Valtteri Bottas won the 2020 Russian Grand Prix comfortably from Max Verstappen. Lewis Hamilton managed to fight back to take the final podium place after he was given two 5-second penalties for pre-race practice start infringements.
The race started under very hot conditions with air temperatures at 28 degrees C and track temperatures at 40 degrees C at the Sochi Autodrom circuit. Hamilton was on pole position and started on the soft compound tyres. Verstappen and Bottas behind him started on the more durable medium compound tyres.
Hamilton made a good start and led into Turn 1. Bottas got the job done by getting past Verstappen. Esteban Ocon made a brilliant start to take fourth position ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. Kevin Magnussen gained nine-places to take ninth position.
But chaos reigned behind them. Carlos Sainz spun into the bollards at Turn 2 and Lance Stroll was in the barriers as he was clipped by Charles Leclerc.
The Safety Car was deployed on lap 1. Lando Norris, George Russell and Alexander Albon pitted and rejoined at the back of the field. The Safety Car ended on lap 5 and Hamilton made a good restart to lead the pack.
Soon Hamilton was on the back foot with two 5-second penalties for making practice starts in the wrong place. A big duel developed at the back between Norris, Albon and Russell.
On lap 15, Sergio Pérez overtook Ricciardo for fifth position. Even though Hamilton was reeling off fastest lap after fastest lap his lead to Bottas was within three seconds only.
On lap 16, Ricciardo was the first of the top drivers to pit and rejoined in fourteenth position. Hamilton pitted next and served the ten-second penalty and rejoined in eleventh position.
Bottas in the meantime extended his lead over Verstappen. Both the drivers on the more durable medium compound tyres extended their first stint even as Hamilton fought his way through the field.
Verstappen pitted on lap 26 and rejoined in fourth position behind Daniil Kvyat. The Russian who started on the hard compound tyres had not pitted. Hamilton was behind Verstappen in fifth position over six seconds behind.
After the first set of pit stops, the order was Bottas, Verstappen, Hamilton, Pérez, Ricciardo, Leclerc, Ocon, Kvyat and Gasly. Bottas was steadily pulling away from Verstappen and had over a fourteen seconds lead. Hamilton was not able to make any inroads into Verstappen’s lead.
Ricciardo was handed a 5-second penalty for his overtake of Ocon. On lap 43, the Virtual Safety Car was deployed as the bollards were damaged by Romain Grosjean’s off-track excursions.
Gasly pitted under the VSC. Soon Norris, Albon and Gasly dueled for ninth position. Gasly won the battle to take ninth position. Norris who had pitted on the first lap ran out of tyres and had to pit again.
Albon was also handed a 5-second penalty for incorrectly rejoining the track on a day of penalties. On the last lap, Ocon and Kvyat were in a close fight for seventh position, but Ocon managed to stay ahead.
Bottas won the race with the extra point for fastest lap. The Finn reduced his deficit to Hamilton by 11 points and is now 44 points behind in the drivers’ championship.
Verstappen split the two Mercedes cars yet again as he finished in a comfortable second-place. Hamilton had to be content with third position on a day of mishaps that saw him add two penalty points to his license taking his tally to ten penalty points.
Pérez drove a solid race for fourth position and finished “best of the rest”. Ricciardo managed to overcome the 5-second penalty to stay ahead of Leclerc in fifth position.
It was another good Sunday for Leclerc as he took sixth position. Ocon, Kvyat, Gasly and Albon rounded off the top 10 positions.
The Formula 1 circus next heads to the Nürburgring for the German Grand Prix in two weeks time (October 9 to October 11, 2020).
2020 Russian Grand Prix Race Results:
|1||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:34:00.364||53||26|
|2||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||+7.729s||53||18|
|3||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||+22.729s||53||15|
|4||11||Sergio Pérez||MEX||BWT Racing Point Formula One Team||+30.558s||53||12|
|5||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Renault DP World F1 Team||+52.065s||53||10|
|6||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||+62.186s||53||8|
|7||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Renault DP World F1 Team||+68.006s||53||6|
|8||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||+68.740s||53||4|
|9||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||+89.766s||53||2|
|10||23||Alexander Albon||THA||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||+97.860s||53||1|
|11||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing||+1 lap||52||0|
|12||20||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||Haas F1 Team||+1 lap||52||0|
|13||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Scuderia Ferrari||+1 lap||52||0|
|14||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing||+1 lap||52||0|
|15||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||+1 lap||52||0|
|16||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||+1 lap||52||0|
|17||8||Romain Grosjean||FRA||Haas F1 Team||+1 lap||52||0|
|18||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||+1 lap||52||0|
|19||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||ESP||McLaren F1 Team||DNF||0||0|
|20||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||BWT Racing Point Formula One Team||DNF||0||0|