2021 Russia Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: You get this feeling with the way the year has been playing out, that an oddball occurrence or two will ultimately decide this championship.
EVENT: A huge letdown in atmosphere after Spa, Zandvoort, and Monza.
TRACK: That was a surprise. Plenty of passing in the dry before the rains came.
QUALIFYING: Norris ups the ante for McLaren, Sainz saves Ferrari's qualifying, Russell is again impressive in the wet, and Hamilton suffers a self inflicted wound.
RACE: Weirdly, this is a race that actually was spoiled by rain. There was plenty of intrigue, strategy, passing, and nail biting tension that the race didn't need to be "saved" by the weather.
START: Sainz gets a poor start but because of that he gets the slipstream to pass Norris for the lead, ditto for Hamilton but he gets boxed in and falls back, and Ricciardo is all over Alonso's ass before finally passing him.
HAMILTON: Trusted and listened to his team, allowed Lewis to pull this one out of the bag.
NORRIS: Look at his time for lap 50. And, just watching Lando in the tricky conditions, it was obvious he was the fastest one on the track at that moment, so one can understand his reluctance to pit. However, the rain picked up, and ... yes, we'll say it ... his chances washed away on the slicks.
VERSTAPPEN: Luck was definitely on Max's side, as without the rain, he probably had a seventh place finish and a larger points gap to Hamilton.
SAINZ: Another driver who made out with the rain.
BOTTAS: A lucky fifth considering he was quite lackluster on a track which is usually one of his best.
MERCEDES: The German army may have failed in Russia, but Mercedes is undefeated there.
MCLAREN: They need to be more emphatic, especially with a young driver, and made the decision for him.
RED BULL: They played the long game this race. It paid off handsomely.
ALONSO: A fine weekend overall for the ageless wonder.
RUSSELL: Not too long ago, wild celebrations would have broken out if George got a point. Now, it almost seems disappointing when he scores "only" one point.
STROLL: We understand when conditions go to hell, you are so busy trying to keep it on the track, you lose your sense of situational awareness. But Lance, that's still a bad look to run right into your teammate.
LECLERC: Got most of the weekend wrong.
ALPATAURI: Out to lunch.
HAAS: So, you are indeed keeping both your drivers. Oh whoopie-doo.
F2: Championship leader Oscar Piastri extended his lead with a pole and victory in the feature race combined with Guanyu Zhou spinning and stalling in Saturday's first sprint race formation lap with the second sprint race cancelled. The Aussie now has a 36 point lead.
F3: Norway's Dennis Hauger only needed the rescheduled Friday race to clinch the championship with a second place finish. Good thing, as Hauger got knocked into a spin in Sunday's race (after Saturday's race was cancelled) and out of the points. Defending champion, American Logan Sargeant, won on Friday, his first of the season. Aussie Jack Doohan took the Sunday win.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Drama.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 100.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Lewis Hamilton's first victory was in the 2007 Canadian GP, the sixth race of his career. He also took his first pole position. This was the race where Robert Kubica had his massive crash. There were four safety car periods. Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella were disqualified. Following the McLaren-Mercedes was Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber) and Alexander Wurz (Williams-Toyota) who started 19th. Super Aguri scored their first points when Takuma Sato finished sixth with a daring outside pass over reigning world champion, Fernando Alonso.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: Formula 1's official twitter account: "HISTORY!!! 💯 @LewisHamilton becomes the first F1 driver ever to reach 100 wins 👏👏👏"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: About halfway through the race, when Mercedes realized their strategy could work, even without considering the possibility of rain, Toto Wolff said to Lewis Hamilton, "We can win this race."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Lando Norris fatefully answers the final time McLaren asks him if he wants to put for intermediates, "No!"
SCHEDULE: We're giving up trying to predict what will happen next. So, we'll just say, off to Turkey in two weeks.
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