Lewis Hamilton Wins The Russian Grand Prix – REPORT AND DRIVER INTERVIEWS

Lewis Hamilton Wins The Russian Grand Prix – REPORT AND DRIVER INTERVIEWS

Race Weekend: 2018 Russian Grand Prix

Location: Sochi, Russia

Normally, the Russian Grand Prix doesn’t provide anything too exciting – with limited overtaking and not much action apart from the first lap however today, it all changed and we were provided with plenty of overtaking, battles and a story that’s now making the rounds in the media, all to do with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

During the race, Bottas was told to allow Hamilton past him to keep him safe from Vettel due to a blister on his tyre and to keep the gap as wide as possible in the World Championship. Being a team player, Bottas moved to the side, allowing his team-mate to go past.

This is where there’s a little bit of an uproar and backlash from the media and fans alike – towards the end of the race, a team order was given from Toto Wolff to the strategist team, ordering Bottas to allow Hamilton to stay in the lead – effectively winning the race.

Bottas started to question this in the latter part of the race – saying at one point “how are we ending the race….?” to which he was told “as we are now” with him being in P2 despite him deserving the win.

It has to be said, Lewis Hamilton has since spoken to the media (along with Bottas) saying that he didn’t want to win the race like this – mentioning that he asked the team if Valtteri could just speed up when Vettel was closing the gap so his team-mate wouldn’t lose the race.

Vettel is the only person out of the Mercedes team to in fact support the Mercedes strategy but below – you can see what drivers (and team members) have to say about the race, the results and of course, this strategy.

MERCEDES – 2018 RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX REPORT AND DRIVER INTERVIEWS

LEWIS HAMILTON

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Lewis Hamilton: “Valtteri was an incredible gentleman today. Honestly, it’s the strangest day I can remember having in the sport in my career. I remember, we have crossed this situation and discussion before – it’s always felty super uncomfortable and I was like, “Look, I want to win the right way” that’s always how it is for me.”

“I always say “Look, as racing drivers, we exist to win and if you tell us we can’t win, it’s like you are taking our air away, our life away – it’s that deep.” I would never wish it upon anyone else, you know, I made sure when we were in a meeting before.”

“There are stronger heads in the team who are like “we have to win this” – it’s all about the win. We have got to win both Championships, we don’t care who finishes ahead. I think ultimately, this is important right this second to acknowledge Valtteri because as I said, he was just the ultimate gentleman – it’s very weird to feel down but we’ve also got to feel grateful because the guys back at the factory have been working so hard and did an incredible job this weekend.”

“We have to embrace the moment but still, it’s a victory on my list which I’m the least proud of.”

VALTTERI BOTTAS

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Valtteri Bottas: “It’s been a tough day – we got a good result or us a team and with maximum points but for me personally, this was a difficult race. Although – I did understand the situation, if you put yourself in the team leaders’ shoes, for them – it doesn’t matter if it’s me or Lewis winning as long as we are a 1-2 and we get the maximum points.”

“For the end of the year, it’s only Lewis fighting for the Championship and I am not so for the team, it’s always better that Lewis wins – that’s how it goes.”

“It’s not ideal for me as an athlete and as a person but, it’s a fact – we are playing as a team and I am prepared to play as a team. I took one for the team today and I will take one for the team tomorrow – thats how it goes but I’m also looking forward to next year and starting a new season.”

“I know that today, I am the winner, I know that myself and this weekend – I am the winner of this. I don’t have a trophy but it doesn’t matter, that’s how it is and I move on.”

TOTO WOLFF

Toto Wolff: “We are all racers at hear and what we want to see is out and out racing and may the quickest man win but then, we are also a bunch of rational guys – we discuss things in the morning and then everything is different in the race.”

“This is what happened today, we should be over the moon with a 1-2 and fundamentally, we are but we also feel that we went against Valtteri – it would have been a race win for him and we changed that.”

“Valtteri is a team player – a tremendous team player and it’s deflating for a driver and for a team. We needed to attack and this caused a blister on Lewis’ tyre and told Valtteri to switch, he did it immediately – this is who you want to have within a team because you need to rely on these guys in the same way that they rely on us. This is what makes it feel worse….”

“There is a harsh reality and it’s very difficult at times – we have finished 1-2 and we have a 50 point advantage, that feels good on a day that has otherwise been very difficult.”

FERRARI – 2018 RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX REPORT AND DRIVER INTERVIEWS

SEBASTIAN VETTEL

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Sebastian Vettel: “Today the feeling with the car was very good and I was able to push, but I just wasn’t as fast as the others. Obviously, today it was better than yesterday in terms of pace, but it wasn’t enough to put pressure on our competitors.”

