F1 – Russian GP – Race
Hello MiniFans! It was time for the last European race of the season! It promised to be a very exciting one since there were a lot of drivers who got quite some grid penalties. All of the drivers who use Renault engines recieved a brand new one and that made them all start from the back of the grid and also other drivers changed some engine parts. Furthermore, we also had Vettel and Hamilton, who were still battling for the championship!
Vettel had a very good start and tried to overtake Hamilton whilst they went side to side into turn one. The Ferrari driver failed do get passed him, while Hamilton moved up to Bottas and attacked him in vain. That means that the top three stayed the same after the first lap. About one lap later, we saw Ricciardo still struggling a bit at P17, while his teammate Verstappen had a phenomenal start and was already able to move up to the eleventh position. Leclerc had a good start as well and could even move up to the top five by overtaking Magnussen at the start. Both Gasly and Hartley spun in the first few laps. It caused some problems with the car and that is why Toro Rosso decided to call their race to an early end. Meanwhile, we saw Alonso pitting very early due to some issues with his tyres. Six laps in the race and Verstappen overtook Magnussen for the sixth position. Red Bull (or Renault with their new engine) gave the flying Dutchman wings in Russia!
Bottas was the first driver of the top three who pitted for fresh tyres in lap thirteen. He moved down from the first to the fifth position. As soon as the Finn was out of the pitlane, we saw Vettel in it. Hamilton ended up behind Vettel after his pitstop. Though the Brit hit the rear end of the Ferrari because Vettel braked heavily. Hamilton overtook him smoothly nonetheless in one of the following turns. Verstappen led the race after all of the pitstops at the front. He moved up from P19 to P1 in a whopping nineteen laps and even set a fastest lap with older tyres! It looks like his birthday cake gave him a lot of speed and energy!
Bottas got the team order to let Hamilton through, in order to close up to Verstappen and get away from Vettel, his rival in the championship. Also the blister problems seemed to be back. Both Ricciardo and Hamilton, among others, had some troubles with it. Verstappen didn’t have any issues with it in one or another way. He was still out and about with really clean tyres in lap 34 while almost the whole field already pitted! Raikkonen set a fastest time two laps later while Hulkenberg pitted. Another four laps later, we saw the first pitstop of the race for Red Bull. Ricciardo got new tyres and he even got a new front wing. He still maintained his sixth position, eventhough he lost quite some time. Verstappen stayed out for so long that the rest of the field closed up on him again. That way he lost four positions again and drove in fifth place with only five laps to go.
Lewis Hamilton won the Russian Grand Prix of 2018, with Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel completing the podium. Raikkonen finished as fourth, followed by Verstappen who had a fantastic birthday race. Ricciardo ended up in a solid P5, followed by Leclerc, Magnussen, Ocon and Perez. The two Toro Rosso drivers where the only ones who didn’t make it till the end.
We are back next week in the country of the rising sun, Japan! See you then!