2021 Russian Grand Prix

The 2021 Russian Grand Prix (officially known as the Formula 1 VTB Russian Grand Prix 2021) was a Formula One motor race, held on 26 September 2021 at the Sochi Autodrom.[3] It was the 15th round of the 2021 Formula One World Championship.[4] It was the tenth running of the Russian Grand Prix, and the eighth held in Sochi.[5] It was won by Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, who became the first driver to win 100 Grands Prix and regained the championship lead over Max Verstappen.[6]

2021 Russian Grand Prix
Race 15 of 22[a] in the 2021 Formula One World Championship
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Layout of Sochi Autodrom
Layout of Sochi Autodrom
Race details
Date 26 September 2021
Official name Formula 1 VTB Russian Grand Prix 2021
Location Sochi Autodrom, Krasnodar Krai, Russia
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 5.848 km (3.633 mi)
Distance 53 laps, 309.745 km (192.466 mi)
Weather Cloudy and rainy
Pole position
Driver McLaren-Mercedes
Time 1:41.993
Fastest lap
Driver United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes
Time 1:37.423 on lap 39
Podium
First Mercedes
Second Red Bull Racing-Honda
Third Ferrari
Lap leaders

BackgroundEdit

 
Aerial view of Sochi Autodrom.

The event, held over the weekend of 24–26 September, at the Sochi Autodrom,[7] wаs the fifteenth round of the 2021 World Championship. The race take place two weeks after the Italian Grand Prix and two weeks before the Turkish Grand Prix.[4] Despite having to race as a neutral competitor, using the designation RAF (Russian Automobile Federation),[8] it was Nikita Mazepin's home race.[9]

The rules surrounding practice starts for the event have been clarified following controversy in the 2020 event when Lewis Hamilton was penalised with two five-second penalties for conducting two practice starts outside of the designated area. The race director's notes state that when doing practice starts, cars must line up and leave in the order they arrive unless another car is unduly delayed.[10]

Championship standings before the raceEdit

Heading into the race, Max Verstappen led the Drivers' Championship with 226.5 points, five points ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Valtteri Bottas was third with 141 points, nine points ahead of Lando Norris in fourth. Sergio Pérez remained fifth with 118 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Mercedes led with 362.5 points, 18 ahead of Red Bull in second. McLaren were third with 215 points, 13.5 points ahead of Ferrari in fourth. Alpine were fifth with 95 points.[11]

EntrantsEdit

The drivers and teams were the same as the season entry list with no additional stand-in drivers for the race.[12] Kimi Räikkönen returned for this event,[13] after missing the previous two races due to testing positive for coronavirus.[14]

The title sponsor of Ferrari, Mission Winnow, returned for this race. The name and sponsor logos were used by Ferrari at the Bahrain, Emilia Romagna, Portuguese, Spanish, Monaco, and Azerbaijan Grands Prix, but were not used in any races from the French Grand Prix to the Italian Grand Prix for legal reasons.[12]

Tyre choicesEdit

Sole tyre supplier Pirelli allocated the C3, C4, and C5 compounds of tyre to be used in the race.[15]

PenaltiesEdit

At the previous race in Italy, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton made contact, and both retired from the race.[16] The stewards investigated the incident and ruled that Verstappen was predominantly to blame, and awarded him a three-place grid penalty for this event.[17]

PracticeEdit

The first practice session started at 11:30 MST, on 24 September 2021, and ended with no major incidents. Lando Norris spun and grazed the wall on his in lap but he was able to get back to the pits.[18] Valtteri Bottas finished first, with his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in second. Red Bull's Max Verstappen was third.[19]

Free practice 2 started at 15:00 MST, on the same day. It ended with only 1 interruption. Antonio Giovinazzi spun and hit the wall, ending his session and causing a red flag.[20] At the end of the session, AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly ran over a curb and dislodged his front wing. No red flag was required because it was the end of the session. Bottas and Hamilton finished first and second again, with Gasly in third.

