Live updates F1 Russian Grand Prix 2016: Race, Nico Rosberg wins
Nico Rosberg is on pole, with Valtteri Bottas of Williams and Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari on the front row.
CHEQUERED FLAG! NICO ROSBERG WINS THE RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX!
It’s Nico Rosberg’s 4th win from 4 races in 2016 and seven race wins in a row. Hamilton gets P2 from a P10 qualifying position. 25 second gap between the top 2, with Kimi Raikkonen rounding up the podium in P3 6 seconds behind Hamilton.
Rosberg now has a 43 point championship lead and has won the Grand Slam – pole, fastest lap and race win – today, for the first time in his career.
Final lap! Force India’s Sergio Perez is pushing for P9....and it’s OVER!
Kimi Raikkonen is narrowing the gap to Lewis Hamilton with only 5 laps to go in the race. He’ll be looking for Ferrari’s 700th podium in Formula One.
After a strong start, Williams have fallen back – P4 and P5 currently. Button is currently running in P11 and Mercedes have never not won in Russia, so will maintain that statistic. Hamilton is now running in P2 but with a 13 second gap to Rosberg, with Kimi Raikkonen 3 seconds behind him. He’s well clear of Valtteri Bottas in fourth, so it’s looking like a guaranteed podium for Ferrari.
They will not take much heart from that given Sebastian Vettel had his race ended so seriously, and so quickly.
Good news for Lewis Hamilton – “the water pressure issue has stabilized,” team tells him. But he has now lost the time he gained, and is over 13.5s behind Rosberg, who is looking in the clear for his fourth win in a row with 10 laps to go.
Fastest lap for Nico Rosberg! 1:39.616. He’s already won pole and has fastest lap. A win will mean a ‘Grand Slam’ or a Grand Chelem for Nico Rosberg – his first.
Issues for Lewis Hamilton! After managing to come up the grid to go P2 behind teammate Rosberg, Hamilton now has a serious ‘water pressure issue’, say the team. It is not necessarily terminal, but at this point with 16 laps to go and a significant lag behind Rosberg, he may not be able to fight for P1. He has managed to slash the gap to Rosberg from 12.9s to 7.5, however, so some great racing from the Briton.
Fourth retirement of the Russian Grand Prix – and that’s Max Verstappen of Toro Rosso. The 18-year-old sees engine failure end his race, and that brings out yellow flags. He’s parked it well, however, so there will be no safety car. His teammate Carlos Sainz is running well, but has a 10s penalty
A big fight between Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz with Sainz looking to take the inside line on the Force India. Kimi Raikkonen on the podium in third but not ideal at all for the Scuderia.
Carlos Sainz under investigation for forcing Renault’s Jolyon Palmer off the track, says announcement. He’s been given a 10 second time penalty – oddly, it’s the same as that handed to Daniil Kvyat for the shunt with Sebastian Vettel.
Nico Rosberg has a massive 12.9s lead over P2 – which is his teammate Lewis Hamilton. It’s currently looking like four victories from four races for Nico Rosberg. Meanwhile Fernando Alonso is pushing his Honda to the limit and is at P7.
Max Verstappen of Toro Rosso was running P2 for a while but with seriously worn tyres has finally pitted. Consistent racing from the youngster, however. Toro Rosso will be happy today, with Verstappen’s teammate Carlos Sainz also aggressive.
Leader Nico Rosberg takes his first pit stop – and it’s a very smooth one. Rosberg with a massive lead did not need any extra help, and a 2.5s pit stop from the
Lewis Hamilton pits and rejoins the grid in 7th, then moves up to 5th - and then catches Fernando Alonso, who was in P4. Kimi is still to pit, as is Alonso, but Raikkonen is now about to pit. Pitting a bit earlier might have helped – and Kimi has now lost out on P2 after a sloppy pit stop from Ferrari. He’s in third.
Valtteri Bottas pits – and Hamilton goes second! It’s now a Mercedes 1-2 17 laps into the race.
Hamilton has quite closed up the gap – he’s 0.653s behind teammate Rosberg, but giving Bottas good chase. Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen is losing pace regularly. Hamilton does a much faster first sector than Rosberg, though – so should he keep building on that, could possibly give chase to his teammate.
