Bad start Verstappen
The analysis of Auto Motor und Sport addresses the question of why Verstappen had no chance of victory in Sochi. According to the German source, things went wrong at the start when Valtteri Bottas immediately outsmarted Verstappen. "I had no grip at the start. At first I thought we had a technical problem, but then I saw in the rear-view mirror that the whole right side got away badly," Verstappen said.
During the first stint on the medium tyre, Verstappen couldn't keep up with Mercedes' pace. The lack of grip caused a higher degradation of the tyres than Bottas. "It was only with the hard compound after the pit stop that I was able to keep up the pace. But then it was unfortunately already too late," Verstappen continued.
Any chance for Hamilton to win?
Lewis Hamilton started on pole but ended the race in third after his penalty, but could the Brit have won if it wasn't for that setback?
"Hamilton was forced to stop earlier because of its soft tyres. His lap times were already going down dramatically before the pit stop," analysed the German medium. "Bottas was able to set constant times with his medium tyre. When he drove back onto the track after his stop, the clock showed a gap of 15.4 seconds between the two Mercedes. So even without the ten penalty seconds Bottas would have finished ahead of Hamilton. It is highly unlikely that the world champion would have counterattacked again with his older tyres.”