        Just look at F3 or F2 drivers who put their own interest before their team’s: they are nowhere near an F1 seat.

        1. Refusing to obey to team orders or throwing a race to the bin because you feel upset is setting a very bad precedent: no one wants to hire that kind of drivers.

          1. Disagree, look at vettel, he drove terribly for ferrari in 2020, maybe some of it on purpose, yet AM still hired him and he’s putting more effort in.

          2. @esploratore1

            maybe some of it on purpose

            So, this is speculation.

        2. @x303 All that you’re saying are totally mute points. Bottas already has a brand shiny new contract to drive for someone else for the next two years, he’s already been hired.

          What is Merc going to do to him, fire him? They don’t really have any recourse.

          Bottas may have decided to be his own person and ride out the rest of the season the way he wants to drive and then he’s outta of there. I don’t think it’s the right doing to do as a team player but then we don’t know what has been going on behind closed doors at Merc.

          1. @redpill Anyone can be fired anytime in F1. Contracts can be undone with the right amount of money. Who can replace Bottas? Simple: George Russel.
            I don’t think Bottas is willingly under performing, he just can’t do better because he’s not in the right state of mind.

          2. “Anyone can be fired anytime in F1. Contracts can be undone with the right amount of money. Who can replace Bottas? Simple: George Russel.”

            @x303 Neither will happen at this point in the season nor remotely realistic unless something very drastic happens (which hasn’t) and there’s a team called Williams that will fight to the grave before giving up Russell in the middle of their best season, even though their WCC position in 8th is safely secured. It just wont happen under present circumstances.
            Merc is way too immersed in the WCC fight with RB to replace Bottas and will of course first try to get Bottas to do more for the team winning both the WCC & WDC.
            Merc team needs more driving from Bottas like what Alonso did at Vandoort for Ocon and still finish 5th.

        3. @x303 Like @redpill says, he already has a 3-year contract to see him through to the end of his F1 career. You should know that. Remember Bottas’ “to whom it may concern” radio messages before? He clearly has a lot of pent up anger, and you can be sure all the humiliation at Mercedes has been feeding it for years. He almost quit after being told to bend over in Sochi 2018, and when he was just used as a boy here again now, it was sort of payback time I bet.

          1. @balue I’m well aware of Bottas contract with Alfa Romeo (technically Sauber, by the way).
            To sum up my point in one sentence: no driver is irreplaceable in F1. Mercedes can fire Bottas and find someone else. Alfa Romeo can tear up the contract and find someone else.
            You can add that Toto Wolff is managing Bottas’ career.
            Bottas spent four and a half years in the team and probably don’t want to stab all the people that worked for him all those years.

            F1 is a team sport, having a team player is very important. See what happened during Alonso’s career.

      2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        27th September 2021, 9:19

        @balue Jeez! I come here for respite from the tin foil hat crazies! Bottas threw the race? Give me a break!!!
        He came over team radio around about the time of his first stop and asked if he was still on for P5! After the race he said he didn’t see Max coming up his inside and he had bad understeer following other cars and couldn’t get past. His wing was huge compared to Max. Remember Monza where he got a frsh PU and finished on the podium? That had an issue and can’t be used until inspected so it was either a fresh PU or run an old one from P7 and get passed by Max.
        Why would he tell the team in Monza, I’m gonna make the podium and did, then next race decide to throw it. What good does that do him?

        1. @davewillisporter Bless.. Is that how you indignantly reacted when people talked of Bennetton fixing the race Singapore 2004? Schumacher deliberately parking his car Monaco to spoil qualifying 2006? McLaren spying? Well you were wrong on all of them. Or how about yourself donning the tin foil hat for Rosberg Monaco 2014 qualifying which I’m sure is a conspiracy you will readily promote? Or are you the type that will deny that drivers have disagreed to and even outright disobeyed team orders? Which is it?

