The dramatic conclusion to the Russian Grand Prix helped it earn a considerably better score than last year’s race: 6.9 out of ten compared to just 4 for the inaugural event.
While many were disappointed Nico Rosberg’s retirement ended the battle for the lead, a three-way contest for the final podium place provided excitement.
The convenient Safety Car
Romain Grosjean’s high-speed crash brought out the Safety Car for a second time and added an interesting strategic twist to proceedings:
The early safety cars mixed up the strategy and helped the fuel consumption a bit, which made the last ten laps or so very exciting.
I really enjoyed that race, some great battles. Perez’s achievement is much like I said about Grosjean’s achievement in Spa, it’s what F1 needs – sure two of the drivers I really like had to fall by the wayside but we need unexpected people on the podium just because we need some surprises every once in a while
A bit dull for some long periods. I was only woken from my doze by Raikkonen’s over-optimism on the final lap.
Rosberg’s retirement robbed us of some form of battle at the front. There was some action, so not the worst race this season, not by any means. Still, this Sochi circuit hasn’t won me over yet.
Post race penalties also make the race feel tainted. I wish they’d try something else and apply a suitable penalty for the proceeding race, or something. Although the penalties seem fair, I don’t like the race result being changed hours after the flag has dropped.
Not terrible, but not great either.
Felt sorry for Rosberg, he seemed to have the pace to beat Hamilton this time. With him out there literally was no fight at the front at all and given Mercedes’ car domination it was a bit boring.
Then again the Ferrari’s battling and then the fight for third was nice. Although happy for Perez, desperately sad for Bottas – he fully deserved that place.
Although I’m a fan of Raikkonen… what on earth was he doing? Scrappy against Vettel and sloppy lunge into Bottas? He was a bit of a mess today.
Mixed views on DRS
While F1’s Drag Reductions System has been a cause for concern on more than one occasion this year, there were mixed views on how it affected the Russian Grand Prix:
Surprisingly good race. Shame about DRS (as always) and Rosberg going out, but as my expectations were so low maybe that had an influence in giving it an eight.
I also think the camera work was very good at giving a sense of speed at this race, many static cameras. It made up for the surroundings somewhat.
The only thing that was missing was a fight for the lead. Unfortunately Rosberg had to retire and Ferrari aren’t yet ready to challenge Mercedes every race weekend.
DRS wasn’t really that powerful around here. It took Bottas a lot of laps to get close enough to pass Ricciardo into turn two and Kimi couldn’t come close enough to pass Bottas at all, which is why he tried that silly move into turn four.
Was it really a surprise that the Honda and Renault-powered cars get passed at the end of the start/finish-straight? I don’t think so.
On the final lap Raikkonen was 0.36 behind Bottas over the line, but couldn’t even come close enough to out-brake the Williams into turn two, despite having a lot more grip at this point. This shows that the DRS was fine this weekend and not too powerful.
In fact a lot of overtakes were done without DRS: Bottas on Raikkonen at the restart, Vettel on Raikkonen into turn five, plus a lot of fights were fought in the corners.
Srdjan Mandic (@Srga91)
Sochi fails to find favour
Last year many felt a softer tyre selection would improve the racing at Sochi. But even after a better second race, many remain unimpressed with the venue:
Pretty standard 2015 race in my opinion, lots of DRS action and stuff. Sadly we lost Rosberg right at the start, but Grosjean’s accident meant that a couple of drivers did an alternative strategy, which pretty much made the rest of the race interesting.
Absolutely dull race track. I hope they will re-design turn two to remove that second apex, that’s still absolutely horrible.
I always thought Sochi Autodrom is a very decent track and 2014 GP turned out to be dull just because of overly conservative tire compounds. Today’s race proved that I was right.
A relatively dull race enlivened only by collisions and retirements.
Sochi really is a dreadful circuit.
My heart sank when Rosberg retired and Hamilton pulled away from the pack, but actually it was a very good race behind him. Bottas and Raikkonen provided a lot of excitement and Perez’s race had a well-deserved outcome. I don’t think much to the circuit, but I enjoyed that.
F1 vs V8s vs WEC
Did F1 put on a race to rival the weekend’s other two major events?
After watching a real racing for six hours before this (Bathurst) I couldn’t give it more than two.
I went in to this race expecting a borefest, especially since I had watched the Bathurst 1000, the Fuji Six hours and the support races beforehand (insomnia does have its perks sometimes), but I was pretty well amused despite the terrible track (I still have no idea which corner is which) and DRS.
Then again, it were moments and a handful of battles wrapped around a standard 2015 race.
And for the second year running, some felt the Russian Grand Prix was tainted by the presence of a very controversial figure:
You can’t argue that F1 is non-political and then at the same time have Putin on the podium smiling and shaking hands. If this is not double standards, then what is?
