F1 | Gp Russia, THE POINT by GIAN CARLO MINARDI “ Was Leclerc fslowed by excessive consumption?”

28.09.2019- Qualifying celebration, Pole Position Charles Leclerc (MON) Scuderia Ferrari SF90 and 2nd place Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W10 EQ Power

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes returned to success, interrupting a run of positive results by Ferrari that in any case said goodbye to Sochi with pole position and Leclerc’s third place behind Bottas. In the light of these results, from now to the end of the season Ferrari must wager on the driver from Monaco to try and take away second place from Mercedes’ Finnish driver.

This result was the child of events that are part of motorsport, even if we must congratulate Hamilton for his excellent management of the race. He drove like a champion. Up to the moment of his retirement Vettel was making up for his performance in qualifying where he finished with the third time, dictating the pace thanks to an authoritative start and a clean charge compared to his teammate.

It was a pity that the order from Ferrari’s people on the wall to park the car came in an especially unfavourable part of the track that forced the stewards to call in the Virtual Safety car, condemning in fact the driver from Monaco who had made his pit step, betting on an aggressive strategy to aim for a win with the Softs..

On the other hand, I was surprised that Leclerc did not attack Bottas. Unlike the previous grands prix where, without the DRS, he managed fight his way back on his rivals. In this circumstance the Ferrari driver could not get closer despite a gap of less than a minute. Twice he asked in vain for more power from the people on the barrier. This could have been due to excessive fuel consumption, something that is not new to the red cars.

Behind Mercedes and Ferrari were the two Red Bulls of Verstappen and Albon with the two McLarens in the points (sixth Sainz and eighth Norris) that extended their lead on the direct rivals of Renault (tenth with Hulkenberg). In this period there was the announcement of the agreement between McLaren and Mercedes for the supply of the engines starting in 2021. This makes me think that Renault could say goodbye to the Circus at the end of 2020.

Gian Carlo Minardi