  3. What a race. Hotstar lost reception just as Norris went off. Haven’t sweared so loud in quite a while. Couldn’t realize what happened across the grid. :(

    Hope f1 puts the last 5 laps on youtube and also does a full feature on those

    1. Yeah Hotstar sucks man

  4. So gutted for Norris, he wanted it so badly that he misjudged it, its ok you’ll learn mate. I hope McLaren can give him a championship winning car, he deserves it, so does Daniel, Charles and Carlos. Didn’t mention George cause he will be getting it next year. Great drive from Max, Lewis, Perez.

  5. And DOTD is Kimi Räikkönen. P7 with 2nd slowest car on the grid. Wow what an amazing return from the champion!

    1. Ahaha, that’s no surprise that DOTD is raikkonen since you made the comment, raikkonen probably has 300-races in a row as driver of the day for you!

      But I agree he had a good race, even in the dry and good to see him with some points before retiring.

  6. This hurts me as a McLaren fan, and even more after seeing Lando after the race. I’m glad they went for a victory because the only chance for them to win at the end was to stop a lap earlier than Hamilton, considering also that Hamilton wouldn’t follow in the same lap. There was no chance for McLaren to match Hamilton’s pace on the intermediates, I’m afraid. All in all, great effort and also a valuable lesson for Lando and his future (and surely fruitious) career.

    1. In the dry Hamilton was catching Norris and would surly have passed to win.

      In the wet it was a no brainer with more rain closing in, and other drivers pitting,
      Norris had the window to pit and be certain of 2nd, he chose to ignore team orders for the glory of that first win.

      1. In the dry Hamilton was catching Norris and would surly have passed to win.

        He did not succeed for 45 Las with by far the fastest car.
        His century received by luck.

        1. Exactly. Lewis was stuck behind Lando for quite a few laps and it was very difficult to pass as Lewis even said himself. There were only 4 laps left when he pitted. Lewis was lucky again today but so we’re quite a few others.

          1. Sikhumbuzo Khumalo
            26th September 2021, 19:14

            Not lucky he worked for his luck.

          2. Lewis was also stuck behind Dan and only got passed Dan because of Mclaren’s slow pitstop.

            Basically, the mclarens were faster than the mercs in dry conditions (again), I don’t think the f1 fanclub are fully appreciating the significance of this.

        2. He did not succeed for 45 Las with by far the fastest car.

          Show some respect to that McLaren.
          As Verstappen himself noted: the Williams is not as bad as people usually think. Same goes for the McLaren: it is faster that people generally think. It was on par with the RB at Monza – Verstappen wasn’t able to get close to Ricciardo until his stop. Here, it was leading and the Mercedes couldn’t pass. It is the third fastest car on grid, the one that can upset the RedBull and Mercedes on pace.

        3. @erikje, you really are predictable. VER getting 2nd, now that was LUCK.

          100 wins, GOAT.

          1. Passing 18 cars on track is luck.
            Passing one car that soinned is Lewis brilliance :)
            Lots of jokers here…

          2. Ahahah, goat because he has 100 wins? How can you say hamilton is better than fangio example? Or schumacher better than fangio or clark? They have higher strike rate after all but drove a lot less races!

          3. Furthermore, schumacher would’ve hit 100 wins without issues had he continued in 2007 and 2008, which was imo reasonable given how fast he was in 2006.

        4. Being unable to even offer a congratulations on becoming the first driver to win 100 races says more about you than Hamilton.

          Verstappen was lucky to finish P2, without the rain he was only finishing P7. Despite only being two second behind Hamilton at one point, he finish nearly a minute down.

      2. In the dry Hamilton was catching Norris and would surly have passed to win

        No there were only about two tenths between them and Norris had good top speed.

        1. Hamilton with DRS and 5 laps in dry conditions would have had him. He would have had to time his energy recover to just the right moment. Even then he had the advantage of seeing when Norris was recharing his battery.

          1. If you had watched the race, you would have seen Hamilton couldn’t get past the sister car for more than 20 laps, and 0.2 s is just not enough to get past here. Norris was also faster in the important last sector. You could even add that Hamilton would not risk anything and Norris would fighting for his 1st win.

          2. Agree with balue and the others, never count hamilton out, but seemed different to leclerc in silverstone, norris was almost matching hamilton’s pace.

  7. This was an instant classic. Congrats to Lewis, what a way to take the 100th win. Very nice recovery from a poor weekend and a slow start to the race.

