Catch him if you can!
Rosberg collects a seventh consecutive win after Hamilton suffers yet more power-unit woes
Nico Rosberg was spotted sprinting through the paddock a few hours after the Russian GP in Sochi. In his right hand was a bottle of unopened champagne. During his spirited run, reporters tried to catch him, but for the second time this afternoon no one was able to keep up.
This was Rosberg’s seventh consecutive grand prix victory, putting him level with Alberto Ascari and Michael Schumacher and two short of Sebastian Vettel’s all-time record. It was a perfect weekend. Pole, fastest lap and win, and he’s now racked up 100 points, opening a large gap over a troubled Lewis Hamilton, who finished second from a lowly tenth on the grid.
Hamilton’s woes started in qualifying, with a repeat of the power-unit problem he’d suffered at the previous race in China. Subsequent investigation back at Brixworth uncovered a problem with the MGU-H’S insulation, and the turbocharger and oil pumps were replaced after debris was found in the oil system.
According to the team, a similar problem occurred at the start of Q3 on Saturday and Hamilton was denied the chance to set a lap time. The team swiftly set in motion a midnight run to have replacement parts transported from Northamptonshire to the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Niki Lauda was able to source a plane, Paddy Lowe’s Russian PA co-handled logistics and a certain Bernie Ecclestone interrupted Toto Wolff on the phone during the team boss’s media briefing on Saturday afternoon, to play his part…
“Yes, we finally sorted the plane, got the replacement part on it and Bernie sorted the customs,” confirmed Wolff after the race. “The plane landed at 2am with a box on it and within 90 seconds the box was in a car on the way to the track. I don’t want to know how Bernie sorted that out…”
Fast forward to Sunday afternoon, and as the pack headed for the Turn 2 braking zone, Rosberg led, but behind him chaos was about to erupt. Kimi Räikkönen had managed to nab second from Bottas, but Daniil Kvyat misjudged his braking and rammed the back of Vettel’s Ferrari. That pitched the scarlet machine into Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull, causing him to slide into the back of Sergio Pérez’s Force India.
As the field scrambled around Turn 2 and into T3, Pérez began to slow on account of a right-rear puncture, and as Vettel cautiously approached him he was once again hit by Kvyat. As he spun into the T3 tyre wall there followed a series of foul-mouthed expletives from within the Ferrari cockpit. Vettel had calmed down by the time he spoke to media: “In the end these things happen, but obviously it’s harsh,” he said. “I don’t dislike him [Kvyat], but I think he made a mistake two weeks ago and a mistake today.”
Not only was this a disaster for Vettel, but it destroyed Red Bull’s race. Both Ricciardo and Kvyat pitted for the slower medium tyre, but were unable to drive back into contention, their