So near and yet so far for Ferrari and Williams in F1 Russian Grand Prix
Insight
Bottas, Raikkonen
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  03 May 2016   |  5:47 pm GMT  |  89 comments

The Russian Grand Prix this year featured some interesting strategy decisions, but the outcome for many was dictated by the collisions on the opening lap, which effectively took three front running cars out of points scoring positions and opened up an opportunity for midfield runners to get some valuable points.

Williams and Ferrari both left Sochi with a positive result, but the feeling that it could have been better.

Here is our analysis of the behind the scenes decisions that shaped the Grand Prix outcome.

Kimi Raikkonen
Pre-event considerations

There are some basic factors about the 5.8 kilometre Sochi circuit, which dictate race strategy; the track surface generates low tyre degradation and the long lap with 11 corners at around 110km/h means fuel consumption is critical for some runners.

The new three tyre options formula has worked well this season, but in Russia Pirelli bucked the trend with the third option, bringing the medium tyre, to work alongside soft and supersoft. Normally they do not bring a tyre harder than the ones raced at a venue in 2015.

If they had brought the ultra soft, it would have made for a more interesting race strategically, with at least two pit stops, rather than the one stop most drivers made.

This unusual track has low front tyre energy, while managing the rears in the race is important to make the soft tyres last around 36 laps, which is the target. This makes it a tough race for rookies to do well in, as they lack experience of how to do this.

The switch from October to May for this event did not have a huge bearing on the performance of the tyres, although it was slightly warmer on race day than previous events.

Start Russian GP 2016

Ferrari misses another opportunity; Williams, what might have been

The Sochi track is not one of the strongest for Ferrari. Last year they were some way off Mercedes’ pace and were behind Williams. This year they came with an upgrade package using new aerodynamic parts and an engine upgrade using some of their tokens. But they were still half a second off the Mercedes, which was demoralizing.

They had the pace in Sochi to finish ahead of Williams this year, but could have had at least one if not two cars ahead of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, who was forced to start 10th after a turbo issue in qualifying.

Sebastian Vettel’s race was ruined by Daniil Kvyat hitting him twice at the start, while Kimi Raikkonen made a mistake in qualifying which meant that he started behind the Williams of Valtteri Bottas, so wasn’t able to do his perfect race, based on car pace, with Bottas as a buffer behind. Hamilton was able to close sufficiently to jump him at the pit stops as a result.

Williams also had mixed feelings about the result. On the one hand fourth and fifth is not bad and is the result that they deserved on car pace, as the Williams was a couple of tenths slower than the Ferrari. But on the other hand Bottas would have hoped to convert second on the grid to a podium.

Williams strategy team did everything right in Sochi. They pitted Bottas early, as soon as the pit window opened, to try to retain the track position, but a sequence of events afterwards meant that he dropped to fourth instead.

Bottas, Raikkonen Russia 2016

Bottas pitted on Lap 16 and Hamilton, who had been running behind him, pitted a lap later. Hamilton had a strong in-lap and should have dropped back out ahead, but a slow Mercedes pit stop meant he came out behind Bottas. The pair then battled, and after Hamilton passed him, Bottas ran wide onto the marbles. He then struggled to clear Fernando Alonso’s McLaren.

The net result of this is that he lost two seconds to Raikkonen, who pitted on Lap 20 and was able to come out ahead of his fellow Finn.

If Hamilton’s stop had gone normally and he had rejoined ahead of Bottas, it’s likely that the Williams driver in clear air would have been faster, cleared Alonso more easily and retained third position over Raikkonen, who would have struggled on equal tyres to pass before the finish.

Russian GP 2016 crash

Red Bull recovery strategy goes badly wrong

Red Bull’s troubles in Russia were well chronicled; Kvyat took out team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and both were forced to pit on the first lap. Red Bull opted to put both cars onto the medium tyres, as this was the only tyre available that was capable of reaching the finish without another stop. In 2014 Nico Rosberg did something similar and reached the podium.