    So disappointed for Lando, really deserved this one. His time will come sure enough. Max will be very happy with the result, he deserved a lucky break for a change.

  8. The direction was terrible today, monaco-tier.

    1. What really irks me is the endless start replays when the tight first laps are happening..

    2. Seriously they missed every major pass and pit stop to show Schumacher walking around his garage or Russell fighting for 8th against whoever.

    3. Absolutely, a disaster, at some point they broadcasted sainz and norris at the front and lost a verstappen overtake, then they went back and missed norris’ overtake, or viceversa.

    4. Direction was awesome. Closeup of a shoe shaking was thrilling tv. Who wants to see overtakes when tuning in to a race?

  9. Ill reserve judgement until I hear the team radios, but I would hope McLaren were pretty insistent. Looking at how the last laps played out, both Ham and Lando did the right thing by refusing to come in on the first call to pit.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      26th September 2021, 16:25

      From what Ive heard, McLaren were asking Lando questions – can you keep going, is it ready for inters etc. Mercedes told Hamilton to pit and after that, he asked why and was told “more rain.”

      It seems like Mercedes called the shots and was calm and in control. McLaren didn’t take control and were hoping for a decision from Lando.

  10. Hamilton played the percentages, as he’s done throughout his career.

    That final decision with 4 laps to go was Hamilton looking at the bigger picture,
    seeing the championship and not just this race.

    I’d like to hear those radio messages to Norris and Hamilton, that might have been the real deciding factor.
    How well did their engineers make their cases to their respective drivers to pit?

    1. There’s zero chance the drivers would have any idea what was coming, so for McLaren to leave it up or even ask Norris was just poor. It was as if they didn’t have weather radar.

      1. agreed.. 5 or 6 laps to go and Norris was already go off track to control his turns in the wetter areas. it was only going to get worst.

        They had the window for 2nd, but Norris could only see that potential win.

    2. As I said above, the difference being if Lewis pitted and it was the wrong call he would still be in 2nd. If Norris pitted and it was the wrong call he would lose 1st

      1. but did norris not see his car sliding before hamilton even pitted. norris wanted a win at all costs as he could see the finish line with 3 laps to go but in the end it cost him dearly.

      2. That’s the way I see it Alex. Some people forget Lando is only 21. Neither he nor most of his team are have experienced being at the pointy end until this year

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      26th September 2021, 16:29

      Hamilton didn’t decide to pit – he was told to. They made the right call. Toto said their guy who reads the radar told them “heavier rain coming” so they told him to pit. It seems McLaren either didn’t read the radar right or perhaps didn’t have someone focussed on it and left it up to Lando do make the decision. When he decided to stay out, it still wasn’t that wet – it was the incoming rain that he didn’t know about that screwed him and the team should have spotted that and made the decision.

  11. Paul Di Resta, one word: Abysmal.

    My wife walked off during the first stint. The constant attack on Mercedes and Lewis strategy was extremely hard to listen to. Had to mute the tv.

    1. @lums He didn’t praise Hamilton and must now be attacked. How typical isn’t that.

      1. Lewis is God.
        His fans are discipels.

        1. Enjoy your Sunday guys haha

          1. We did. Lewis gained just a few points on a track he always should have won.
            Only his mistakesunder pressure caused some excitement.
            But max did great and passed 18 cars. Lewis 1 (one).
            (only because the other driver sinned).

          2. ‘Lewis 1 (one).
            (only because the other driver sinned).’


    2. In my opinion, Di Resta is one of the best commentators on Sky. He is second to only Brundle.

      He is clear and concise, doesn’t mince his words and calls it as he sees it.

      1. @jaymenon10 Agreed. Maybe even better as he will do details and Brundle generalities, although he does some blunders sometimes. (like the Bottas contract comment now for example)

        1. Why was Di Resta sound so down after the Merc/Lewis win. Please listen to him at the end of the race, you could swear he’s just been dumped.

          1. ‘Sounding down’ Are you serious? That means what? He’s hates Hamilton? To be jumped on? Don’t you ever give it a rest?

