This is how a Grand Prix driver really likes to win, get into the lead off the line at the start and remain there in the hope that you have enough of an advantage to lead the race for the duration of the Grand Prix. The ultimate is to hope the race ends up as one big procession. That’s exactly what happened at the 2017 Russian Grand Prix.
We now fully understand that this years championship is between two teams, Ferrari and Mercedes. Mercedes have quickly come to terms at losing Nico Rosberg and three races into 2017 they also acknowledged that their era of dominance is over.
What isn’t clear is who is the top driver at Mercedes because on today’s evidence Valtteri Bottas’ victory from third on the grid not only earned him his first career victory after 80 attempts but also a whole lot of new converts who thought he was just a dead fish floating alongside a very alive shark.
Hamilton struggled all weekend to find the right handling balance and by his high standards was pitifully slow during practice and qualifying and he successfully carried that form into the race as well.
When Bottas got into the lead it was a follow thy leader race victory which would most probably be determined by pit-strategy, safety car intervention or misfortune. A safety car incident was called early on but this did little to stop the procession up and down the field.
It seems to win a race this season you only have to be in the lead whereupon you can control the race due to the fact the driver behind has to contend with the aerodynamic instability of the car n front. This invisible and hot turbulent air effectively acts as an air-trap preventing any close racing.
Vettel secured second, he managed to close right up on Bottas towards the end but the Mercedes driver had everything under control. However Ferrari were elated to have Kimi Raikkonen join his team mate on the podium.
For Hamilton the 2017 Russian Grand Prix ended up being points in the bag which may well be valuable if he does eventually muscle past his team mate and end up in the title hunt but on today’s evidence the three times world champ looked more like a chump.
2017 FORMULA 1 VTB RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX – RACE RESULT