Free practice 3 was scheduled to start at 12:00 MST, on 25 September 2021,[21] but it was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.[22]

QualifyingEdit

Qualifying started at 15:00 MST, on 25 September 2021.[7] Lando Norris started on pole for the first time in his Formula One career, having set the fastest time on slick tyres on a drying track. The result was McLaren's first pole position since the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, and Norris became the 102nd driver in the history of the World Championship to achieve a pole position. Carlos Sainz Jr. of Ferrari qualified second to claim his first front-row start in Formula One. George Russell qualified 3rd for Williams, his second top-three starting position of the season, having previously qualified second for the Belgian Grand Prix.[23] Hamilton, who topped the first two segments of qualifying, finished the session in fourth, having crashed into the wall on the pit lane entry when coming in to change from intermediate tyres to slick tyres. His car needed a new front wing, and he was unable to build enough temperature in his tyres for his final flying lap due to the lack of time left in the session, as well as having to move out of the way of cars on their fast laps.[24] Hamilton's delayed stop also held up his teammate Valtteri Bottas, who had also come into the pits for slick tyres. Bottas qualified seventh. The other McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo qualified 5th. Charles Leclerc and Nicholas Latifi did not set lap times in the second segment of qualifying due to engine penalties that would demote them to the back of the grid, regardless of their qualifying results. Championship leader Max Verstappen did not set a lap time in the first segment for the same reason.[25]

Qualifying classificationEdit

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Qualifying times Final
grid
Q1 Q2 Q3
1 4   Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1:47.238 1:45.827 1:41.993 1
2 55   Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1:47.924 1:46.521 1:42.510 2
3 63   George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:48.303 1:46.435 1:42.983 3
4 44   Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:45.992 1:45.129 1:44.050 4
5 3   Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1:48.345 1:46.361 1:44.156 5
6 14   Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1:47.877 1:45.514 1:44.204 6
7 77   Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:46.396 1:45.306 1:44.710 161
8 18   Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1:48.322 1:46.360 1:44.956 7
9 11   Sergio Pérez Red Bull Racing-Honda 1:46.455 1:45.834 1:45.337 8
10 31   Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1:48.099 1:46.070 1:45.865 9
11 5   Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1:47.205 1:46.573 N/A 10
12 10   Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:47.828 1:46.641 N/A 11
13 22   Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 1:48.854 1:46.751 N/A 12
14 6   Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:48.252 No time N/A 182
15 16   Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:48.470 No time N/A 193
16 7   Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari 1:49.586 N/A N/A 13
17 47   Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1:49.830 N/A N/A 14
18 99   Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari 1:51.023 N/A N/A 174
19 9   Nikita Mazepin[b] Haas-Ferrari 1:53.764 N/A N/A 15
20 33   Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing-Honda No time N/A N/A 205
107% time: 1:53.4116
Source:[27][28]
Notes
  • ^1Valtteri Bottas received a 15-place grid penalty for exceeding his quota of power unit elements.[29]
  • ^2Nicholas Latifi was required to start the race from the back of the grid for exceeding his quota of power unit elements.[30]
  • ^3Charles Leclerc was required to start the race from the back of the grid for exceeding his quota of power unit elements.[31]
  • ^4Antonio Giovinazzi received a five-place grid penalty for unscheduled gearbox change. The penalty was nullified by penalties incurred by other drivers. As a result, he made a net gain of one place from his qualifying position.[32]
  • ^5Max Verstappen received a three-place grid penalty for causing a collision at the previous round.[17] He was later required to start the race from the back of the grid for exceeding his quota of power unit elements.[33] Verstappen neglected to set a qualifying time because of his penalties.[34]
  • ^6 – As qualifying was held on a wet track, the 107% rule was not in force.[35]