2015 Russian Grand Prix
- Sponsor Watch: Mexico, USA and Russia
- Unrepentant Raikkonen says he would repeat Bottas move
- Perez earns first Driver of the Weekend win for three years
- Russia’s second grand prix gets higher rating
- 2015 Russian Grand Prix team radio transcript
22 comments on “Russia’s second grand prix gets higher rating”
19th October 2015, 16:49
Full agreement with @F1lauri. This is the reason why I preferred not to vote after the race. Objectively, it had quite a few of the exciting moments that (arguably) horrible tracks like Valencia, Gilles Villeneuve (sue me if you like, I abhor it) and Sochi produce from time to time. But the blatant propaganda show that this race really was with all its stern-looking, sunglass-wearing Russian politicians and Putin, Putin, Putin everywhere made it impossible for me to judge it fairly.
In my opinion, the argument that F1 is non-political is sort of a trojan horse. I can’t confidently rule out that there might be a few persons of authority who would like this to be true, but in that case, they’d be lying to themselves.
The rest of them is lying to us.
19th October 2015, 21:50
@nase I think you, like many here, misunderstand the whole concept of “rate the race”. It isn’t about the area, politicians, the circuit design, or did your driver win/lose. It’s purely about the quality of the race on that particular afternoon
So I hated Valencia, but would I even think of giving a poor score to it after the 2012 race? Yes the surroundings were as bad as ever, the circuit design hadn’t changed a bit and was still awful, but the race was awesome so I gave it a 9/10. That particular race deserved it
Speaking of Valencia and that other circuit you’ve mentioned. Mentioning Valencia and Montreal in the same sentence defies all logic in my opinion. A circuit which had 1 good race and awful in every way Vs a circuit which constantly has great races and beautiful atmosphere, surroundings etc. Plus Montreal has 1 characteristic which makes it better than most circuits nowadays-combination of high speed and low margin for error, unlike modern tracks. But, yeah, no one’s gonna sue you. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, even if it’s as wrong as yours
20th October 2015, 16:57
I think I understand it quite well, which is why I wrote:
I don’t think it does. I stated my criterion, i.e. circuits that I very much dislike, but that occasionally produce exciting races, and proceeded to name a few of them (I could’ve added a few more, but I don’t think Abu Dhabi ever produced a memorable race). Nothing violating any kind of logic here.
That’s a pretty subjective view, just like mine. In my opinion, Gilles Villeneuve has very rarely produced races that I found enjoyable, but crucially suffered from bad track preparation and all to frequent safety car interruptions that are often caused by a poorly working car-recovery system, where even a car stranded due to a harmless technical issue can jam the entire track (like that one time where Sutil had a transmission failure, and the car couldn’t be recovered in less than a few minutes, leading to a safety car that changed the outcome of the race). Without safety cars, Canadian GPs can be extremely uneventful. There was a string of races in the early 2000s where virtually nothing happened all race long. Just a line of cars following each other for 70 laps (or less if a red flag comes out). Races with safety cars tend to be more exciting, but excitement by means of safety car disgusts me, because I don’t think there’s anything more artificial and harmful for racing than a safety car.
The 2012 race was really, really good, but if Pirelli hadn’t hit the sweet spot of tyre degradation on that weekend, it probably wouldn’t have been.
Also, I don’t like the track from a challenge perspective: It consists of slamming the breaks, driving around a tight corner or chicane, then flooring the throttle while avoiding to touch the wall on the outside. Repeat that for 5 more times, and voilà, you have a lap on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
I don’t care so much about the surroundings. Drivers kept moaning about Magny-Cours and the track’s rural isolation, but I loved the track. I know F1 drivers prefer glamourous night clubs to modest hotels that lie between meadows that reek of cow dung, but me, I am no F1 driver. I don’t care if they’re happy, I want to see them race on challenging circuits. Nothing else.
I don’t think opinions are something that can honestly be called ‘wrong’. I mean, I think I understand what you’re trying to convey, but the way you worded it doesn’t make sense.
19th October 2015, 23:39
So did you vote for the Spanish G.P?
21st October 2015, 15:36
I’m afraid I don’t understand your question, or rather, what you’re trying to get at.
19th October 2015, 17:46
I thought the track was surprisingly good for racing. It was just a bit ridiculous that nobody in F1 is clever enough to solve Turn 2 runoff.
19th October 2015, 18:18
It should be renamed Russian politics GP.
19th October 2015, 18:45
You’ve got to wonder how much people’s opinions are swayed based on what track they’re racing on, not the actual racing itself. Port the race we just had to Spa and it’d be 9/10…
19th October 2015, 20:28
Does everyone see a list of the 2015 races and their ratings in a paragraph form instead of table form?
19th October 2015, 20:44
The race was good. If the battle for 3rd had been a battle for victory, I would even call it a perfect race. That said, it proved nothing else than that “given the right circumstances any venue can serve up a good grand prix”, as Keith wrote in the Russian GP preview.
Tom L. (@tom-l)
19th October 2015, 20:59
Sochi seems to be a track people like to dislike – whether for its newness, its surroundings, its design, its designer, for political reasons… the list goes on.