    3. I actually thought PDR was decent, I didn’t miss Brundle at all.

      On the other hand, somebody at F1 please stop asking Damon Hill to do the podium interviews. He’s so erratic that I had to switch it off when he started asking Max a question that didn’t have an end in sight.

      1. @gechichan Hill will always be looking to score a point for the team, but Herbert is worse. Davide Valsecchi is on another scale though.

    4. @lums To be fair Karun was saying the same thing, and I didn’t understand either of them. Why would Hamilton want to pit in sequence with the cars that he was unable to overtake on equal tyres throughout the first stint? Better to give up position to Stroll and even other cars and come back at them later in the race, which is what happened. He obviously needed a tyre advantage to make any strategy work and undercutting would probably have only gained him one or two positions, rather than the chance to overtake all of the slower cars later in the race.

      1. but how could they not see this, merc were never going to pit lewis so early, they will always play the tyre advantage in the 2nd stint.

        1. @lucifer The assumption was the because of such a green track, one stop would be virtually impossible. But I agree they should have known that with Mercedes superior pace compared to the cars around them, they could overcut as well as undercut.

  12. Max lucky boy. He was lackluster today till the rain hit and got lucky. Leclerc was coming to get him for P7 untill the chaos. Lando sometimes get too excited and should have listened to his team to pit.
    Well done champ for the 100th.

    1. So the shear luck by Lewis to pass Lando only because of the team choice for inters is a lucky boy when it’s max 😜

      1. Lewis fans rarely see the double standards in their views. Max was lucky today and so was Lewis.

        1. Max fan here, agree Max was lucky today, even Max implied that, Lewis was lucky too, he wanted to stay out but his team insisted to come in, same could not have been said with McLaren. I’d still put the blame on Lando but his team could have been bit more “vocal”.

      2. There’s nothing lucky about being on the right tyres for the conditions. Racing 101.

        Verstappen was lucky – without the rain he was P7 at best and was complaining about his tyres the whole race. He could only make a set of hards last as long as Hamilton did a set of mediums. He was just two seconds behind Hamilton at one point but finish nearly a minute down. Lucky indeed.

    2. I know it hurts to see that Max outdrove everyone.. and yes the McLaren was impossible to pass for Max because of the straight-line advantage they have but in the end he was perfect. And Lewis was good but nothing extra ordinary really.

    3. We must have been watching different races. Verstappen was mighty today. The way he scythed in to the top 10 after like 15 laps was very impressive; he was especially calculating in dispatching Bottas. His only fault was being boxed in behind Alonso on ageing tyres, which I think was more a strategic error than any failure on his part. Yes, he got lucky with the rain, but so did Hamilton.

  13. Hamilton lucked in again, but then so did Verstappen

    1. Bottas also lucked in with wheather also saving him from total ignaminy….

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        26th September 2021, 19:06

        I’ve defended Bottas before but, boy, did he look bad today.

        1. Yes, bottas was as bad here as he was in baku if we had to rate the weekend. Even quali was terrible for the tools he had in both cases.

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      26th September 2021, 19:04

      @balue it wasn’t luck – that was a very tough call to make. He’d been chasing for 20 laps.

    3. the luckiest of them all was Bottas. He salvaged a 5th pace which is only decent in that car and on a great Merc track, but otherwise he would have finished 14th, just 2 placed higher than he started.

      1. Let me see, verstappen gained 12 points through rain, hamilton 7, bottas 10. Points wise has to be verstappen, but race result wise surely bottas.

    4. @balue Being on the right tyre for the conditions is lucky?

      1. @scbriml It was since it was obviously not clear what the right tyre was. In Mercedes case, they’ve already admitted that being behind the leader with nothing to lose, they could gamble for the inters early and got lucky the rain started to pour. Same for Verstappen really. But Hamilton also lucked out that his early opponents dropped out with wrong strategy calls or bad pit stops. Watch the race when you get the time.

        1. @balue It wasn’t luck that Hamilton was in a position that made the correct call easy. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  14. The winner of the day is Toto Wolff. He predicted a win for Lewis. That happened. He wanted Bottas to pass the cars ahead and team wanted a top 5 and that happened too.