But the problem was that the tyre was much slower than the softer tyres rivals were using. Red Bull’s decision was based on two things; first the fact that if they went with a strategy of two more pit stops using perhaps the softs and then supersofts, they would be doing the same thing as the cars in front of them, so there would be no chance to get ahead. Second, another stop later in the race would cost 24 seconds and they estimated that they would lose less time staying on the mediums.

It didn’t work out at all. Ricciardo had some car damage, but the medium tyres also made the car slow on traction out of all the low speed corners, so even when he managed to pass another car, he was repassed due to this slow traction.

Ricciardo ended up making a second stop anyway on Lap 29 and an unplanned second stop wrecks any race strategy. So effectively Ricciardo had his race ruined twice.

Fernando Alonso
Alonso, Magnussen and Grosjean able to profit from first lap chaos

One of the more heartwarming stories of Russia was that Fernando Alonso and Kevin Magnussen were able to score their first points of the season and Romain Grosjean was able to pick up points for the third time in four races with the new Haas F1 team.

All three managed to profit from the chaos on the opening lap caused by Kvyat. Starting 14th, 15th and 17th respectively, Alonso, Grosjean and Magnussen found themselves 7th, 9th and 8th on the opening lap.

What happened from there was Sainz triggered the pit stops by pitting on Lap 11. Renault needed to pit Palmer first from 10th place, then Magnussen two laps later. Haas left it a lap too late and their stop was one second slower than Renault’s so it allowed Magnussen to jump him for 8th.

Renault F1 Russia 2016

As Renault had similar car pace in Russia, Magnussen was able to hold the Haas at arm’s length, out of DRS range.

Alonso meanwhile, did very well to retain track position given that he had to do a lot of fuel saving with the Honda engine. Despite a couple of laps of Safety Car, the Honda engine was on the limit on fuel at this track, a competitive disadvantage to Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault powered rivals.

Report Sm Rect bann

The UBS Race Strategy Report is written by James Allen with input and data from several of the leading teams’ strategists and from Pirelli.

RACE HISTORY AND TYRE USAGE CHARTS
Courtesy of Williams Martini Racing – Click to Enlarge

Showing the gaps between the cars as the race progresses and also the relative pace of the cars. Time gaps on vertical axis, Lap number on horizontal axis.

Look also at the difference in pace between the Mercedes (light blue), Ferrari (red) cars compared to the Williams (black). Mercedes wasn’t really pushing, while this is one of Williams’ stronger tracks due to power and chassis characteristics.

Russian GP race history 2016

Tyre usage F1 Russia 2016

Strategy Insights
Strategy Briefings
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89 comments

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1

The good thing is, we always know who is going to win the race before it even starts!

2

Alex, do we? Who is going to win the next race?

3

Mercedes

4

Alex, I said "who", not "what".

5

Right you are. Does anyone think for a moment that if the Red Bulls were dominating like Mercedes, the FIA wouldn't have banned a handful of their innovations? This is a car that's far more dominant than the Red Bull ever was. In that case, it was the Vettel / Red Bull combo that was dominant. Weber was for the most part an also ran in the same equipment.

6

The difference is that Red Bulls innovations tended to be within the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law ie. flexing front wings where everyone could see they flexed despite passing the tests for rigidity. With the engine rules, Mercedes are operating entirely within the letter and spirit of the law so there's nothing to change to ensure it is properly enforced.

7

Only top 5 finished on the same lap with a safety car????
This is quite concerning don't you think James

8

With one of the Ferraris out and both Red Bulls hampered, not that surprising. I would have said the Torro Rossos would have stayed on the lead lap as well if Max had finished and Carlos didn't get his penalty.

9

Merc F1 still have a pace advantage, no matter what circuit layout. That tells you everything you need to know.

The bizarre aspect is Williams still have the same strengths and weaknesses they did a couple of seasons ago - it's almost as if they haven't progressed, but haven't regressed either! The Williams lacks rear downforce [compared to it's rivals] and struggles on tight, twisty circuits and on a wet track, but on the faster circuits it's excellent aero efficiency and slippery bodywork makes it a good, competitive package. RB are the exact opposite, lacking the ability to slice through the air cleanly because of too much drag and yet produces good rear downforce which is beneficial in slow corners and aids traction.

