Russian GP 2016: Kimi made it! 700th podium finish for Ferrari!

The pecking order was clear in the qualifying; Mercedes was the fastest team, then came Ferrari, and Williams seemed to have taken back their third place in terms of performance and pace. The biggest surprise in the qualifying was Hamilton’s power unit failure - similar to one in China.

The latest ERS drama ruled the Briton out of Q3. This made his teammate Rosberg shine even brighter, as the German absolutely owned the Q3. Sebastian extracted the maximum out of his SF16-H, but a P2 with a 7-tenth gap to pole-sitter Rosberg was the highest result for the German Ferrari ace this time around. It wasn’t much of a comfort, since Sebastian was dropped down to seventh due to his penalty.

The Iceman, on the other hand, made a small mistake at the last corner, and had to settle for fourth. Bottas at the wheel of his FW38 drove an excellent qualifying, making it third on the grid, which turned out to be a front row grid slot after Sebastian’s penalty. Due to the ERS issue the luckless Hamilton had to settle for P10 on the grid.

The start played a dramatic role at Sochi, too. Rosberg took a superb start and maintained his lead. Kimi, too, had a rocket start and made his way past his compatriot Bottas going into Turn 1. Sebastian as well had taken an impressive start, but, going into Turn 2, the German got hit by Red Bull’s Kvyat, which locked his rears. As if that hadn’t been enough, the Russian hit the rear of Sebastian’s SF16-H once again when going into Turn 3! The collision led into a spin, and Sebastian ended up into the barriers; his race was over! What an utterly frustrating turn right at the very start of the race! I mean - what was Kvyat thinking?

A moment later we heard the absolutely furious Sebastian on the team radio. This was already the second retirement for Sebastian in just four races; and, once again, without Sebastian himself being at fault! Kvyat didn’t only ruin Sebastian’s race, but his teammate Ricciardo’s race as well; the Australian had to pit for a new front wing.

A safety car was deployed because there was so much debris on the track after the first-lap incidents (Force India’s Hulkenberg and Manor’s Haryanto had collided, too). Unfortunately, Kimi’s restart left little to hope for, and Williams’ Bottas managed to overtake the Iceman and take his second place back in the race. By this time Hamilton had already made his way through the pack and jumped to fifth. Kimi was struggling a bit with his race pace, and Hamilton didn’t hesitate to use his chance to get past the Finnish Ferrari pilot. Hamilton and Bottas pitted a bit earlier than Kimi; this turned out to be a well-working strategy, as Kimi managed to rejoin the track ahead of Bottas in P3.

Towards the end of the race it was obvious that nobody could challenge Rosberg for the victory. There was more drama to come for Hamilton; the Briton was told on the team radio that he had a water pressure issue with his car. However, lucky for Hamilton, the issue stabilised a few laps later. Rosberg and Hamilton took the 25th 1-2 for Mercedes, making these current Mercedes teammates the most victorious teammates of all time.

Rosberg took everything there was to be taken; the so-called grand slam, which means pole position, victory, lead every lap of the race and setting the fastest lap time. Kimi made an awesome job by completing the podium, making it the 700th podium finish for Ferrari! The Williams teammates Bottas and Massa finished fourth and fifth respectively.

Rosberg’s start to the 2016 season has been utterly convincing; four victories out of four races and the maximum 100 points to Hamilton’s 57. Kimi is now third with 43 points, and Sebastian is 10 points below his teammate. In the constructors’ standings Mercedes has already double the points compared to Ferrari. The F1 circus moves to Europe in a fortnight, and I´m looking forward to Ferrari challenging Mercedes without any technical problems or race-destroying collisions! Forza Kimi! Forza Sebastian! Forza Ferrari!


With passion for racing red,
Iina Huhmarniemi

May 17, 2016