The big thing that we should all take away from the Russian Grand Prix is that you should absolutely always change to intermediate tyres if it starts to rain, as Lando Norris found out.

McLaren

What a brilliant drive from both drivers at McLaren! Daniel Ricciardo looks like he’s gained a lot of confidence from his win in Italy, and it provided some great results for Ricciardo. He managed to qualify in P5 which is a fantastic improvement for Ricciardo who, as everyone is aware, has struggled this season. He managed to finish P4 on race day which means Ricciardo is actually able to hold his position up in the top five where he would have previously lost position and finish outside of the points. This is terrible news for Ferrari who have been able to be competitive with McLaren in the constructors due to Ricciardo’s underperformance.

Lando Norris had a phenomenal weekend with a lightning quick qualifying that landed him on pole position. Losing that track position to Carlos Sainz was unfortunate but when the Ferrari went for the undercut, it backfired. Norris stayed out much longer by managing his tyres like a pro. When it started to rain on the last few laps of the race, Norris said he didn’t need to put on the intermediates. A catastrophic decision that saw him lose the lead and finish way down in P7. You can see just how slippery the track became in the video of Max Verstappen below.

The decision to stay out on slicks felt like it came from a place of cockiness. The 21-year-old driver made a risky decision that older drivers deemed too risky. Lewis Hamilton didn’t want to pit for the intermediates either but by doing so he ended up winning the race thanks to the persuasion of the Mercedes team. Despite warnings from his team, Norris refused to pit, and the results were disastrous, with Norris sliding all over the track trying to nurse the car to the finish.

The takeaway here is to always take the rain seriously.

Ferrari

What we learnt from Ferrari this weekend is that they can finish on the podium. If McLaren can do it, so can Ferrari. Sainz did phenomenally in qualifying and only lost out on pole position by just 0.500 seconds. We saw that he can take his former teammate Lando Norris but what really held Sainz back was a poor strategy from his team. The undercut was overvalued in this race and didn’t quite pay the dividends that Ferrari were hoping for when Norris didn’t pit and just kept going for a shockingly long time. You could hear the frustration from Sainz when the team told him that P5 was the best possible result. But the Spaniard seemed to know better and managed a P3 – a great result given the bungled strategy.

If there’s something we have definitely learned, it’s that the Ferrari’s can climb up the grid like few can. Charles Leclerc started from the back of the grid and managed to take it all the way up to P3 at one point. Unfortunately, Leclerc made the same mistake as Norris when the rain came and ended up tumbling down to P15. That will certainly distract from the great drive he pulled beforehand like this little battle with Sebastian Vettel below.

Mercedes

It’s simple, we learned that Lewis Hamilton certainly isn’t washed up after a disappointing qualifying in Sochi. He is very much a force to be reckoned with especially when teamed with the Mercedes strategists. He took P1, which on paper isn’t surprising but how he got the win was something to watch. He truly earned his 100th Grand Prix win.

Valtteri Bottas disappointed on this track. True, he did start from the back of the grid after taking a power unit penalty but where Verstappen and Leclerc saw adversity and a chance at points, Bottas for the most part was content with staying around P14. Again, he did manage a P5 but that was due to the chaos the rain brought at the end of the race rather than his racing ability. He didn’t even fight Verstappen when he went to overtake the Finn, he just let it happen. What was up with that?

Red Bull

Red Bull will be absolutely stoked with a P2 since Verstappen started all the way at the back. It was a formidable drive aided by the ending chaos. We learnt nothing new from Verstappen, only that he is still a phenomenal driver.

Sergio Perez just seemed to hover in the top 10, not making many moves but also not usually losing position. He just didn’t seem to get any stunning performance out of the car. Perez was just kind of there during the race and not making much of an impact. Much like Bottas.

Williams

George Russell continues his reign as ‘Mr. Saturday’ with a brilliant drive that meant he would start the Russian Grand Prix from P3. This makes for Russell’s highest starting position. What we took away from his race though is that the Williams (not so shockingly) can’t remain at the top of the grid for long, the car simply isn’t competitive enough. BUT it does confirm that the team at Williams have found something that works and we could see something special next year with the new regulation changes.

AlphaTauri

Neither driver found any pace this weekend with a poor qualifying and a poor race. It might be par for the course for Yuki Tsunoda to finish out of the points but Pierre Gasly usually comes up in P6. What happened at the Russian Grand Prix is anyone’s guess but they will certainly be frustrated.

Haas

No, Nikita Mazepin didn’t earn points during his home race and Mick Schumacher had to retire to an issue with the car. Par for the course, really. 

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