Russian Grand Prix: Driver ratings

By on Monday, October 12, 2015

Lewis Hamilton sailed to his ninth triumph of the 2015 season as Sebastian Vettel and Sergio Perez completed the podium positions. We present our driver ratings from the Russian Grand Prix.

44 | Lewis Hamilton | Mercedes | G: 2nd | R: 1st | 9/10

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Hamilton couldn’t match Nico Rosberg’s pace during qualifying but from second place he launched his attack, one which Rosberg was wise to. Problem for Rosberg gave him an easy ride and he now has one hand on the trophy for a third time.

6 | Nico Rosberg | Mercedes | G: 1st | R: Ret | 8/10

Rosberg was quick in spite of a lack of practice time – a trait also witnessed in Japan – and defended resolutely from top spot. However, throttle problems robbed him of a chance to fight for victory and ended his slim hopes of becoming champion.

3 | Daniel Ricciardo | Red Bull | G: 10th | R: Ret | 8/10

Ricciardo took advantage of the Safety Car period to make his sole stop and emerged in fourth position, before losing out to Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Räikkönen. He was on course for a good haul of points but suspected suspension failure forced him out.

26 | Daniil Kvyat | Red Bull | G: 11th | R: 5th | 7/10

Kvyat lacked the pace of team-mate Ricciardo but whereas a large portion of his rivals encountered problems, Kvyat kept his head down and ploughed onwards; ninth position became fifth and he bagged a good haul of points.

19 | Felipe Massa | Williams | G: 15th | R: 4th | 6/10

Williams Martini Racing

Williams Martini Racing

Massa messed up his first lap in qualifying and then a combination of traffic and the tyres losing their optimum grip left him only 15th. He started on the Primes and once onto the Options was able to make progress, benefitting from the problems of others to collect a fine fourth.

77 | Valtteri Bottas | Williams | G: 3rd | R: 12th | 9/10

Just as he did in 2014, Bottas appeared serene around the Sochi Autodrom and held third on the grid, only losing out to Kimi Räikkönen at Turn 1 due to the placement of Hamilton’s car. A bold move on Sergio Pérez elevated him back into third but his compatriot soon had other ideas.

5 | Sebastian Vettel | Ferrari | G: 4th | R: 2nd | 9/10

Vettel targeted Bottas at the start but instead slipped back to fifth, having been out-manoeuvred through the first sequence of corners. However, he battled through Räikkönen and used his superior pace to pass Bottas through the pit stop phase.

7 | Kimi Räikkönen | Ferrari | G: 5th | R: 8th | 5/10

Räikkönen put in a feisty display at Sochi, but at the end it was a little too aggressive. Räikkönen’s move on Bottas was clumsily executed to the extent that even an erratic GP2 driver would feel embarrassed.

14 | Fernando Alonso | McLaren | G: 19th | R: 11th | 6/10

Pirelli Media

Pirelli Media

Alonso celebrated his 250th race in Russia by finishing one position higher than he managed in his first outing for Minardi 14 years ago. Alonso was scuppered by his grid penalty but he made good progress initially and claimed 10th, before a sanction for track limits knocked him down to 11th.

22 | Jenson Button | McLaren | G: 13th | R: 9th | 8/10

Button was one of the beneficiaries of the early chaos which affected several of his midfield rivals but the lack of top end pace from the Honda power unit was brutally exposed thereafter; ninth was nonetheless a points finish, only his third of the year.

27 | Nico Hülkenberg | Force India | G: 6th | R: Ret | 5/10

Hülkenberg appeared strong in Russia as he topped the first practice session and lined up from sixth place on the grid, eager to repeat his Japan showing. Unfortunately, he was over-enthusiastic at Turn 2 and spun, being collected by the helpless Ericsson.

11 | Sergio Pérez | Force India | G: 7th | R: 3rd | 10/10

The master of tyre preservation was in full bloom in Russia as he stopped during the Safety Car period and maintained his rubber for the remainder of the race. He dropped to fifth during the penultimate lap but re-grouped and took advantage of a Finnish war to claim third.

33 | Max Verstappen | Toro Rosso | G: 9th | R: 10th | 6/10

Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull/Getty Images

Verstappen, for once, didn’t have to put in a recovery drive from his grid position but instead had to put in a charge after a lap one incident. Verstappen sustained damage at the rear of the car and that hindered his race, though he at least collected a point.

55 | Carlos Sainz | Toro Rosso | G: 20th | R: 7th | 8/10

To say it was a relief when Carlos Sainz Jr. emerged from his stricken Toro Rosso following his practice crash was an understatement. That he was racing, just 24 hours later, proved his steeliness. Sainz was set for a fine seventh place until his brakes gave up, having been deteriorating for much of the race.

8 | Romain Grosjean | Lotus | G: 8th | R: Ret | 5/10

Grosjean once again put his Lotus into the top 10 shootout but front wing damage on the opening lap left him in the pits, prompting a fight back. He was behind Button, but then lost control of his E23 Hybrid and suffered an enormous impact.

13 | Pastor Maldonado | Lotus | G: 14th | R: 7th | 5/10

Maldonado chose to start on the Prime tyres but a switch onto the Options didn’t deliver the anticipated progress initially, before he made some gains. Wide moment at Turn 2 didn’t help matters.

28 | Will Stevens | Manor Marussia | G: 17th | R: 14th | 5/10

Manor Marussia

Manor Marussia

Stevens had the pace over Merhi initially but he was compromised at Turn 2 and dropped behind his team-mate, before flat-spotting his tyres at the restart. That set the positions for the remainder of the race.

98 | Roberto Merhi | Manor Marussia | G: 18th | R: 13th | 7/10

Merhi returned to his Manor Marussia cockpit for the first time since the Italian Grand Prix and had a quiet time. His race was straightforward and he took a fine 13th place due to the problems of others.

9 | Marcus Ericsson | Sauber | G: 16th | R: Ret | 5/10

Ericsson was eliminated in Q1 and his race was similarly disappointing; he gained a few spots at the start but couldn’t avoid the spinning Hülkenberg and swiped the Force India.

12 | Felipe Nasr | Sauber | G: 12th | R: 6th | 9/10

Nasr pulled out a lap in Q1 and subsequently claimed 12th on the grid, surviving the Turn 2 melee to emerge in a strong position. Nasr extended his stint on the Option tyres but struggled comparatively on the Primes, nonetheless benefiting amid the late drama to take sixth.


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