“We tried everything and I am happy that we got a podium finish, but obviously this is not the result we were looking for. My start was good, but there wasn’t much track space for me and I could go nowhere. After pit stop we were able to overcome Lewis, but he could pull ahead more than us and at the end there was nothing to do.”

“We lost some points during the two last races and it doesn’t help, but we have our plan to follow and hopefully we can make some progress in the races to come.”

“Maybe the next couple of tracks are better suited for us, we will know when we get there. We need to keep pushing and try; who knows what will happen in the next races.”

KIMI RAIKKONEN

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Kimi Raikkonen: “Not much happened in my race today, I was most of the time on my own. Unfortunately, this is what we kind of expected to happen.”

“The feeling with the car was pretty good; with the first set of tyres we suffered a bit with the front left, but then on the softs the car was very nice to drive.”

“Unfortunately yesterday in qualifying we were not fast enough and obviously today in the race it was very difficult to overtake.”

MAURIZIO ARRIVABENE

Maurizio Arrivabene: “Right from Friday, the Sochi weekend was rather a difficult one for us. Despite all our efforts to find the ideal set-up, neither on Saturday nor in the race were we competitive enough to worry our closest rivals.”

“Compared to the way we performed at other circuits, something was missing here and so we were unable to reduce the points gap.”

“On paper, the next race in Japan should have very similar characteristics to the one at Silverstone, so in Suzuka, we will get a more precise indication as to the potential of our car.”

“If it goes well, we will know that, despite the difficult situation in terms of the classification, we still have the right weapons with which to fight all the way to the very end.”

RED BULL RACING – 2018 RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX REPORT AND DRIVER INTERVIEWS

MAX VERSTAPPEN

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Max Verstappen: “To come from the back to finish fifth was a very good result today. I had a good start, a good first lap and from then onwards we could go through the traffic more easily than expected and also manage the tyres very well. It was a bit tricky at the start because Pierre stalled in front of me and I had to go around him.”

“Then going into Turn 2 we were careful not to have any contact and after the first eight laps we were fifth and still in the pit stop window of Ferrari and Mercedes.”

“After they pitted they couldn’t get past me. Unexpectedly, I was in the lead of the race and could keep them behind which shows that we really had very good pace, even on old tyres.”

“Then once we stopped, we just had to bring it home. The tyre strategy was right because the Soft tyres were the only option we had in order to go as long as possible into the race.”

“Today was better than expected, so I hope that the rest of the races this season will also be better than we expect. I enjoyed myself out there and this is a good result for my birthday.”

DANIEL RICCIARDO

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Daniel Ricciardo: “The first lap was a bit of a mess and there are a few little things I will look back on and try to do better. Two cars were fighting at Turn 8 and as I went to pass them I was on the marbles, then off-track, which lost me positions.”

“I then tried to take the slipstream of what I think was the McLaren but when I pulled out of the tow I hit some debris damaging my front wing. From then on, we had a bit of a limp and my race was pretty lonely.”

“I think as a Team, fifth and sixth was probably the best we could achieve from the back of the grid today but obviously I would like to have been closer to fifth than seventh. Although we had better pace than expected this weekend I think we still made the right decision to take the penalties and on paper Suzuka, Austin and Mexico look better for us.”

“I may have forgotten what champagne tastes like and I definitely want more before the season is out, so I will do what I can in Suzuka to get that.”

MCLAREN – 2018 RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX REPORT AND DRIVER INTERVIEWS

FERNANDO ALONSO

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Fernando Alonso: “It was quite a long race for us today. We were the only one with two sets of Soft tyres so we stopped very early trying to undercut some people and push them to pit early too and some did but the yellow-banded tyre behaved with no issues throughout the whole race, so our strategy didn’t turn out as well as we might have hoped.”

“In terms or pure performance, we couldn’t really do much. Unfortunately, today there weren’t any retirements or Safety Cars, so 14th was the position we deserved.”

“No points for us today. Let’s look ahead to Japan – hopefully we can score some there…”

STOFFEL VANDOORNE

stoffel-vandoorne-belgium

Stoffel Vandoorne: “This was more or less what we expected before the start of the race. There weren’t really any incidents, and there weren’t too many overtakes for us.”

“I had a bit of fun at the beginning with both Williams drivers; then with Carlos at the end, whom I managed to overtake, but apart from that it was a very lonely race for me.”

“I think we pitted later than was really optimal: I lost about 10 seconds on the track, and it was impossible to make that time back during the race.”

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