You would have thought after 3 years Williams would have found more rear downforce, and RB less draggy, cluttered bodywork, and yet..............

PS That Renault photo above - looks like an automotive curry. Not quite as spicy and explosive as it's rivals though, but good job from Mini Mag.

10

Williams is too risk adverse to take big chances. They seem content to be 3rd in the WCC and hope they can luck into 2nd others misfortune. I feel like Frank and Claire race to get that 3rd place prize money from Bernie, keep the stock price stable and the family name clean by avoiding any unnecessary risk.
Even their drivers are bland. Too me Williams is the "heather grey sweater vest" of F1.

11

Williams are now doing stupidly fast stops. Another piece of the puzzle and more pressure for anyone battling with them.

12

James, after watching the start a few times some of the cars who ran wide at turn 2 made absolutely no attempt to make the corner, Alonso especially! Grojean drove flat out off track. Surprised there was no investigations?

13

Once they went off the track at that corner, they were required by direct order from Charlie Whiting to go to the left of a marker and rejoin after the left turn.

If they had attempted to follow the corner after leaving the track, they would have got a penalty.

14

Yes! The most blatant corner cutting advantage for some time. In the race there were some crazy penalties, yet this was allowed... All offenders should have had to drop back a bit behind a few others who actually took the corner.

15

That is so true ! Hamilton won !!3!! places by doing so. Can't really tell if it's Button or Alonso which is the first McL at that turn, but either way the fist McL won 1 place as did Gro by cutting the first corner. None of this had anything to do with the Vet/Kvy/Ric thing. Ham was p10 on the grid, he was p9 at the second corner, after rejoining the track he was p6! and in the long left turn he overtook Perez in a fair way. Also the second tangle of Vet/Kvy had any influence on this. Had all the carnage not happened, Ham would still have been p5 after a couple of corners. If all this is legal, than the man sure has all the luck in the world on his side ...........
I am baffled that this was not picked up by race control ! And for sure, one of the reasons why this was not noticed was the smoke-screen created by Kvy.

16

There was.

17

On a side note, I am confused as to what Hamilton's qualifying engine failure was. Why would Mercedes need to fly in a new fuel system to prevent a further penalty? Is he down one engine, or two on the season?

18

I believe there was an upgraded fuel system introduced by Merc at this race - they flew the new system in partly to ensure parity with the other Merc PUs, but mostly to cause outrage from the critics of this new formula who could then make comparisons between the fuel used by the private jet with the fuel saved in the races 🙂

19

The primary reason was so that they could avoid a penalty by replacing a like-for-like part. If they had replaced his fuel system with the old one, then there would presumably have only been a tiny performance loss, but Hamilton would have had to start from the pit lane instead of 10th on the grid because his car specification was changed.

Engines are no longer as simple as "being down one engine". Hamilton has lost two of one component from his engine (the MGU-H maybe?), so he has only three of those left for the season. But the rest of the engine was fine, so he, for example, still has all five internal combustion engines available for use.

20

Ha ha, great comment C63. If I was being pedantic I would point out you used the plural of the word critic, we all know there is only one.....

21

"Ha ha, great comment C63. If I was being pedantic I would point out you used the plural of the word critic, we all know there is only one....."

Which is Sebee!

22

Fernando Alonso scoring his first point is a hear warming story? Please ... What abut Jenson Button scoring his first point in the same race?

23

Not everyone needs to share pundits dislike for a particular driver

24

I was thinking the same too. However, here are the reasons behind FA's heart warming result I think,

1: It has something to do with his accident in Melbourne & missing a race in Bahrain.
2: Generally FA is more popular than JB it seems, at least most people rate him as the most complete driver.
3: He won more championships & races. So, its sadder to see him driving a rubbish regardless what the reason is
4: James Allen loves him
5: FA has never been in doubt of not being able to get a race seat. JB on the other hand is retiring after every event it seems. So, there is a natural feeling that FA will still have long way to go & sooner or later will fight for the championship.
6: This report isn't just for the British fans

Trying to understand JA's thinking basically. Feel free to comment.

25

you nailed it.

26

Considering how much of an unfair benefit Hamilton got by running straight through the early corner, (completely ignored by the BBC commentators) it wasnt surprising the others went backwards.