    1. his crystal ball was spot on

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      26th September 2021, 19:08

      @pinakghosh Yeah, it goes a long way to hear your Team Principal have that sort of belief in you.

    3. True, that was surprising, his prediction for hamilton was almost spot on (in any case he was battling for the win on the dry even if likely to come 2nd), bottas prediction was so bad, then got lucky with rain.

  15. What’s the penalty for crossing the white line on the entry to the pit lane? Looking like he may drop out the top ten and lose the fastest lap bonus point with it…

    1. Doesn’t seem many people are complaining about the lack of penalty, and that should say enough.

  16. Aside to all the drama at the front… Real shame for Fernando… He could have well been on the podium if it weren’t for the rain.

    A fantastic calculated drive by the old master. Almost Prost-esque. Great to see him mixing it with the young guys.

    1. There wasn’t even one overtake of his was shown live on Tv. He passed two Redbulls, a Mclaren, and a Ferrari on track. Such a shame, he wasn’t on the podium today.

    2. Agree that was an awesome drive @jaymenon10

  17. Ham got most lucky when Ric’s pitstop was slow. Ensured he’d come out ahead and be free to chase Lando down. If that didn’t happen, Lando wouldve had a 10sec buffer to them.
    I also think that if Lando pitted, Ham might’ve done the opposite and stayed 1 lap longer, overruling his team call. Lando would’ve won, Ver 2nd, with Ham in 6-7th. That would’ve been hilarious.

    1. Lots of ‘if’ there mate.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        26th September 2021, 16:34

        Yeah… he’s talking about what might have happened. Otherwise we just have facts such as Max started last and finished 2nd which you’d have to accept is an incredible performance.

        Of course, for context you use some “ifs” and say “if it hadn’t rained, he’s have probably finished 7th.”

      2. There were 2 if’s, but only first mattered: If RIC didn’t have a slow pitstop, 100% Ham comes out behind him and spends another 20 laps looking at that McLaren rear wing.
        2nd “If”, if Lando pitted, what would’ve Ham done?, is more food for thought.

        1. If RIC didn’t have a slow pitstop, 100% Ham comes out behind him and spends another 20 laps looking at that McLaren rear wing

          That is debatable: given the pace advantage of the Mercedes in clean air, Hamilton would have emerged in front of Ricciardo.
          I’ll add that Verstappen spend some laps looking at that same rear wing. If two top drivers in the best cars struggle to pass a McLaren, then said McLaren is quick.

          1. Check the replay, or the laptimes. After the pitstop, Ric was super fast and a bit faster than Ham. Not by much, as in normal undercut conditions, but enough to stay ahead of Ham, if he had a normal pitstop

          2. Absolutely, mclaren is fast, hamilton didn’t manage to pass any of them in the dry and verstappen neither.

    2. Yeah I was thinking Hamilton might have stayed out if Norris pitted, since both drivers admitted to overruling their teams when the rain started. What a different complexion that would’ve put on things. But the best case for the sake of the race would have been if both pitted and we got to see them fight it out on inters for the last couple of laps.

    3. About that, the pit stop rule is ridiculous, so many issues after that change!

  18. By the way, despite the flak Sochi is getting (a tradition that could be a little bit revised after this year), they can at least deliver a nice trophy. I wish more places would follow the suit and we could see less generic Heineken stuff.

    1. @pironitheprovocateur – Sochi is a lame track and a lame GP, but in all honesty I’d rather have 1. Abu Dhabi 2. Hermanos Rodriguez 3. Paul Ricard 4. Montmeló gone way sooner.

      As for the trophy, I agree: they managed to make a track layout trophy look cool and collected. A reference for Imola and Red Bull Ring on that regard.

  19. Considering they had an open goal on a good track for them ekeing out a win and a fifth with verstappen 2nd has to feel a bit ominous.

  20. Watching each driver during the wet phase is really interesting. Perez really struggled for instance and crashed into the pitlane…


    Race Control can give everyone with an F1 TV subscribion, the opportunity to watch the race as in the video above

    1. Thank you for the link @miltosgreekfan!
      This explains how Pérez ended so far back: RB pitted him two laps after Verstappen and he hit the wall.
      The curse on this seat is definitely still on.

