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Russian GP 2015

Rosberg Retires as Hamilton Closes in on Third Championship

Nico Rosberg’s title challenge is all but over after he retired from the lead of the Russian grand prix and handed the win to team mate Lewis Hamilton; who now only needs two points to clinch his third world championship. Sebastian Vettel came home in second place whilst Sergio Perez finished a spectacular third place. But, unfortunately for Perez and Force India, it was the retirement of Rosberg that caused a lot of the talk after the race. Having taken pole position on the Saturday, Rosberg made a brilliant start and kept the lead into the first corner, something that has somewhat eluded him in recent races. No doubt he would have had last year’s nightmare start on his mind, where he out braked himself into turn 1, ruining his tyres and his race. No such problem this time though as he kept Hamilton behind him and set about building a gap. However, Rosberg’s luck just wasn’t there again, as he seemed to have a problem on lap 6. By lap 8, he had pulled into his pit box and turned the engine off. His race and championship were over. For Hamilton though, it was another casual Sunday afternoon drive for the British driver, who cruised another win closer to equalling Ayrton Senna’s haul of three World Championships.

Perez’s Quality Shining Unnoticed

Over the last few years, it has been Nico Hulkenberg that has grabbed the headlines as F1’s most underrated, should be in a top car driver, and obviously with great justification. He won the Le Man 24hours in June, and constantly displays his talent at every event. His team mate Sergio Perez seemingly had his shot at a top drive at McLaren and blew it massively, not displaying the talent that saw him replace Lewis Hamilton for the 2013 season. 2013 wasn’t the season that Perez thought it would be, with the team’s decline starting steadily, with Perez’s highest finish for the team a 4th place. We must not forget that this is a driver who could have, and probably should have, won the Malaysian grand prix in 2012 for Sauber, only to finish second behind Fernando Alonso. Throughout his time at Sauber, he showed just how good a driver he is, especially with his tyre management.


When the announcement came in near the end of the 2013 that Perez wouldn’t be getting kept on at McLaren, there were a lot of people who thought that that was it for Perez and his F1 career. Step in Force India to save him from the F1 abyss and inject a resurgence into his career. Since he signed for Force India, he has been the Perez of old, with some really eye catching performances - especially this season. His confidence has came back which has been a key factor in his F1 stock rising again. What stands out most for me is that whilst Perez has had two podiums for the team, the more highly rated Hulkenberg has none. Potentially, Force India have one of the strongest driver line ups on the grid, if only they could produce the car to go with the talent they have in it.

Sainz Has Eventful Weekend

During qualifying, Carlos Sainz suffered what could only be described as a horror crash. Sainz crashed into the barriers at turn 13 at 200mph and hit the barrier with an impact around 46G. Sainz spent the night in hospital and many wondered if he would race at all on the Sunday. Unbelievably, Sainz was cleared to race and didn’t look back. He did admit to feeling dizzy at the beginning of the race, which does throw questions about his fitness into the spotlight. Despite this, Sainz had a fantastic race and his retirement late on was very harsh on the young Spaniard. If Max Verstappen wasn’t his team mate this season, I believe a lot of talk would have been about Sainz. If you look at the amount of times Sainz has retired from a points position, he would be right up there with Verstappen. Sainz’s only issue with having Verstappen as a team mate is that Max is still on a learning curve, and can only get better. Sainz obviously is still very young and on a learning curve himself, and still has plenty of time to establish himself in Formula 1.

Report courtesy of Simon Gray

Read more on Simon's blog here

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