27

That corner is why just one of the reasons Sochi should be taken off the calendar. There are no penalties for mistakes at this track unless you crash the car into the wall. I believe Hamilton just did what someone else did last year or the year before. It looks to me like going straight at that corner (even with the bollard) is faster that trying to take the corner on the first lap. I suspect the skill would be you figuring out how much to lift as you run "wide" to avoid the steward call.

28

Wow taking off the calender would be extreme, don't you think. Next there with invasion of Iraq.

29

unfair benefit Hamilton got ....

Please can you quantify the exact benefit that Ham got? And, out of interest, whilst you're at it why aren't you as outraged by the other half a dozen cars who did the same thing.

30

How much of a benefit did he get? Into Turn 2 he was 9th, Verstappen was 10th. Max took the corner, and Hamilton only just managed to stay ahead of him into Turn 4. The cars that were 5th-8th into turn 2 ALL had problems, hence why both Hamilton and Verstappen both gained 4 places.

31

trouble is the run-off here is a nice clean run, there are no obstacles to negotiate like Monza, nor is it muddy uneven terrain like La Source at Spa where bits can stick to your tyres and you struggle for grip when you re-join.
Maybe a couple of sleeping policemen might help ....

32

BBC commentators aren't great to lists to, ay? Especially, DC seems to be caught up in his racing days by the way he analyses stuff. The broadcast was bad in general I reckon. They didn't even know if Kvyat was taking a penalty or pitting for tyres! Hilarious!

33

@Formula zero
They didn't even know if Kvyat was taking a penalty....

To be fair to them they did know which Chanel they were broadcasting on though???? Joking aside IIRC Sky missed it as well and it transpired that race control didn't relay the info to the journalists - at least that's what they said ( unless it was s different incident and I dreamt the whole thing up )

34

What I like about Coultard is his easy going way of talking, and at times humorous approach. F1 is fun, but in the final analysis it is just a sport.

35

It wasn't on BBC, it was on Channel 4…!!

36

Unbelievable
He avoided the incident ahead went off track and rejoined passing the vorrect bollard you also say a few other cars for exactly the same thing.
If that Vettel or another driver I suppose you would turn a blind eye?
Lewis took appropriate action as the race steward didn't deem it to be wrong. Though some of their penalties on Lewis have been way over the time.

37

Yes. If it was Vettel who took the short cut, we wouldn't hear the end of it.

38

Hilarious. Funnily enough, I've heard no end of gripes about Lewis in this instance. Not sure what you've been reading in order to miss it.

But well done for spotting something the stewards so obviously missed or ignored. You should contact the FIA, I'm sure they'll be most thankful.

🙂

I'm sure you'd have rather he crashed, but he avoided it. Fairly. And yes it will have been looked at. By people much smarter and with much more experience than you or I.

39

And if Hamilton had made a similar radio outburst to Seb we would never hear the end of that....

40

Again? Really? Not a HAM fan but it was clear he was forced wide by RIC ricocheting off VET. He then went to the left of the bollard as required so what's to mention? If anything it's an example of how much more situational awareness the experienced drivers have. RIC on the other hand failed to go to the left of the bollard so if anything needs looking at....

41

Just watched the full replay of the start. Dans on board shot fully shows him going on the correct side of the bollard. It's on the official f1 site. So you need to look before you comment

42

Clearly you need to watch all that again. Ham had taken the descision to run straight trough a fraction before the incident and before Ric got hit. I'm tellin you, he was NEVER going to take that corner.

43

Ricciardo went through on the left, although there was a case in FP2 of a Red Bull not going through the left, and there was no penalty or investigation then.

44
Jonathan Warren

Look at this video at the 25 second mark and you'll see RIC following HAM past the bollard:
http://www.formula1.com/content/fom-website/en/video/2016/5/Race_highlights_-_Russia_2016.html

45

Looks like Ricciardo followed Hamilton round the left of the bollard to me. http://i.imgur.com/0MjUB4K.jpg

46

The Williams is always able to switch its tyres on quicker than the Ferrari. This was evident at the re-start.
As James says, Kimi did make a mistake on his quali lap and ended up third behind Bottas. But that was rectified by turn 3 when he passed Bottas and pulled away easily. It was the safety car which cooled Kimi's tyres and gave Bottas the chance to pass.
"If only" Pirelli had managed to provide the ultra soft here, the advantage woukd have been Ferrari's and maybe Sochi would not have been another Merc masterclass.

