2018 Russia Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: A complete, devastating Mercedes smack down on Ferrari.
TRACK: We do like that rundown into Turn 2 at the start.
EVENT: It seems to be picking up in popularity. Being in the top Russian resort area certainly helps.
QUALIFYING: Mercedes makes the first statement, though Bottas nips Hamilton, Magnussen is best of the rest, and Q2 is a complete dud.
RACE: Just keep sticking the Red Bulls in the back of the field, and we'll be entertained...
START: It's all about defense as Bottas defends from Hamilton who defends from Vettel, while in the back offense rules as Verstappen gains six positions, while the safety car stays put for the first time in four years.
HAMILTON: The most unsatisfied winner you'll see. But the points were more important.
BOTTAS: Let's look at something many others are not. Yes, Valtteri does very well at Sochi. However, if Hamilton got the pole, which he would have had he not made mistakes on his two quick laps, we would never be talking about swapping positions.
MERCEDES: The Silver Arrows owns Russia.
VETTEL: Mathematically still possible? Sure. Still optimistic? A bit. But come on. Let's be real...
RAIKKONEN: His new contract is signed, albeit not with Ferrari, and Kimi "disappears" again.
FERRARI: They've done better this year and it lasted longer, but once again, they have not kept up with Mercedes' development.
VERSTAPPEN: Another brilliant, and more importantly, mature and measured drive by Max (19th to ninth in three laps, seventh by lap five, and fifth on lap eight). He appears to have learned his lessons, but will he be able to start a new season this way?
RICCIARDO: Not as thrilling or amazing, but (almost) just as effective coming from the back.
LECLERC: Charles is best of the rest. In a Sauber no less. And he wasn't lapped.
ERICSSON: Marcus did have some good runs at time. He was not a complete embarrassment during his career. But, he was taking up space better suited for others. And soon he won't be.
SAUBER: The Ericsson backed Swedish owners actually decided to replace him. Sauber really is serious about moving up the field.
GIOVINAZZI: A lot of skepticism about Antonio. But, he deserves a full season shot, and then we'll see.
MAGNUSSEN: Two years plus a third year option. That's a lot of confidence in Kevin.
GROSJEAN: While Romain, by the hair on his chinny chin chin, remains in F1.
HAAS: They decided to go with consistency. Not a bad strategy.
RACING POINT: Their drivers behaved themselves and properly followed team orders. And, now Ocon and Perez are tied in points. How cute.
SIROTKIN: Not even Putin himself could do anything about Sergey being dirt slow and finishing dead last amongst the finishers in front of his home crowd.
TORO ROSSO: Just because teams like to do things together, doesn't mean you need to have both drivers drop out on the same lap (four) for the same reason (brake issues) after both spun.
HONDA: Thus, we never got to see how good Honda's upgraded engine is. Now, they have to essentially debut it in front of their home crowd on their own track next week.
KVYAT: The torpedo will be back. I'm sure Vettel is just thrilled. Meanwhile, if you have a driver resume, send it to Helmot Marko. They may be looking for anybody in the second seat...
F2: Artem Markelov did a Max Verstappen, going from 19th starting spot to ninth in three laps of the feature race. Then first on lap six (with the aid of one frontrunner pitting)! A slow pit stop, however, doomed his effort. Meanwhile, George Russell won the sprint race, his sixth overall this year. The magic number for Russell to clinch the title at Abu Dhabi is 11. So, where's his F1 ride...?
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Swap.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 1-2 -- To the drivers, it matters.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Mercedes Benz remains undefeated in Russia with five wins in the modern era (Hamilton three times, Nico Rosberg, and Bottas), and Benz taking the other two wins in 1913 (Russian Georgy Suvorin) and 1914 (German Willy Scholl) in St. Petersburg.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Fernando Alonso acknowledging his nearest threat, Lance Stroll for crying out loud, said to his team, "Yes mate, we are P15. I don't care."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Racing Point's Team Chief, Otmar Szafnauer, commenting on Kevin Magnussen's tactics preventing his driver from passing, "Well, that's par for the course."
SCHEDULE: If Ferrari doesn't stop the bleeding in Japan, start engraving Hamilton's name on the championship trophy.
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