      1. Yeah, he was pretty much screwed in the dry, but as far as I know, Perez didn’t make the call to box while Max did. Perez struggled in both mixed and wet conditions, so he finished pretty low eventually

        1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
          27th September 2021, 9:35

          If you heard Max after the race he said “It was pretty simple. I had no grip”
          Contrast that to both Lando and Lewis who stayed out because both thought pitting would cost them the lead.
          Decisions are easy when things don’t matter much! 7th or the win, which one matters?

    2. Great video really, very useful.

    3. @miltosgreekfan This video shows so much more about what was happening in the midfield than the live coverage did. It’s weird because if you watch Alonso’s onboard it looks like things were working out for him. He overtook a Ferrari and Perez, and seemed to switch to inters when he needed to. But i guess that extra lap on slicks actually lost him a lot of time to cars he couldn’t see like Verstappen and Bottas because they were still behind until Alonso eventually pitted.

      1. @keithedin Sainz also, he boxed together with Verstappen during the ideal time.

  21. HAM was saved from disaster by a firm directive to pit after he had wanted to stay out as NOR did. Gutted for NOR!

    This goes down as another big slice of luck for HAM in a 2021 season full of it for him. I mean, drunkard-like Q3, another poor start and an insistence to stay out longer on slicks overruled by the pit wall. Won the race after leading all of 2 laps?

    VER has been the standout performer this season and I hope he goes on to land his maiden WDC!

    1. P
      Ole, LH slow start was due to the fact you cannot win a race at the first corner. LH chose to follow Lando into first corner but CS and others went round the outside. If LH had kept his foot in at T1 he would not have been around to win the race.

      Yes, he was lucky, but as Gary Player once famously said, “the more I practice, the luckierI get”. LH knew he was battling for a title, not a race win. That’s probably why he has 7, going on 8, WDC.

      1. He has that many titles cause of the car he drove, otherwise he’d have 1.

        Only thing I can give to you is hamilton has a good measure of calculating risk, he always prioritizes avoiding accidents rather than not losing positions when he’s not against a championship contender.

        1. @esploratore1 But then that too comes from having a dominant car. There’s no need to maximize everything

    2. Comments like these that have no sense of perspective really amuse me:

      drunkard-like Q3

      Yes he clipped the wall. But before that, I guess you didn’t notice he had put in a lap on intermediates that was eventually good enough for 4th behind guys on slicks.

      another poor start

      Poor start – yes but not as bad as you’re making it out to be. The real reason he lost lots of places was because he came up behind Norris at a critical point and had to slow down. Better that than just plough into him, right? And what you seem to have missed is that after that start, he kept his head down and worked away until he was under a second behind Norris. He won because he kept his race alive till that point.

      overruled by the pit wall

      The same pit wall that everyone criticizes for making wrong decisions. Fact is – this is a team sport and today, the Mercedes team delivered a victory. Leading for only 2 laps is as irrelevant a take as you’ll ever find.

      1. Comments like these that have no sense of perspective really amuse me

        ..the irony of this

    3. Oh dear, “another slice of luck”, are you talking about VER who lucked in massively and performed mediocre the second half of the race? Thought as much.

      1. Passing 18 cars.. Very lucky indeed. Lol.

        1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
          27th September 2021, 9:49

          Well yes considering when he came up behind his team mate in the same car he couldn’t get past! Without the rain he would have needed a team order to finish 6th. So he caught one Merc half asleep and couldn’t get past his own team’s other car.

          “Passed 18 cars” He’s in a REDBULL!!! What happened to SuperMax at Monza when he got stuck behind Lando?

          He didn’t pass the other one, or either McLaren on pace, or the other Merc. He couldn’t drive in the wet on old tyres and came in earlier than the cars on front. Lando and Lewis both managed a couple of laps more on the same tyre life as they fought for the lead meaning they did a better job!

          He lucked into 2nd and even he admitted it after the race! “It was quite simple, I had no grip”


    4. @andrewwj

      Stand out performances isn’t enough to win a WDC, plus Verstappen was easily the most fortunate today.