However, based on what we’ve seen in the GP3, GP2 and F1, I’d even go as far as to say that Sochi might just be the track that everyone has been waiting for – one that is safe, but will nevertheless punish the drivers for making mistakes. Look at how many drivers ended up in the barrier over the course of the weekend, whereas on another circuit they might have gone off into a run-off area or gravel trap and rejoined. Sochi, the new Montreal? Turn 3, one of the new classic corners? Give it a few years… the question is, do F1 fans want to?
19th October 2015, 21:12
19th October 2015, 21:29
@tom-l The answer to your question is: it depends. If one doesn’t like it for politics then it’s not gonna change. I hate the aspect but am pragmatic about it. F1 goes to Bahrain and , soon, Azerbaijan. F1 even went to apartheid South Africa
So I’m not gonna bother with things that can’t be changed. But what annoys me most of all is that they could have done a much better job with the design given the area they had to work with. The turn 2 run-off is ridiculous, the last sector mickey mouse section is just pathetic. So, if they make some changes to the circuit , which are very possible, then yes, this could be a great track. But with how it is now, no way. Same as the great 2012 race hadn’t made a fan of the horrible Valencia circuit, so a decent 2015 race won’t make me a fan of Sochi
19th October 2015, 21:49
@tom-l I’m one of those guys who doesn’t like the Sochi lay-out. I agree with you on some points, the track allows for passes to be made, that long left-hander is pretty awesome, the track is safe yet it has caught drivers off guard.
However, my main criticism with the Sochi track is that it’s so same-y. Turns 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 14, 16, 17, 18 and 19 are all small-radius (give or take) 90-degree corners. There was so much potential though: at least one of turns 5, 6, 8, 11 could have been a long sweeping turn, there was plenty of space when they built the track. Turns 16 and 17 could have been a Monaco swimming pool-esque high-speed chicane. And that second apex should never have seen the light of day.
Circuits can be judged on many points, but for me the most importing thing about a circuit is it should be enjoyable to drive – this lay-out is just so dull.
20th October 2015, 6:07
@andae23 Have you driven it though? Quite a few drivers did say it was fun to drive among those even overtaking-kid Verstappen.
20th October 2015, 9:11
@xtwl I have driven it virtually, but obviously I have not driven it in real life. Drivers say they like it, but unless your name is Mark Webber you’ll never say that a track is bad or not fun to drive, so I’m not taking their word for it. From what I’ve seen from onboards, the track does not look interesting to me, hence I don’t like it. And it doesn’t make a difference that this track is in Russia – if they moved this track to 10km from my house, I still wouldn’t like it.
20th October 2015, 9:25
@andae23 Hehe. Virtually I’ve had quite some fun on this track. I agree it does not use the space provided in the best way and certain corners could use a update but all in all I don’t see it as one of the lesser tracks on the calender.
20th October 2015, 1:48
My own personal reason for not liking it is that it looks like the result of someone being told to suck all the life, vibrancy and beauty out of a race track. It’s just… cold. No character, no charm, just a bland ribbon of tarmac shoved between some barriers. Like Valencia was. And I don’t really think it’s especially punishing… it has all the drawbacks of a street circuit with none of the benefits.
But with all that said, I remember saying after last season’s GP I was willing to give it a chance, I enjoyed this year’s race and I think it has the potential to produce good racing. I’ll still find the track itself horrible, but if I’m watching a decent scrap on it, it won’t really matter.
Cory Evans (@holmqvist)
19th October 2015, 21:13
I think I’m in the minority here, but I really like the Sochi circuit. Okay, it’s not the best in the world, but it’s challenging and is a little bit different, and the unusual turn two is a unique, tricky feature. The GP2 and GP3 racing there last year was incredible.
Sadly I think too many people make up their minds on the first race. If 2014 has been a classic, everyone would be praising it as the best thing ever. I expect a similar reaction with Baku next season.
20th October 2015, 6:08
@holmqvist I feel there is such an obligated need to hate just because it is in Russia. I don’t like it like I love Spa or Silverstone but there’s plenty of other tracks that are much worse like China.
19th October 2015, 23:01
It was really good race now.
20th October 2015, 21:41
“You can’t argue that F1 is non-political and then at the same time have Putin on the podium smiling and shaking hands. If this is not double standards, then what is?
Lauri (@F1lauri) ”
Yes. Such messages is perfect example double standards and infantilism.
If you judge Russia on the basis of the cynical “Euro-American” propaganda
why do not you judge the “Euro-American” partners on the basis of the facts?
Who bombed Yugoslavia in 1999, when hundreds of civilians were killed?
Who financed and armed the “revolutions” in Africa, Asia and Ukraine where alredy some years are going civil wars and the victims already in the millions?
But this did not bother of the European fans of democracy and Formula 1.
May be it is realy does not need to confused politics and sports?
Especially when apparently not aware of what is happening.
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