Rate the Race and Driver of the weekend – Round 16 Sochi, Russia, 2018
Mean Reader score: 4.57 Rated = 12/16
4.57 – this is a middling score for this track- higher than 2017’s 4.26 but lower than 2016’s 5.2.
It has rated pretty low in the season overall. What made it so bad? Bottas shone again at this circuit, taking pole with a new circuit record. Was it that Mercedes dominated the weekend and Ferrari didn’t deliver (in free practice?).
Was it that Ferrari only brought one set of softs for Vettel? Was it that Hamilton’s WDC score is now tainted by team orders? Was it that Bottas was given a raw deal by being told to move over for Hamilton, and then to hold position on the last lap, gifting Hamilton the win?
Was it that the championship ‘race’ is pretty much over, with Hamilton now being 50 points ahead of Vettel and Mercedes 53 points ahead of Ferrari? It was clear form the results that opinion was pretty low, with the 0s, 1s and 2s scoring far more than the 8s,9s and 10s.
The start was clean, Mercedes worked beautifully as a team at the beginning, with Bottas supplying then abruptly removing the tow from Vettel and transferring it to Hamilton, ensuring they went into turn 2 in starting order: Verstappen cut a swathe through the field on a track which is supposedly difficult to overtake, (leading the race at one point): The two Toro Rossos had simultaneous brake failures: Mercedes fluffed a crucial pit stop, bringing Hamilton out behind Vettel: Vettel and Hamilton had a bit of a dog fight for P4, after said pit stop: Mercedes played the villain by refusing to allow Bottas the win and Force India swapped and then re-swapped Ocon and Perez in a (failed) attempt to get past Magnussen in their race with Hulkenberg.
So, why WAS it SO bad? Comments below, please.
Driver of the Weekend- Max Verstappen 71.36% of Reader Vote
Compared to last year, we had LOADs of overtakes, most of which were provided by our driver of the weekend, who had moved from P19 to P13 before the first lap was out.
It could be argued that this was a bit of a surprise as our readers will often take pity on those deserving, such as Bottas.
Verstappen kept out of trouble (!!) drove like a demon, cutting through the field as if his seat depended on it, lead the race for some considerable time, and ended up ‘the best of the rest’ at the chequered flag. What’s not to like?
Well done Max!!