47

That & DRS - he was a sitting duck

48

I doubt Kimi would have kept Hamilton at bay, but now he has a car that suits him better it was good to see him on the podium. The last few years he would have drifted in fifth.

49

The car does suit him a lot better this year and he will have a strong year harvesting lots of points. Maybe a win if the stars align!
I still don't think he's got the speed of his McLaren days but I would say with this type of car he's the perfect number 2 for Ferrari.

Having said that I think Kimi will be close and sometimes faster than Vettel on the more traditional flowing tracks that he excels on when we go back to Europe (Silverstone, Spa etc..).

The only driver on the grid I would swap Kimi for in 2017 is Ricciardo but we all know that probably won't happen.

50

I think the car does suit him a lot better this year and he will have a strong year harvesting lots of points. Maybe a win if the stars align!

I still don't think he's got the speed of his McLaren days but I would say with this type of car he's the perfect number 2 for Ferrari.

Having said that I think Kimi will be close and sometimes faster than Vettel on the more traditional flowing tracks that he excels on when we go back to Europe (Silverstone, Spa etc..).

The only driver on the grid I would swap Kimi for in 2017 is Ricciardo but we all know that probably won't happen. So in all honesty I can see them sticking with him for 2017.

51

Kimi seems at his worst at these new street tracks, he was ordinary at Sochi the last 2 years and other street tracks.

I think the car does suit him a lot better this year and he will have a strong year harvesting lots of points. Maybe a win if the stars align!

I still don't think he's got the speed of his McLaren days but I would say with this type of car he's the perfect number 2 for Ferrari.

Having said that I think Kimi will be close and sometimes faster than Vettel on the more traditional flowing tracks that he excels on when we go back to Europe (Silverstone, Spa etc..).

The only driver on the grid I would swap Kimi for in 2017 is Ricciardo but we all know that probably won't happen. So in all honesty I can see them sticking with him for 2017.

52

Kimi seems at his worst at these new street tracks, he was ordinary at Sochi the last 2 years so it does bode well for his season.

I think the car does suits him a lot better this year and he will have a strong Lotus-esque year harvesting lots of points.

I still don't think he's got the speed of his McLaren days but I would say with this type of car he's the perfect number 2 for Ferrari.

Having said that I think Kimi will be close and sometimes faster than Vettel on the more traditional flowing tracks that he excels on when we go back to Europe (Silverstone, Spa etc..).

The only driver on the grid I would swap Kimi for in 2017 is Ricciardo but we all know that probably won't happen. So in all honesty I can see them sticking with him for 2017.

53

Street tracks like Russia are the ones that Kimi is worst on these days so it does bode well.

I think the car does suits him a lot better this year and he will have a strong Lotus-esque year harvesting lots of points.

I still don't think he's got the speed of his McLaren days but I would say with this type of car he's the perfect number 2 for Ferrari.

Having said that I think Kimi will be close to Vettel on the more traditional flowing tracks that he excels on when we go back to Europe (Silverstone, Spa etc..).

The only driver on the grid I would swap Kimi with for 2017 is Ricciardo but we all know that probably won't happen. So in all honesty I can see them sticking with him for 2017.

54

LOL It kept saying comment deleted so I kept posting!!!

55

I don't think Kimi would've been able to hold off Hamilton either unless LH got a penalty for cutting the corner & not handing the place back. Here's something funny I read today; LH reckons that the stewards are targeting him or something. I just laughed because I can only remember him getting reprimand & no penalties, including last year not getting penalized for tyre pressure. Massa, Bottas, Kvyat & others never gets reprimand. They are penalized. Laughable rubbish happens in F1.

56

I can only remember him getting reprimand & no penalties....

