For most of the Russian Grand Prix, it appeared as though Lando Norris was about to make history with his maiden win. It would have been a back-to-back win for McLaren, but rain saw the almost certain win slip away from the British driver in the final moments of the race.
The Russian GP showed the importance of strategy and timing, with Verstappen climbing through the points to finish in P2 after making his way up from the back of the grid. This weekend proved a memorable one for the history book as Lewis Hamilton smashed another milestone with his 100th race win.
Lando Norris and McLaren’s Strategy Failure
It takes a lot to unite the F1 community, but you would struggle to find anyone who wasn’t feeling sympathy for Lando Norris in the final laps of the race. The young British driver looked set to take his maiden victory after qualifying in P1 and leading for most of the race.
Ultimately, it was a strategy failure by deciding to stay on slicks that led to Norris’ first race win slipping away. It was painful to watch as the British driver lost control of his car in the rain, with Lewis Hamilton pitting at the right moment to close the gap and overtake the McLaren.
There’s no denying that Norris will have walked away from Russia hungrier than ever for his first race win after his first pole position in qualifying.
Hamilton’s 100th Race Win
A decisively timed pit stop allowed Hamilton to overtake Norris as the McLaren driver found himself struggling to drive through the rain. After a longer than expected wait, Hamilton once again took the top step of the podium to claim his historic 100th Race win.
The Russian GP is only Hamilton’s second race win in the last 11 races, but it also brought him to the top of the Championship table with two points more than his Red Bull rival. Hamilton’s win also continues Mercedes’ unbroken dominance at the Russian GP.
Verstappen’s Unexpected Podium
After a 3-place grid penalty from Monza, Red Bull decided to take their engine penalty at the Russian GP, with Verstappen starting at the back of the grid. Red Bull’s aim was to get the Dutch driver into the top 5 finishers. He quickly made his way through the pack, before getting stuck behind a DRS train once he made it into the points.
When the rain hit, Verstappen was in 7th place. A perfectly time pit stop allowed the Red Bull to quickly overtake other cars that were yet to pit, finishing in 2nd. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz joined Verstappen and Hamilton on the podium, having led a portion of the race after qualifying in P2.
Elsewhere on the Grid
George Russell continued his points run after qualifying in P3 for Sunday’s race – it was the second time he has out-qualified his future Mercedes team-mate. Sergio Perez missed out on what appeared to be a certain podium finish once the rain hit after deciding to stay out on slicks, with the Mexican driver finishing in P9.
Daniel Riccardo put in another solid performance, finishing in P4, along with Fernando Alonso who was fighting for the podium places before the rain, ultimately finishing in P6. Bottas had a disappointing race, finishing in P5 on the weekend that marked one year since his last race win.
With the Turkish GP less than 2 weeks away, it’s the perfect time to show your team spirit with F1 merchandise. You can cheer for Hamilton with a Mercedes 2021 specia edition burgundy team cap or show your support for McLaren’s Daniel Riccardo with a special edition pink hoodie.