Rio Haryanto of Manor is also out of the race. That makes Vettel, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Haryanto the three drivers whose race has now ended.
And Lewis Hamilton, 7 laps in, is in a podium spot! He goes P3 after catching up Kimi Raikkonen. It’s ROS-BOT-HAM for now and other cars lagging a bit behind. Kimi looked strong to catch out Bottas with a small gap, but now he’s lost out. Fernando Alonso is in the top 10 with a 7th place run right now.
Raikkonen, who went P2 is chased by compatriot Valtteri Bottas and loses P2 to the Williams! Daniil Kvyat’s underbraking saw Vettel's race end, and given their interaction in Shanghai there will likely be no love lost between the German and the Russian.
LIGHTS OUT! And ridiculous scenes here in Sochi – a MASSIVE cleanup as Sebastian Vettel is hit on TWO ends! His race is over, as is Nico Hulkenberg's. Safety car period.
Top eleven all on supersoft tyres – all of them used!
Force India's Sergio Perez qualified in 7th but as a result of Sebastian Vettel's grid penalty will move up to 6th. He finished on the podium last year – in third, and so will go into this race feeling positive about his potential result.
It’s an emotional day today. On this day in 1994, F1 lost one of its greatest – the legendary Ayrton Senna, following his crash at the San Marino Grand Prix, only a day after Austrain driver Roland Ratzenberger died in qualifying.
Half an hour to race time and we have learned that Lewis Hamilton will have his power unit replaced with the one he used in Australia. He won’t take on a penalty for it, though. Meanwhile, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has been questioned, with a reporter asking him at pre-press conference if the team were “sabotaging Lewis Hamilton.”
Wolff replied “I don’t respond to lunatics.”
It’s the fourth round of the 2016 Formula One season, and the Russian Grand Prix, which is typically towards the end of the end of the F1 calendar year, was moved up this year. Nico Rosberg of Mercedes AMG Petronas is on pole here for the second year in a row, and has won every race of the season so far.
Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel qualified in P2, but will take on a five-place grid penalty as a result of a gearbox change. That means he drops to P7 in qualifying, as a result of which Williams’ Valtteri Bottas takes his place on the front row. Rounding up the top 3 on the qualifying grid is another Finn, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Lewis Hamilton, the reigning champion at the Sochi Street Circuit, progressed to Q3 but was unable to set a time after an engine failure. He will start the race today in 10th. Hamilton’s Sochi issues come on the back of similar issues in Shanghai, where the Briton was unable to even set a time in qualifying, therefore beginning from the back of the grid.
Despite that, the three-time world champion managed a respectable 7th- place finish, so although a 10th place start will not be ideal, it is not impossible for him to move up the grid during the race. Mercedes revealed it was a similar problem as in China, with Hamilton’s MGU-H experiencing issues.
A number of other teams had issues as well. Ferrari, who have had reliability woes since the beginning of the season, saw Sebastian Vettel lose electronics completely during practice, and although he did manage a high qualifying finish, the issue in itself will worry the team.
Red Bull, who have enjoyed a resurgence in the 2016 season, continued with fair performances from both Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat in qualifying, both of whom will begin today’s race in the top 10.
Williams, who have been a strong midfield team for a number of years, did very well in qualifying yesterday, with Bottas’ teammate Felipe Massa also high up the order.
Manor continued a poor run in qualifying, finishing at the bottom of the grid with Sauber and McLaren also performing poorly. Haas F1, who started off the season strongly, have not been able to enjoy much consistency, with Romain Grosjean repeatedly complaining about issues with his car.
For now, it looks as though it will be another Mercedes-dominated race, given that the gap between Mercedes and the nearest car - the Ferrari – was 10 times that of the gap between the two Mercedes cars in practice and in the early parts of qualifying.
With Nico Rosberg on a 36-point lead over his closest competitor, teammate Lewis Hamilton, and the Briton suffering serious and constant vehicle issues, 2016 also looks to be the year for Rosberg to win his first championship.