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Hamilton Hits the Century Mark In Wins With Wet Russian GP Finish

Photo Credit: Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.


Varying weather conditions shaped what was one of the more memorable Russian Grand Prix race weekends. As part of the 2021 Formula 1 schedule, the Sochi Autodrom featured Saturday and Sunday competition in a combination of dry and wet conditions. Qualifying started after rain soaked the 5.848-kilometer track with Lando Norris prevailing with his first Formula 1 pole when his McLaren Racing team mounted soft compound slick tires on a drying track late in Q3. Sunday’s 53-lap main event started as a dry race but late rainfall resulted in a gamble that saw Norris losing and Lewis Hamilton hitting the jackpot.

Lando Norris’ McLaren and the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz Jr. led the field to the starting grid for the Russian Grand Prix. As the lights went out, Norris shot-out to an initial advantage but Sainz successfully chased down the orange and blue McLaren to take the lead into the second corner of the opening lap. The #55 car for Scuderia Ferrari maintained a steady lead through the initial stage.

The start of the race was also beneficial for Lance Stroll and Charles Leclerc. The Canadian rolled off the grid in seventh place but managed to weave his Aston Martin into fourth place on the first lap. Multiple incidents of late-race contact with other drivers including teammate Sebastian Vettel would mar Stroll’s efforts early in the Russian event. Finishing 11th, Lance Stroll left Russia having never scored a point at the Sochi race track. Receiving a new power unit in his Ferrari SF21, Leclerc started 19th but launched his way into 12th place on the opening lap.

Photo Credit: Unnamed Photographer/Pirelli

On lap 13, the pole sitter Lando Norris retook the top spot in the race with the aid of DRS setting up a long reign at the front for the McLaren Racing driver surrendering the position after a lap 28 pit stop. After Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso pitted on lap 36, Norris shot back to the lead being pursued by the Mercedes-AMG race car of Lewis Hamilton. As the laps ticked away, the McLaren team appeared set to celebrate a second-consecutive win after enduring 171 races between victories ended by Daniel Ricciardo’s Italian Grand Prix success. Lando Norris’ #4 car kept a tidy lead on the #44 Mercedes-AMG machine until the overcast skies over the track began to drench the race. Though only a handful of laps remained, the grip level on race surface changed rapidly enough to draw most competitors in pit lane for intermediate tires. The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team welcomed Hamilton’s #44 vehicle into their pit stall for lap 49 for the treaded rubber. Despite only four laps left in the Russian Grand Prix and a substantial lead that was more than 18 seconds on lap 50, the #4 car initially tiptoed around the Sochi Autodrom but his hard compound slick tires was unable to find grip on the wet track. Lando Norris’ gap greatly shrank as the McLaren overshot corners until losing the lead to Hamilton on lap 51. Norris took intermediate tires at the end of the lap and settled for a seventh place finish.

With a sizable lead, Lewis Hamilton crossed the finish line winning the 2021 Russian Grand Prix. His 100th Formula 1 grand prix, Hamilton acknowledged, “Getting anywhere near 100 victories wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of the men and women here and back at the factory, I’m so grateful to them - it just feels so special.” in a post-race press release.

Lewis Hamilton also recaptured the points lead in his tight title fight against Max Verstappen but the gap is only two points leaving Russia. Despite starting at the rear of the field due to penalties suffered because of Red Bull Racing installing an all-new Honda power unit in his RB16B race car, Verstappen managed to take the runner-up spot thanks largely to pitting for intermediate tires earlier than many other entrants rising from 7th to 2nd in the final four laps.

Scuderia Ferrari celebrated their fourth podium of the 2021 Formula 1 season in Russia as Carlos Sainz Jr. held on to finish third place after a strong overall performance for the Spaniard. Daniel Ricciardo came short of scoring a podium for McLaren settling for fourth place. Valtteri Bottas and Fernando Alonso crossed the line in fifth and sixth place respectively ahead of Lando Norris. In eighth place, Kimi Raikkonen made a momentous return to his Alfa Romeo Racing team after two-race absence due to a positive COVID-19 test. Sergio Perez finished in the same position he started the Russian Grand Prix with a ninth place coming after the Mexican stopped late for intermediate tires after gambling to remain on track with slicks for several laps late. Starting the event in third place, the race was less kind to Williams Racing’s George Russell. The Brit settles for a tenth place result that is the fourth race in the last five rounds that the driver of the #63 machine scored points.

The last race on the 2021 Formula 1 schedule is a return to the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit for the Turkish Grand Prix.

2021 Formula 1 Season
Russian Grand Prix
Race Results
Pos # Car # Driver Team Engine
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
2 55 Carlos Sainz Jr Scuderia Misson Winnow Ferrari Ferrari
2 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
5 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
6 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine F1 Team Renault
7 4 Lando Norris McLaren F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
8 7 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari
9 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing Honda
10 63 George Russell Williams Racing Mercedes-Benz
11 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
12 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
13 10 Pierre Gasly Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
14 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine F1 Team Renault
15 16 Charles Leclerc Scuderia Misson Winnow Ferrari Ferrari
16 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari
17 22 Yuki Tsunoda Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
18 9 Nikita Mazepin Uralkali Haas F1 Team Ferrari
19 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Racing Mercedes-Benz
20 47 Mick Schumacher Uralkali Haas F1 Team Ferrari
2021 Formula 1 Drivers' World Championship Points (After Russian Grand Prix)
Driver Total Points
1 Lewis Hamilton 246.5
2 Max Verstappen 244.5
3 Valtteri Bottas 151
4 Lando Norris 139
5 Sergio Perez 120
6 Carlos Sainz Jr 112.5
7 Charles Leclerc 104
8 Daniel Ricciardo 95
9 Pierre Gasly 66
10 Fernando Alonso 58
11 Esteban Ocon 45
12 Sebastian Vettel 35
13 Lance Stroll 24
14 Yuki Tsunoda 18
15 George Russell 16
16 Nicholas Latifi 7
17 Kimi Raikkonen 6
18 Antonio Giovinazzi 1
19 Mick Schumacher 0
20 Nikita Mazepin 0
21 Robert Kubica 0
2021 Formula 1 Contructors' Points (After Russian Grand Prix)
Constructor Engine Total Points
1 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes-Benz 397.5
2 Red Bull Racing Honda 364.5
3 McLaren F1 Team Mercedes-Benz 235
4 Scuderia Misson Winnow Ferrari Ferrari 216.5
5 Alpine F1 Team Renault 103
6 Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda 84
7 Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team Mercedes-Benz 59
8 Williams Racing Mercedes-Benz 23
9 Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 7
10 Uralkali Haas F1 Team Ferrari 0


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