Russia Grand Prix: Internal battle costs Ferrari victory, Verstappen shines

22-09-2020 07:30 | Updated: 22-09-2020 11:21
by GPblog.com
F1 News
Russia Grand Prix: Internal battle costs Ferrari victory, Verstappen shines

From a ninth place on the starting grid Max Verstappen seemed to have no chance of a good result in 2019, but after a nice overtaking race Verstappen scored his best result ever in Russia: a fourth place.

Rumbling inside Ferrari

Where Mercedes had dominated the entire Formula 1 season, halfway through the season there was suddenly Ferrari. In Belgium, Italy and Singapore this had already led to surprising results and in Russia there was another Ferrari on pole. Again Charles Leclerc and with Sebastian Vettel on P3 almost nothing could go wrong.

A clear team order was made prior to the start. Leclerc would give the 'tow' to Vettel, but would get the leading position back from his team mate. However, Vettel had such a good start that a tow was not even necessary. Vettel seized this opportunity to go against the team order and remained stoically in the lead.

This to the great frustration of Leclerc who was very vocal on the onboard radio after the start. To solve the problems Ferrari decided to bring Leclerc in first and leave Vettel outside just too long. At that time Leclerc was able to close the gap and Vettel had lost his lead. By working together like this, Ferrari had even forgotten the competition for a moment.

Ferrari lost the victory

Mercedes was in the lead and in the lap after his pit stop it was suddenly over for Vettel. His car stopped and he had to put him aside. It is still questionable whether Vettel deliberately left his car in an awkward place, so that the Safety Car would come onto the track.

That Safety Car came and with a free pit stop for Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, they suddenly got the first two places in their lap. Hamilton went ahead with the victory and Ferrari came home with a third place. So enough homework for the Italians.

Verstappen had driven a much better race in the background than expected. Due to an engine change Verstappen had to start from ninth place, but some brilliant overtaking actions brought him to fourth place.

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