2019 Russia Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: This season has got even wackier. Not only do we have Ferarri now bringing it to Mercedes, we now have the driver drama brought to you by Ferrari. Like we said last week, the titles are virtually all wrapped up this season, but the entertainment certainly isn't.
EVENT: They should just rename this the Mercedes Grand Prix.
TRACK: ESPN's Nate Saunders said it best. This is a dreadful track. This event can't move to St. Petersburg fast enough.
QUALIFYING: Leclerc dominates Vettel, even Hamilton beats out Vettel, McLaren is strong again, a Haas actually gets to Q3, Raikkonen surprisingly doesn't get out of Q1, and Albon is humbled.
RACE: The craziness at Ferarri saved this from being a snoozer.
START: Vettel has a world championship caliber start, Leclerc's fear of starting on the pole pans out, Giovinazzi gets sandwiched setting off a chain reaction, and this time it's not even Grosjean's fault.
HAMILTON: Sometimes, it's better to be lucky than good.
BOTTAS: Never could match Hamilton's speed. But Valtteri did a great job keeping Leclerc behind him.
MERCEDES: They still have a lot of work cut out for them.
LECLERC: Now he knows how Mark Webber felt.
VETTEL: Hard to feel sorry for the backstabbing master.
FERRARI: Welcome to your version of Multi-21. Good luck managing your drivers now.
ALBON: A terrible weekend which Alexander salvaged in the race, going from a pit lane start to fifth place.
HONDA: Everything this weekend was geared towards optimization for the next race at their home track.
SAINZ: A super drive.
MCLAREN: So, after six years of waste with a Honda and then a Renault engine, they end up back with a Mercedes engine for 2021. In the process, they went from championship contender to embarrassing losers to best of the rest, Ron Dennis lost his job, and Fernando Alonso wasted his final years in F1.
RENAULT: Are they even going to stay in F1 in 2021?
RICCIARDO: Even when Renault is running well, luck conspires against Daniel.
RAIKKONEN: Kimi tried to correct his start mistake. Instead, he got a horrible start and got penalized for jumping the start.
FIA: Allowing pit stops during a virtual safety car is not neutralizing the race. If you want the wild card nature of it, fine. Just say so. Don't pretend.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Swap.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 100% -- Mercedes victories in the Russian GP.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Much has been said of Mercedes winning every Russian GP so far -- Lewis Hamilton (2014-15 and 2018-19), Nico Rosberg (2016), and Valtteri Bottas (2017), as well as Benz winning the 1913 (Willy Scholl) and 1914 (Georgy Suvorin) versions. However, in other short-lived grands prix, one driver dominated them all -- Sebastian Vettel, all while driving for Red Bull. Vettel won every Indian GP (2011-13) and three out of four Korean GPs (also 2011-13 with Fernando Alonso winning in 2010).
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Mercedes James Allison explaining the break they got to take the lead over Ferrari due to a virtual safety car which was caused by a Ferrari mechanical breakdown, "It was deliciously ironic."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: After his MGU-K broke causing his DNF, Sebastian Vettel said what every fan has said, "Bring back the f------ V12s!"
SCHEDULE: Japan. Honda. All the pressure is on Red Bull. And to a lesser degree, Toro Rosso.
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