      Personally Norris has impressed me the most this season and if he keeps this up will be my driver of the season.

      1. Yes, norris has been almost as good as verstappen on average, certainly 2nd best driver so far, while hamilton battles with leclerc for 3rd.

        And luck wise it’s nowhere near enough, hamilton still got a lot luckier, don’t forget this verstappen penalty is also because of silverstone crash, hamilton is still probably around 50 points ahead luck-wise.

        Let’s say 18 (all these points are swings, so a 32 point swing in a race is possible) for silverstone, assuming hamilton would’ve won, probably something like 12 points in imola, 11 points in baku (hamilton wouldn’t have run out of the track if verstappen hadn’t had the tyre problem), and hungary I’m guessing he gained 9 points through luck on verstappen, that’s a total of 50.

        I’m not sure if we can say verstappen got lucky in spa, after a good quali he got 5 free points, but they could’ve been more or less had the race taken place, we can say he gained 5 points here through luck, so 45 behind overall.

        And then you have monza, guess it could be hamilton luck (3 points) because of verstappen’s pitting problem, I’m expecting a result of ricciardo, verstappen, hamilton otherwise there, but on other hand he got lucky to take out hamilton too, because if hamilton had stayed ahead he had 2 mclarens ahead at that point, he would’ve probably gone on to gain more than 3 points on verstappen, maybe passing norris with verstappen stuck behind.

        Anyway I think 45 points are definitely there, so if hamilton wins by less than that it’s an undeserved title, less than 2016 cause at least rosberg drove better than how he drove the other years, which hamilton isn’t doing now.

        For the constructor the difference is less, I think it was about 20 points luck swing for mercedes a few races ago, and through luck with rain this race I guess mercedes gained but very little, so more or less there’s not a lot of difference, it’s far easier for the driver’s title fight to be within 45 points than the constructor’s to be in 20, since you also have more scoring opportunities.

        1. To clarify, by “he gained 5 points here” I’m talking about russia, I left spa in doubt.

        2. Yes that’s really the situation, but then Silverstone wasn’t all luck. It was mostly skill.

        3. Dave (@davewillisporter)
          27th September 2021, 10:02

          @esploratore1 I’m gonna argue that one.

          Imola. Hamilton doesn’t bail out first corner, both cars DNF. Max -8

          Spain. Hamilton doesn’t bail out first corner, both cars DNF. Lewis -8

          Baku. Max doesn’t get a blow out and Merc don’t have a front bias switch that can be knocked on. Max + 11

          Silverstone. Hamilton bails out, Max wins. Max + 7

          Hungary. Max doesn’t get taken out, Hamilton wins, Max 2nd. Hamilton +7 Max +16. Net Max +9.

          Monza. Oh wait, Hamilton didn’t bail out! DNF. See the pattern?

          Russia. Lewis wins, Max 3rd. Hamilton + 11.

          Net Max +16.

          1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            27th September 2021, 10:07

            So if you assume both cars take the same approach to racing and go for every move regardless, Silverstone both cars DNF, then Max loses +7 and he is now just +9.

            Max should start thinking about that! Lewis is +2 after bailing out multiple times. Max could have been +9.

  22. Great race with a disappointing end. Neither Verstappen nor Hamilton deserved a top spot today and but they finished one two. Guess that’s why they are fighting for the title…

    1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      27th September 2021, 10:10

      @roadrunner why because neither deserve to be? No. They finished 1 2 because they can!

  23. While I’m hugely disappointed, being an avid McLaren fanatic, but my takeaway from Sochi isn’t that McLaren lost a potential win, but that they were fighting for the win on merit. Again. It’s been a long time, and I’d rather get heartbroken by a lost chance to win than excited by a fifth place finish. McLaren has a realistic chance to win races again, even if only sometimes.

    1. Yes @selbbin! I was impressed how Lando followed Hamilton in Austria, but not quite enough to take the top step. Now, since Spa, the team is legitimately annoying to the top duo.
      There’s more to come: Lando can win one before the end of the year.

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