I guess your memory isn't much good then. He's had two reprimands so far this season - both of which resulted in points on his licence. The first for reversing in the pit lane after an FIA official asked him too and the second for the bollard business at the last race.

57

Very interesting to see Rosbergs pace at the end while nursing an issue, wonder how much faster he would have got without it!

58
Firstly ferret

There was no issue ,his apparent engine issue was not even brought up in the debrief after the race

59

Hey James, do you really think vettel is out of the championship already? I think people may be writing him off too early, people seem to be forgetting he's a 4 time world champion and has made amazing comebacks to win in 2010 and 2012, if necessary we know the man can get 15 poles in a season and win 9 races in a row, surely just 67 points down against rosberg, not even hamilton, it's a mistake to write a presumably fired up and motivated 4 time world champion in a car only 2 tenths off the pace, thoughts?

60

If necessary he can just pull that out? It doesn’t work like that. If the car performance stays as is, then he has no chance. He needs that Ferrari to leap over the Mercedes in race pace.

61

"we know the man can get 15 poles in a season and win 9 races in a row"

In the right car, yeah. Not to detract from Vettel, but that Ferrari he's driving is not exactly a 2010-2013 Red Bull.

62

He neither has the car or reliability of that car. In 2010 and 2012 he was driving a Newey Bull with a competitive Renault engine.

63

The margin in unbridgeable with the car pace difference there is. Despite an upgrade package Ferrari was still the same margin behind as Merc also brought an update

64

@ james...i think your post highlights just how ludicrous these performance differences are. according to merc open letter to the fans rosberg set the fastest lap and he was still running in 'safe mode'. all this bunkum of ferrari are closing up to us as stated by mercedes is just part of the smoke and mirrors.

65

The margin will be unbridgeable full stop, as shown by Mercedes ability to bring an update that nullified Ferrari's package.

Surely Ferrari and the others must know this James? Are we going to see an even earlier switch of teams' focus to next years cars than ever before?

I live in hope of course of some sort of competition, but as you said in your article, it is quite frankly demoralizing!

66

James so why suggest there was an "opportunity" for Ferrari. Vettel was 6/10 off in quali and the speed diff down the straight was massive. Raikkonens move
on Bottas was brilliant but he was a sitting duck to Merc power on the straight. Ferraris corner pace is the only relief for them atm

67

Impressive fight back by Lewis. Sadly more car troubles Lee to him nursing the car back in the latter part of the race. Rosberg had another easy victory .
Shame Vettel was shunted off by Kyvat. Or they may have had a chance to fight it out with Rosberg. In the early stages. Ferrari just have not got the power to compete with the Mercedes engine unless it's in the Williams or another team with a Mercedes Engine.
Mercedes need to give Lewis a chance by sorting out the engine / car problems seem to happen on his side of the garage before they scupper his chances of retaining the Championship.
Another note will Button end up at Williams and Bottas have to hunt for a drive next season? Stiffer looks certain to to take Buttons seat.

68

2014, Bottas was able to fight for the pole genuinely! 3rd on the grid.
2016, (only 18 months later) Bottas was 1.2s off the pole, although 2nd on the grid.

James, why is the rate of their improvement so slow? Budget? People? Surely Bottas can only get better.

69

Mercedes juggernaut has essentially unlimited budget and the best facilities.

Williams has neither of these.

70

But how about Force India? At this track, within 7 months, FI closed the gap to Williams by half tenth in the qualifying, probably even more in the race! Williams has already brought their first upgrade here, FI has yet.

71

I hear what you say and I don't think you're wrong, but I've been on a tour of the Williams collection and you get to see the general state of the facilities and I have to tell you they are massively impressive. What Mercedes must be like is hard to imagine .

72

I think anyone believing that Raikkonen could have kept Hamilton behind under any circumstances is highly optimistic. The same can be said about Bottas keeping Kimi behind - even if Bottas had not got traffic the Ferrari was so much faster and kinder on the tyres in the second stint, that is why Kimi opened up a big gap in the end.

There is too much performance gap between the cars. Mercedes are totally dominant over everyone with Ferrari having easily the second best car. That means on a standard weekend the top 4 finishers are nearly always going to be a combination of LH/NR/SV/KR.

