Seb on the podium, Kimi right behind in Sochi
Sochi – Scuderia Ferrari ended the Russian GP in the positions from which they started, third for Seb Vettel and fourth for Kimi Raikkonen. Now it’s time to look ahead to the next Grand Prix, which takes place this coming weekend in Suzuka.
FILM OF THE RACE
Rain before the start caught everyone’s attention, as a few drops fell on the grid, while the sun still shone. The thermometer indicated that air temperature was 24 and the track was at 27.
The first four started on Ultrasoft tyres, with the SF71Hs both on the second row. Seb tucked into Hamilton’s slipstream, getting alongside at Turn 1, but he was unable to get past as they hit the braking area. Kimi was right behind. The pace settled down in the first stint prior to the pit stops.
Bottas came in early on lap 13. Ferrari reacted, bringing Sebastian in next time round for a set of yellow Softs. The number 5 car came out in clear air behind Valtteri. Seb gave it his all and when Hamilton, who had to cover the Ferrari move, came out of the pits, he found the red car ahead of him. The two men engaged in battle, but the Mercedes man managed to retake second place. The race director announced an investigation into Vettel’s first defensive move, but it was deemed that no offence had been committed.
All this left Kimi in the lead and he tried to get out ahead of Ricciardo. He pulled it off and everyone on track was now using the harder tyre. Both Ferraris posted fastest race laps. Verstappen was leading, but he had yet to pit and the others were lined up behind him.
On lap 25, Bottas slowed and let his team-mate through. Seb continued to force the pace, setting the fastest lap on lap 32, followed by Kimi. In terms of race pace, the Ferrari seemed more competitive than in qualifying. Raikkonen did what he had to fend off Verstappen, who only changed tyres in the closing stages. Seb was slowed by backmarkers and that’s how the race ended. “We tried,” said Vettel over the radio. And we’ll try again.
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