Russian Grand Prix – A handful of points
Scuderia Ferrari leaves the Sochi Autodrom with a sixth place from Charles Leclerc and a 13th from Sebastian Vettel in a race that was linear and devoid of twists and turns after the two incidents that took place on the first lap race direction forced to let the Safety Car in.
Tire management. Charles, who started from tenth position, managed to climb to eighth benefiting from the accidents of Carlos Sainz, who ended up against the barriers in turn 2, and Lance Stroll, who spun in turn 4 following a contact with the same Monegasque, and has then based its race on the perfect management of the tires. In fact, Leclerc was the third-last driver to stop to change tires, moving from Medium to Hard on lap 29. Thanks to his constant and error-free racing conduct, Charles was therefore able to recover two further positions on Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, finishing the race in sixth place behind Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault.
Vettel. Sebastian, in his 250th race in Formula 1, kept his 14th position at the start and fought close to the points throughout the race. The German made his tire change on lap 31 and in the final he was the author of some overtakes but was unable to finish in the top 10.
Next stop. The World Championship now stops for a week: it will resume on 11 October in Germany with the Eifel Grand Prix, which will see the return to the Formula 1 calendar of the Nürburgring circuit, a track on which it competed for the last time in 2013 when Sebastian Vettel won.
Charles Leclerc # 16
“I would say today’s was a pretty positive race since starting from tenth on the grid we managed to finish sixth under the checkered flag. Obviously sixth place is not usually a result for which we can be particularly happy, but today it was the best we could achieve.
At the beginning it was difficult, since my start was not the best and so I entered Turn 1 after losing a few positions. Luckily I was able to recover them immediately and from that moment on my performance was very good because we had a really good pace.
In the first stint I was competitive with the Medium tires which I managed to last for a long time, focusing in particular on this aspect after we noticed some deterioration in the simulations on Friday.
In short, I believe that today we have managed to maximize our potential and this is the most important thing. It was a positive weekend which also helps us mentally ”.
Sebastian Vettel # 5
“It was a rather boring race in which we didn’t have any particular strategy options. My start, on the dirty side of the track, was not the best and so I was unable to take advantage of the accidents and problems of others. When we hit back after the Safety Car I found myself in traffic and struggled to stay close to the cars in front of me.
In the central part of the race the car was faster than yesterday in qualifying but I had problems managing the tires, certainly not facilitated by the fact that I was constantly following other cars. Today I did my best but I couldn’t be fast enough ”.
Mattia Binotto Team Principal
“A step forward, at least compared to the last few races, both in terms of results and competitiveness. This is how we can summarize this weekend’s verdict. Charles’ sixth place came at the end of a very solid race in which he pulled out what he could from the package available: aggressive in the very first stages and then managed with great maturity for a driver who has yet to turn 23. Sebastian was unable to finish in the points, remaining stuck in traffic in the decisive stages of the start. We had brought some small aerodynamic updates here to Sochi: nothing transcendental in terms of performance but a step in the right direction of development of the car. In a league where the balance of power in the middle of the group is very close, it takes very little to progress.