Nico Rosberg extended his run of consecutive wins further in Russia. His seven victories since the closing stages of last season now are only bested by Sebastian Vettel’s incredible nine-win run from 2013. Rosberg and Vettel’s teammates Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen joined the flying German on the podium at Sochi.
Rosberg – once again untouchable on track
It has become the staple of this season. While Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton have all suffered first lap incidents, Rosberg has avoided any incidents at the opening stages of the first four races. The German has also been generally faultless throughout the races and the results have followed. Nobody has really challenged him for the win this season. Hamilton made an attempt in Sochi, churning through five seconds of Rosberg’s lead midway through the race. Then the British driver was warned about a water pressure issue and Rosberg’s win was once again settled almost without a fight.
Mad Dan strikes again
Daniil Kvyat suffered some criticism (mostly from Sebastian Vettel) for his involvement in the first-lap incident in China with Vettel and Raikkonen. So, naturally, Kvyat did even worse in Russia. The local driver had no chance to even score a point at home after crashing into Vettel in the opening lap of the race in Sochi. The German’s race was over then and there. The Russian stayed on track but was handed a solid ten-second stop-go penalty for the collision. From then onwards, Kvyat’s chances to show something special for the home crowd were over. A few more outbursts of first lap madness from the Russian and Max Verstappen move up to the senior team will be swiftly settled.
No progress by Ferrari
Yes, Vettel could not do anything to prevent the first lap incident that took him out. Nevertheless, if Ferrari had done a better job over the weekend, the German would not have needed an unscheduled gearbox change in Russia. This would have probably kept him out of Kvyat’s reach. Instead, Vettel was out without completing a single lap in Sochi. Raikkonen was not particularly impressive either. He could hardly put up a fight against Hamilton early in the race and stayed well behind. Given Ferrari’s championship appetites from before the start of the season, they should be doing a lot better than settling for ‘best of the race’ every race weekend.
More points for Haas
After two marvelous races at the start of the season, the American suffered a setback in China. They were back among the top ten in Russia. Romain Grosjean held on to P8 to bring home four more points for Haas. The Frenchman’s good run sees him in seventh position in the drivers’ championship standings. In the first four races, the Frenchman driving for a rookie team has scored more points than Red Bull Racing’s Kvyat and Williams’s Valtteri Bottas. Yes, Grosjean is a proven quality, but some of the kudos should also go to the team. This must be one of the best seasons for a really new team (such that has not acquired the operations of another outfit).
Alonso open his 2016 account
Given Alonso’s career in Formula 1, he would hardly be celebrating finishing P6 in Russia. This is, however, the Spaniard’s first point-scoring finish this season. Jenson Button also managed to finish P10, so with ten points for the season McLaren moves up to seventh in the constructors’ championship. The engineers at Woking are working tirelessly on upgrades for the Spanish Grand Prix. If these work as expected, then Mclaren can plausibly fight for fifth position in the team championship (currently occupied by Haas) as they do not seem to be as hindered by the Honda power unit as they were last season. There is some light at the end of the tunnel.
The fight is not over for Hamilton
Hamilton’s chmapionship hopes are not over either. Two bad starts and several mechanical issues have hindered the triple world champion in his quest for a win in 2016, but the championship is not over by any means. The British driver has managed to get the best out of the tough situations he was in the first four races of the season. He has scored 57 points to stay only 43 behind Rosberg. This is the longest season in history, so there are more than enough races for Hamilton to catch up and wrestle the title away from his teammate. At some point, the bad luck is also bound to catch up with Rosberg, after swinging so heavily in Hamilton’s direction recently.
||FERNANDO ALONSO||MCLAREN||+1 lap||8|
||KEVIN MAGNUSSEN||RENAULT||+1 lap||6|
||ROMAIN GROSJEAN||HAAS||+1 lap||4|
||SERGIO PEREZ||FORCE INDIA||+1 lap||2|
||JENSON BUTTON||MCLAREN||+1 lap||1|
||DANIEL RICCIARDO||RED BULL RACING||+1 lap||0|
||CARLOS SAINZ||TORO ROSSO||+1 lap||0|
||JOLYON PALMER||RENAULT||+1 lap||0|
||MARCUS ERICSSON||SAUBER||+1 lap||0|
||DANIIL KVYAT||RED BULL RACING||+1 lap||0|
||FELIPE NASR||SAUBER||+1 lap||0|
||ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ||HAAS||+1 lap||0|
||PASCAL WEHRLEIN||MANOR||+2 laps||0|
||MAX VERSTAPPEN||TORO ROSSO||DNF||0|
||NICO HULKENBERG||FORCE INDIA||DNF||0|