A Russian Rollercoaster: The 2015 Russian GP

QUICK RANT ALERT:

Dear FOM,

If we have to watch THREE different replays of drivers changing positions having had to watch Hamilton go through two corners just to appease Mercedes, you’re doing it wrong.

Well, you can’t say that wasn’t tense.

Having had very little running over the course of the weekend thanks to diesel spillages, rain, and a horrific crash for Carlos Sainz, F1 entered uncharted territory early on in the race, as the longest running achieved across all three sessions this weekend was 39 laps by both Sainz and Alonso.

It was certainly more racy than previous Grand Prixs, with numerous coming togethers and impressive moves up and down the field (the Mathiesons screamed at the telly several times). It’s difficult to try and do this race justice, but we’ll give it a go.

Nico Hulkenberg had an unfortunate spin on the first lap, and though it looked for a moment as though luck was on his side and he was in for a race fighting through the pack, Erikkson had nowhere to go as he came round the corner and ended up collected by the Force India.

Nico Rosberg, almost faultless in a disrupted weekend, was looking supreme having made a great start and looking like victory was his for the taking before reliability gremlins reared their ugly head again and resulted in his retirement, handing the lead to teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Now 73 points behind his teammate and only 100 points left to fight for, and having slipped behind Sebastian Vettel in the Drivers’ Championship, his chances of being World Champion are all but over.

Days after being announced as part of Haas’s driver line-up for 2016, Romain Grosjean lost control of his car and had a big impact with the Techpro barrier. Here’s hoping he makes a full recovery and a good race at his future team’s home GP.

Carlos Sainz made his own impressive recovery from his 200mph trip into the barrier (and a brief stay in hospital) and after being cleared to race had made his way from last place to 7th, before suffering a brake failure and having to retire.

Daniel Ricciardo looked to have capitalised on strategy having been one of the few who pitted under the first safety car and was on for a surprising fifth place before reporting problems on the car and pulling off the track in the final few laps.

Bottas and Raikkonen were fighting Perez for the last remaining podium position, and both pulled impressive moves to get pass the Mexican on the final lap. However Raikkonen decided to take the fight to Bottas for 3rd place, and ultimately took his fellow Finn out and gifted the podium back to Perez.

A solid outing from Sebastian Vettel saw him secure second place in both the race and the Drivers’ Championship. Felipe Massa recovered from a poor qualifying to take an impressive fourth place, a small consolation for the Williams team after Bottas’ hard work reaped no rewards.

Alonso told the BBC that finishing his 250th Grand Prix ‘just outside of the points’ was the realistic aim for the McLarens, so to finish in the last two points-scoring positions must have felt akin to a race win for the struggling team. It’s only the second time this year that both McLarens have finished in the points – whilst this may have been capitalising on the many retirements that occurred, it gives us some hope that McLaren are making steps forward for the 2016 season.

UPDATE: Following investigations by the stewards, Raikkonnen and Alonso have been handed time penalties, demoting the Spaniard out of the points and Raikkonen to eighth. This result means that Mercedes win the 2015 Constructors’ Championship.

In another small victory, my guinea pig from the Singapore GP tuned in again this weekend, and thoroughly enjoyed the racing (many of our texts were in Cap Locks as we reacted to events such as Ricciardo’s retirement and the Bottas/Raikkonnen incident):

This is definitely better than Singapore. So good. So tense.-

Imi Hunter

Another impressive outing for Formula One; much like to good form shown at the Hungarian GP. Will the US GP be able to deliver another cracker of a race before Formula One returns to Mexico? Lets hope the final four races are able to offer us some great action up and down the field as we watch Hamilton inevitably clinch his third world title.

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