73
Bruce Flagpole

James,

just wondering, are the engineers allowed to tell the drivers about their fuel usage? and if not, any suggestion that Hamilton's 'water pressure' issue was some kind of code for saving fuel?

74

Have a look at the Merc letter on Twitter or the excerpt in the JA article - it would be a massive lie if what they said wasn't true .

75

James, in tyre history above is shown Kvyat changed his medium to another medium in lap 8. why did he changed the medium so soon and why not to a soft ? after knowing medium is so much slower.

76

The Mercs have found some more pace at Sochi that new fuel system along with new fuel saw them out daylight between them & the Ferrari down the straight. On the podium Kimi mentioned how much pace the Mercs had down the straights..Kimi made up incredible ground on them in the final sector with the turns but slowly but surely they eased away. I think with that sort of power Mercedes and Williams could run less wing and not worry about fuel as much as those behind- this is evidenced in the graph & engineers would love the consistency of Kimis pace.. If not the shortfall to Mercs.

I think its very short sighted for anyone to say "missed opportunity" for Ferrari - they had none !- and anyone thinking Seb may have is kidding!- he was blown away by 6/10 of a second in quali. The names may have changed but Silver arrows werent about to be threatened by anyone at Sochi. Lets hope Ferrari turbo upgrade gives them a little more.. Otherwise its going to be a very long season folks.. Maybe anyway - the arrows are just that strong!.

77

I don't think Ros even gave it his best short. he half-arseed it because he knew that there was not pressure from Lewis.

78
seifenkistler

'The Russian Grand Prix this year featured some interesting strategy decisions, but the outcome for many was dictated by the collisions on the opening lap, which effectively took three front running cars out of points scoring positions and opened up an opportunity for midfield runners to get some valuable points. '
Only 7 races to turn Hamilton from a champion into a midfield runner...

79

Hi James,
Regarding the fuel saving subject
Any idea why the Honda PU is so behind in this area, is because of ICE or ERS note working properly?

In Skysports I heard Kravitz saying that those teams with a Mercedes PU didn´t have to do any kind of fuel saving during the race. I was shocked with that! What´s your take on this?

Thanks in advance.

80

Just tough to get it all done and catch up in the time

The Honda V8s were a bit heavier and more thirsty than the Mercedes V8s back in the day, as I recall

81

Keep getting 'comment deleted' whenever I reply to a post.

82

I get that every so often - they still seem to turn up on here though - your comment above is exhibit A ????

83

Haha Indeed, C63.

84

Please may Ferrari be faster, and also have incident free upcoming races! The German team are running away with it too easily.
17 races left, plenty of time to turn it around. Come on Ferrari! Non mollare mai!

85
Clarks4WheelDrift

I love how you can see, on the graph, the two laps that Alonso got fed up with preservation of fuel and tyres and raced hard before apologising to the team that he needed to do it to keep awake 😉

86

James,

Regarding the fuel saving subject.
Any idea why the Honda PU is so behind in this area, is because of ICE or ERS note working properly?

Boullier said that they lost around 50 seconds because of that, or what is the same: 1sec per lap. Taking into account the first 3 laps where behind the SC, isn´t that a bit of an exaggeration? Even Raikkonen said "The car was handling very well through the whole race, even if we were forced to do some fuel saving and this affected our laptimes"

In Skysports I heard Kravitz saying that those teams with a Mercedes PU did not have to do any kind of fuel saving during the race. I was shocked with that! What is your take on this?

87

James can you please tell me why Ferrari have a over a second over Mercedes last year in Singapore with a 60 to 80 bhp less. Is any similarity with Sochi ????

88

James long time I'm following your articles and like big fan of f1 I decided to ask you one question which is why Ferrari last year have over a second on Mercedes in Singapore with weaker engine is that was a track suit them better Is any similarity with Sochi and Mercedes.

89

I'm no James, but from my understanding, No one can explain the performance drop of Mercedes at Singapore 2015, Not even merc engineers. They had no problem in 2014 and other 2015 races similar to Singapore. Many suspect that they may have gotten a bad batch of tyres or got affected by some mysterious tyre sorcery.

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