Scuderia Ferrari dominated the Russian GP weekend with blistering pace and straight line speed. The Prancing horse set the benchmark on both Friday and Saturday, and Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel put on a show on Sunday. That is, until lap 28.
Russian GP: Ferrari sets the pace
When the lights go out in Sochi, Sebastian Vettel takes the lead coming from P3. The German champion operates with precision and speed around the first corner, exploiting Leclerc’s slipstream. Almost immediately, a Safety Car is issued for contact between Grosjean and Ricciardo, putting the Haas out of the game.
The Prancing Horse battles in front: Vettel’s move to P1 was in fact a strategic call from the team in a pre-race briefing, with the assumption that Lclerc would have the pace to perform a swap soon after. Charles, however, is not able to gain a considerable advantage and the team risks losing the position to Hamilton. The swap is then delayed.
A game of pits
The pit window opens after 22 laps, when the two McLaren change their tyres. Leclerc is the first to come in and choses Medium tyres, while Vettel is left out for more laps. The German, however, isn’t lucky today: an issue to the SF90’s MGU-K puts him out of the race and, funny enough, gifts Lewis Hamilton the lead of the race. VSC is issued first, followed by a long Safety Car to recover Russell’s Williams after a brake failure.
Interesting strategy for Leclerc, pitting again for newer tyres. At race restart, Leclerc pushes Bottas, who defends his P2. Other notable performance include Alex Albon, starting from the pits and recovering to P5, and Carlos Sainz, managing the pace and tyres to grab P6. Next stop: Suzuka International Circuit, Japan, in two week’s time.