The Sunday race was starting with the Kimi Raikkonen’s false start. The Finn began the moving a bit earlier than the lights were out. The Stewards penalized him by the drive through pitlane.
At the start it was very strong fight for the lead between Charles Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. Also Carlos Sainz managed to slice in front of Valtteri Bottas.
In the midfield Antonio Giovinazzi knocked out two drivers by one hit. There was a fight at Turn 4 between Romain Grosjean, Antonio Giovinazzi and Daniel Ricciardo. Antonio hit Romain from the left side, and Daniel from the right side. Grosjean crashed into the barrier, and Ricciardo got the puncture and went to the pits.
The key moment of the race was a Scuderia Ferrari strategy. Obviously, the team made a big step forward, and in Sochi they hadn’t real rivals. However, after today’s race it seems like Ferrari is a main enemy of itself.
Just like in Singapore, today Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc made a scene on the team radio. On the start Sebastian Vettel overtook the teammate. Then, few laps later, the team was asking him to back position to Leclerc. Difficult to say why. But the German didn’t follow team’s order and moreover began to run away from Charles, setting one fastest lap by one. As for Leclerc, he was literally on fire.
This Ferrari’s drama ended very soon. On the 22nd lap Charles went to the pits, and back on the track in P4. Already by this time Sebastian’s tyres were done, and in 4 laps Vettel also went to the boxes. He returned to the track right behind the teammate, but couldn’t overtake him. In few moments Sebastian unpredictably stopped the car, it was the finish for Vettel.
After Sebastian was out of the race, there was VSC on the track, what gave a wave of the pit stops. Mercedes drivers changed the tyres (Medium to Soft). Leclerc did second stop and also changed Medium to Soft.
Meanwhile, there were three more retirements: Ricciardo and two Williams. Safty Car appeared on the track. By 32nd lap the Top 3 looked like: HAM-BOT-LEC. After the re-start, the battle began again. Leclerc was trying to pass two Mercedes, however, despite the Ferrari speed that we’ve seen all the weekend, he couldn’t.
The Red Bull team frankly out of the battle for the lead in Sochi. Verstappen struggled with tyres a lot, and managed to improve only for P4. His teammate Alex Albon spent the race near, in Top 10. On 49th lap the driver overtook Carlos Sainz, moving to P5, right behind Verstappen.
In last 7 laps Kevin Magnussen was penalized by 5 seconds for leaving the track at Turn 2.
After the 53 laps of the race the Russian podium was presented by Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Charles Leclerc.
The full results of the Russian GP: