F1 Russian GP Review and Results

29 August 2021 | Angelo Ziovas

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In what was an unexpected affair, the Russian GP offered up a great race in unpredictable race from start to finish. From a history making 100th grand prix win for Lewis Hamilton, to the heartbreak of losing for Lando Norris, and Max Verstappen coming from 20th on the grid to finish in 2nd place and Carlos Sainz grabbing his third podium of the season.

From the beginning of the race, Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris battled for the lead, out of turn 2, Sainz came out with the lead with Norris in 2nd, Hamilton had dropped 3 places off the start, and Fernando Alonso went wide and had to take to the escape road but ended up in 6th, just behind Daniel Ricciardo who ended up behind Lance Stroll who followed George Russell who maintained his 3rd place, Charles Leclerc made a brilliant start jumping up to 12th place after starting 19th on the grid, Verstappen gained 3 places to start his race, Yuki Tsunoda dropped 8 places after a bad start on lap 1.

Throughout the opening laps, Sainz and Norris out front built a gap to the Williams of Russell behind, Sainz built up a little bit of a gap over Norris before it started to close which gave Norris some leeway to try and make a move happen, however he just couldn’t get close enough to do so. The gap built up again and came back down over the next few laps until eventually on lap 13, Lando Norris overtook his former teammate down the back straight and sealed the move in the braking zone and took over the lead of the race.

Russell pitted just one lap after and was overtaken by Stroll via Aston Martin using the undercut to get in front after being stuck behind the Williams for so many laps, and on the following lap Sainz came in and pitted, avoiding being undercut by Stroll and maintained being ahead of him after just coming out ahead. Meanwhile, Hamilton and Ricciardo stayed out a little longer.

Lap 23 saw Ricciardo pit, Hamilton took over 2nd and a slow stop from McLaren for Ricciardo caused him to come out behind Esteban Ocon, and lose time to Hamilton, giving him time to not have to worry about an undercut straight away. Hamilton, however, was going at a good pace, setting a couple of fastest laps and slowly catching Lando Norris, he did go on and pit on lap 27, Verstappen also pitted on the same lap, not being very far behind Hamilton. The championship contenders came out 5 seconds apart from each other with Ricciardo and Russell between them.

Sergio Perez was at the same point in the race, in 2nd place, still needing to pit, but still having a decent race, with Fernando Alonso doing a good job behind him and Leclerc doing well following three seconds behind him, but come lap 29, Norris came into the pits and came out in clear air behind Leclerc with an eight second gap and a five second gap behind to Pierre Gasly who had yet to pit.

On lap 30, Hamilton got himself up to the Ferrari of Sainz and overtook him, enabling him to continue his charge at Lando Norris who was still seven seconds ahead with Gasly still in the way, and was leading up to a crescendo come the end of the race. Then on the following lap down the back straight Hamilton passed Perez and looked very quick and on for a race win.

Throughout lap 31 Verstappen was on the back Ricciardo’s McLaren who ended up passing Stroll on the same lap, then on the main straight on the following lap, Verstappen got through. Lap 34 seen Norris ending the chase of Leclerc by overtaking him into turn 2 and completing the move around turn 3. Gasly also pitted on the same lap and dropped down to 16th after pitting.

Hamilton was edging ever closer to Norris on lap 35, by overtaking Leclerc, at this point the gap was 5 seconds, and with Hamilton looki