Sochi: Revolution in Russia

Sochi: Revolution in Russia

Postby meteorite » Sat Apr 29, 2017 6:34 pm

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, an epoch-making event that changed the history of the world then and created the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that since, in recent years, has metamorphosed into the Russian state. Lately the footprint on the map has changed, government policies have changed, the names of cities have changed (or been restored), even the flag has changed, but the shade of the revolutionary spirit lives on.

And so the Formula One circus has come to Sochi, a track where every single racing lap since the 2014opener has been led by a Mercedes racer. But this year the Mercedes hegemony is being challenged, and when the lights go out tomorrow - the eve of May Day - the charge off the grid will be led not by the Silver Arrows but by the appropriately flaming red of the Ferrari team, Vettel holding the pole.

How did this come about? It isn't the failure of the dominating Mercedes powertrain; the factory team leads a contingent that makes up half the points positions on the grid. But the Sochi circuit has been recently repaved, and Team Mercedes have not yet managed to find the settings that will control the rear suspension in the way they need. Ferrar did and with their newfound power this year got ahead. Here is how it all shook out:

2017 FORMULA 1 VTB RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX - QUALIFYING

28 30 Apr 2017 Sochi Autodrom, Sochi

Pos No Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:34.493 1:34.038 1:33.194 20
2 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:34.953 1:33.663 1:33.253 18
3 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:34.041 1:33.264 1:33.289 18
4 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.409 1:33.760 1:33.767 19
5 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:35.560 1:35.483 1:34.905 20
6 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 1:35.828 1:35.049 1:35.110 20
7 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:35.301 1:35.221 1:35.161 18
8 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:35.507 1:35.328 1:35.285 21
9 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:36.185 1:35.513 1:35.337 18
10 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1:35.372 1:35.729 1:35.430 20
11 55 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:35.827 1:35.948 18
12 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:36.279 1:35.964 18
13 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:35.984 1:35.968 18
14 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:36.408 1:36.017 16
15 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1:36.353 1:36.660 14
16 30 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:36.462 9
17 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 1:37.070 9
18 94 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 1:37.332 9
19 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:37.507 9
20 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:37.620 9

Q1 107% time - 1:40.623

Yes, you saw it right. Even though the first four cars were separated only by tenths of a second on 93-second laps, the front row of the grid is a Ferrari lockout. They haven't managed that since 2008. Vettel's last pole was Singapore in 2015. And how long has it been since Hamilton was out-qualified by a new teammate? Yet this is the second time Bottas has done so already. Revolutionary. Notably, Bottas old teammate with Williams has split the Red Bull pair on the next row, with Nico Hulkenberg for Renault on the row behind for a resurgent Renault, fending off an equally resurgent Force India team taking up row five. Following positions are as shown.

There are no guarantees in racing. The polesitters could collide with, and eliminate, each other in the first turn. It's happened before. But the prowess shown in practice and qualifying says the before two minutes are out the Ferraris will have broken the Mercedes monopoly on laps led and by the time teh finish flag falls, the Red Revolution will be into the history of F1.
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Re: Sochi: Revolution in Russia

Postby meteorite » Sun Apr 30, 2017 5:43 pm

Revolutionary events don't always work out as predicted, or planned. In fact, starting from pole at Sochi may not be the best deal, as Vettel pointed out in an interview at the conclusion of the race. It's the best part of a kilometer to to first turn and if you're first away, you get the full blast of any headwind coming down the straight, and end up acting as a windbreak for the challenger behind, who can the slipstream and pass you into the corner itself. Which is exactly what Bottas did. Hamilton tried the same tactic against Raikkonen on the inside but the track was slippery and Hamilton couldn't pull it off.

The race start had already been delayed a lap when Fernando Alonso's McLaren-Honda died (again) on the formation lap and the cars had to be sent around again. The grid formed up, the lights went out, and Bottas jumped into the lead as described above. Behind, Jolyon Palmer came under attack from Romain Grosjean's Haas making an over-ambitious inside dive in the first turn. But a car on the outside meant Palmer couldn't evade, Grosjean hit Palmer's real wheel, and spn him into a swerve that meant he hit Grosjean broadside. This brought out the safety car as the wreckage was cleared away. On the restart Bottas, now the leader, caught everyone napping and got a jump that seriously extended his lead as the safety car pulled off.

Subsequently Bottas gradually extended his lead until around half-way, when he stopped for tires. However Vettel did not mirror him immediately so when the Ferrari did come in for his mandatory stop Bottas returned t his lead before Vettel could exit pit lane. But Vettel now had fresher tires ad the chase was on. Vettel closed inexorably as the two cars exchanged fastest laps and the clock counted down. Felipe Massa was called into his pit with a slow puncture on one tire, dropping him from 6th to 9th relatively repositioning him on the track. He emerged into a scrap between Esteban Ocon of Force India and Nico Hulkenberg's Renault, forming an obstacle for Bottas and Vettel to thread through in the last couple of laps. They made it as they ran out of laps, Vettel losing pace as he made a bobble when Massa was slow to move over in the turn before the finish line. Raikkonen and Hamilton trailed with sick and failing cars.

So Mercedes still owned the top spot on the podium but it was his new teammate, not Hamilton, who stood there to accept the trophy from Vladimir Putin. The would-be usurpers came oh-so-close (six-tenths of a second, after 52 laps) but the victory was incomplete. For the others, Red Bull's Ricciardo with a brake on fire, a problem that slowed Verstappen but which he nursed to the finish. Other cars also had various problems with the heat, so tehre was very little in the way of position changes beyond the tire stops. But with the rivetting battle at the front of the field hardly anyone even notice, and Bottas' victory was immensely popular all around.


2017 FORMULA 1 VTB RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX - RACE RESULT

28 30 Apr 2017 Sochi Autodrom, Sochi

Pos No Driver Car Laps Time/Retired Pts
1 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 52 1:28:08.743 25
2 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 52 +0.617s 18
3 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 52 +11.000s 15
4 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 52 +36.320s 12
5 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 52 +60.416s 10
6 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 52 +86.788s 8
7 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 52 +95.004s 6
8 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 52 +96.188s 4
9 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 51 +1 lap 2
10 55 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 51 +1 lap 1
11 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 51 +1 lap 0
12 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 51 +1 lap 0
13 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 51 +1 lap 0
14 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 51 +1 lap 0
15 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 51 +1 lap 0
16 94 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 50 +2 laps 0
NC 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 5 DNF 0
NC 30 Jolyon Palmer Renault 0 DNF 0
NC 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 0 DNF 0
NC 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 0 DNS 0
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