RaceEdit

 
Cars on the starting grid

The race started at 15:00 MST, on 26 September 2021.[7] Carlos Sainz Jr. took the lead from Lando Norris into turn two, while Lewis Hamilton fell down the order to sixth. Fernando Alonso overtook Hamilton at the start, but the latter re-overtook on the following lap by going around the outside of turn three. Charles Leclerc climbed up to 12th after starting from 19th. On lap 13, Norris overtook Sainz to retake the lead of the race. Norris would remain in the lead until the closing five laps, when rain began to fall, resulting in many of the drivers pitting for intermediate tyres, including Hamilton, Max Verstappen, and Sainz, on lap 49. On lap 51, Norris aquaplaned at turn 5, allowing Hamilton to take the lead and win the race. Norris finally entered the pits at the end of the lap for intermediate tyres; however, Norris aquaplaned on the pit entry and crossed the white line separating the pit lane entry from the track, for which he was reprimanded.[36] Norris finished the race in seventh. Verstappen finished the race in second from 20th on the starting grid, and Sainz finished in third, taking his fifth Formula One podium.[6] Hamilton's race victory made him the first driver in Formula One history to take 100 wins.[37]

Post-raceEdit

Hamilton hailed his Mercedes team after securing his 100th win.[38] Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff hailed Hamilton's achievement of 100 wins as "mindblowing".[39] The 1998 and 1999 Formula One World Champion Mika Häkkinen felt patience was the key factor in Hamilton securing the race victory.[40] Valtteri Bottas felt a podium would have been possible for him if he had pitted one lap earlier for intermediate tyres.[41] Alonso also believed a podium had been possible on merit for him before the weather intervention.[42] McLaren said it would launch a review of the procedures which contributed to Norris not pitting earlier for intermediate tyres when the rain started to fall.[43] McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl said the team would also would not dwell on what might or should have been.[44] Norris said he was "not happy" with his result and stated he may have pitted for wet weather tyres had he been given clearer information on the weather by the team.[45][46] Formula One Managing Director Ross Brawn praised Norris for his weekend performance, though felt his inexperience showed in the tricky conditions during the race. Brawn defended Norris, pointing out that there were occasions when drivers were correct to ignore team orders and follow their insticts. Brawn also praised Formula One veterans like Kimi Räikkönen, Alonso, and Hamilton for how they responded to the same situation.[47]

Former Renault Formula One driver-turned-analyst and radio commentator Jolyon Palmer said he felt the responsibility for not pitting Norris soon enough for wet weather tyres lay with the McLaren team.[48] Seven-times Grand Prix race winner Juan Pablo Montoya said that Norris's performance meant he now would know he could get job done.[49] Red Bull Racing hailed Verstappen's second place finish from starting last on the grid as "like a victory".[50] Alfa Romeo Racing team boss Frédéric Vasseur felt Norris should have been given a time penalty for his pit entry infringement.[51] Journalist David Tremayne praised Norris for his performance and said Norris should learn and take heart from the experiences of past British Formula One champions, such as James Hunt, Nigel Mansell, and Damon Hill, all of whom had to deal with disappointment of near misses trying to get their first Grand Prix wins before achieving them.[52]

Race classificationEdit

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 44   Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 53 1:30:41.001 4 25
2 33   Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing-Honda 53 +53.271 20 18
3 55   Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 53 +1:02.475 2 15
4 3   Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 53 +1:05.607 5 12
5 77   Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 53 +1:07.533 16 10
6 14   Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 53 +1:21.321 6 8
7 4   Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 53 +1:27.224 1 71
8 7   Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari 53 +1:28.955 13 4
9 11   Sergio Pérez Red Bull Racing-Honda 53 +1:30.076 8 2
10 63   George Russell Williams-Mercedes 53 +1:40.551 3 1
11 18   Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 53 +1:56.1982 7
12 5   Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 52 +1 lap 10
13 10   Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 52 +1 lap 11
14 31   Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 52 +1 lap 9
15 16   Charles Leclerc Ferrari 52 +1 lap 19
16 99   Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari 52 +1 lap 17
17 22   Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 52 +1 lap 12
18 9   Nikita Mazepin[b] Haas-Ferrari 51 +2 laps 15
193 6   Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 47 Accident damage 18
Ret 47   Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 32 Oil leak 14
Fastest lap:   Lando Norris (McLaren-Mercedes) – 1:37.423 (lap 39)
Source:[28][53][54]
Notes
  • ^1 – Includes one point for fastest lap.
  • ^2Lance Stroll received a post-race ten-second time penalty for causing a collision with Pierre Gasly. His final position was not affected by the penalty.[53]
  • ^3Nicholas Latifi was classified, as he completed more than 90% of the race distance.[53]

