After a positive performance at Sochi, we look back at the five key moments that made our Russian Grand Prix
1. First Lap Charge
Despite having two long straights and a pair of DRS zones, overtaking is notoriously difficult at the Sochi Autodrom, making it vital to gain positions on the opening lap to secure a strong result. Starting P11 and P14, our drivers didn’t hold back off the line on Sunday, with both advancing through the field at the first available opportunity.
On lap 1 in Russia, we gained seven positions – with Checo securing the optimum getaway from the sixth row of the grid to clear Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen, Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg into Turn 2, while Lance passed Antonio Giovinazzi, Ricciardo and Grosjean to emerge in P11.
Not bad at all, boys!
2. Checo vs. Max
For the past few races, we’ve found ourselves in close competition with Red Bull Racing out on track – with Checo and Lance fighting Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon on a regular basis during the second half of this year.
This was the case once more in Russia and, once again, Checo found himself fighting Verstappen for a spot inside the top 10, with the pair going wheel-to-wheel for P7.
Having overtaken the Dutchman into Turn 2 on the opening lap, Checo valiantly held Verstappen off for the first part of the race, until the Red Bull driver eventually found his way past on lap 11. But our man didn’t surrender without a fight!
Until next time, Max…
3. Last Lap Scrap
With a pair of Safety Cars and one Virtual Safety Car [VSC] period, the 2019 Russian Grand Prix certainly came down to the wire, with a titanic battle emerging for the final points-paying positions.
After starting on the Medium tyres and pitting under the VSC for a set of Softs, Lance found himself in the thick of it during the final laps, competing against Lando Norris and Nico Hulkenberg in his bid to finish inside the top 10.
With a five-second time penalty for Kevin Magnussen still to be applied, there was even more to play for. After a titanic battle, Lance eventually finished P11 – just 0.980s shy of the points!
4. Points Mean Prizes
We left the Sochi Autodrom on Sunday night feeling particularly proud, with Checo delivering the team a P7 finish and Lance oh-so-close to joining him inside the top 10.
After a difficult weekend in Singapore, the performance in Russia confirmed that our efforts at the factory and trackside are being rewarded, with hours of hard work resulting in the creation of a competitive car that is capable of consistent points finishes.
By leaving Sochi with six points, we pulled further ahead of Alfa Romeo in the Constructors’ Championship and edged closer to Toro Rosso and Renault, with only 16 points now separating us from P5 with five races remaining.
Time for a big push to end the year!
5. Top Notch Entertainment!
The Russian Grand Prix marked the eighth consecutive race in which we have seen great racing in 2019, with wheel-to-wheel action taking place at virtually every corner.
While the Sochi Autodrom hasn’t provided the most exciting competition in recent years, the thrills and spills of this year’s event are testament to the close competition in F1’s midfield this season – a group that we’re loving being be part of!
Bring on the next battle!