Championship standings after the raceEdit

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Formula One plan to hold twenty-two Grands Prix. This remains subject to the cancellation of rounds due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the replacement of any rounds which are cancelled.[1][2]
  2. ^ a b Nikita Mazepin is Russian, but he competed as a neutral competitor using the designation RAF (Russian Automobile Federation [ru]), as the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld a ban on Russia competing at World Championships. The ban was implemented by the World Anti-Doping Agency in response to the state-sponsored doping program of Russian athletes.[26]

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ Benson, Andrew (6 July 2021). "Australian Grand Prix: Formula 1 race and Moto GP round called off". BBC Sport. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  3. ^ "2021 Formula 1 - Russian Grand Prix". All Sports DB. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
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  12. ^ a b "2021 Russian Grand Prix – Entry List" (PDF). Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. 23 September 2021. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
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  37. ^ Turner, Kevin (26 September 2021). "Lewis Hamilton's 100 wins – 2008 British GP, 2020 Turkish GP and more". Motorsport.com. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
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  39. ^ "'Mind blowing' – Mercedes boss Wolff reflects on Hamilton hitting 100 Grand Prix wins". www.formula1.com. Formula One. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  40. ^ Hakkinen, Mika. "Mika Häkkinen: F1 is really giving us a season to remember, as Lando Norris' heroics proved at Sochi". www.unibet.com. Unibet. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
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  42. ^ "'I really thought first podium was possible – and on merit' says Alonso after P6 in Russia". www.formula1.com. Formula One. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  43. ^ Mitchell, Scott (27 September 2021). "McLaren needs to work out why it didn't overrule Norris". The Race. The Race Media Ltd. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  44. ^ Foster, Michelle (28 September 2021). "McLaren not dwelling on what 'should have' been". www.planetf1.com. Planet F1. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  45. ^ Matt Beer, Scott Mitchell (26 September 2021). "Norris Says He Needed Firmer McLaren Info to Change to Inters". The Race. The Race Media Ltd. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  46. ^ "Lando Norris Reacts To Sochi Heartbreak – 2021 Russian Grand Prix". www.youtube.com. Formula 1 via Youtube. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  47. ^ Brawn, Ross. "Ross Brawn on THOSE Sochi strategy calls, Norris's pain, and Hamilton's historic 100th winl". www.formula1.com. Formula One. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
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  49. ^ Cleeren, Filip. "Montoya: Norris now knows he can get the job done in F1". www.motorsport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  50. ^ Noble, Jonathan. "Red Bull says Verstappen's Sochi F1 podium "like a victory"". www.motorsport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
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  52. ^ Tremayne, David (30 September 2021). "Why Norris should take heart from former champs Hunt, Mansell and Hill after his Sochi woe". Formula1.com. Formula One Administration. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
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  54. ^ "Formula 1 VTB Russian Grand Prix 2021 – Fastest Laps". Formula1.com. 26 September 2021. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  55. ^ a b "Russia 2021 - Championship". www.statsf1.com.

External linksEdit

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2021 Italian Grand Prix
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2021 Turkish Grand Prix
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2020 Russian Grand Prix
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2022 Russian Grand Prix