Max finishes in the points in Russian Grand Prix

Published on 11 October 2015 by Mike Motilall

Because of an accident, that had nothing to do with him, Max Verstappen saw his chance to get a good result go up in thin air. The 18-year old driver still managed to bring his crippled Scuderia Toro Rosso to the eleventh spot. Lewis Hamilton won the race, that also had numerous incidents.

Update: After the race, Kimi Raikkonen was given a thirty second time penalty for causing a collision. Therefore the Fin is dropped from P5 to P8. Fernando Alonso also got a penalty: for exceeding track limits, he gets a 5 second penalty. Dropping him from P10 to P11. Max moves up to tenth and grabs the last point.

Max tells “My start was not great, but in the first corner I was able to regain the positions I lost. In front of me there was a crash, after which both cars started spinning towards me. There was nowhere I could go." As a result of hitting Nico Hulkenberg’s car, Max’ car is damaged. “The tyre was off the rim and I had a lot of damage: on the floor, the wing and I also think the rear suspension. After that I had a lot of oversteer and my tyre degradation was of course much higher. That was not ideal. I gave everything I had to get back in the race, but being so severely damaged I couldn’t do much more. It’s a pity. But I’m looking towards the USA now, hopefully we will fare better there."

When the lights go out, Max has a reasonable start from P9, and is at the end of the straight on the inside, with both Red Bulls aside him. Things go sour in front of him, regarding Hulkenberg. He spins and starts rolling backwards on the circuit. Max is the first casualty, as the Force India hits him and sends the STR10 into a spin. The Dutchman is able to continue on with a puncture. In the pit, he gets a set of new tyres and, as precaution, a new front wing. This means that Max drops all the way back to the eighteenth, and last, position.

Marcus Ericsson is not able to avoid Hulkenberg, who has stopped on track, and gets stuck in his wheels. Due to this, the safety car is deployed for the first time. Nico Rosberg keeps pole position after the start, and when the safety car heads back in, in lap four, he remains on P1. Two laps later, the race gods turn against the German. He has a problem with his throttle and therefore parks his Mercedes in the pit box, handing over the lead to Hamilton.

A few laps later, Max passes both Marussia’s with ease and moves up to P15. In lap 12, things take a turn for the worse when the rear of Romain Grosjean’s Lotus breaks out, leaving him spinning through the barriers. Despite the severity of the crash, leaving parts flying all over the place, the Frenchman walks away unscathed. This brings the safety car out for the second time. As teams started calling in their cars, Max moves up to eleventh. During the restart he loses out to his team mate.

In lap 21, Max reports that he is suffering from vibrations in the car and that his tyres have gone. He starts losing time to Sainz and in the 25th lap, Toro Rosso calls him in for his first planned pit stop. He goes from soft to the super softs compound tyre. He continues on in fourteenth. At the front, Hamilton is building a massive lead compared to the Ferrari’s, in which Sebastian Vettel has the upper hand on Kimi Raikkonen by having overtaken him.

In lap 42, Max is on Alonso’s tail, but after a failed overtake attempt – during which he goes wide in the first corner – the Dutchman remains behind the Spaniard.

At the front, there is some action. Sainz, in P9, spins and hits the wall with the rear of his car. This was due to his left front brake failing on him in a burst of sparks; his rear wing has also come off and his race is over. Daniel Ricciardo also, has his share of technical issues and shuts down his Red Bull for safety measures.

But the best was kept for last. Going into the final lap, Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen, were like a train on positions three, four and five. Perez, however, falters under the pressure and sees the Williams and the Ferrari passing him in two corners.

The race is still not over though as Raikkonen takes a shot at Bottas. He fails miserably and the Williams is driven off track. With a severely crippled Ferrari, Raikkonen manages to still make fifth. Perez has the last laugh as he still finishes on the podium. Hamilton wins effortlessly in Sochi, in front of Sebastian Vettel .

Sochi Autodrom - Russian Grand Prix – Sunday 11 October

 P Driver                 Team          Time 
 1 Lewis Hamilton     GBR Mercedes      1:37:11.024 
 2 Sebastian Vettel   GER Ferrari       +5.953s 
 3 Sergio Perez       MEX Force India   +28.918s 
 4 Felipe Massa       BRA Williams      +38.831s 
 5 Daniil Kvyat       RUS Red Bull      +47.566s 
 6 Felipe Nasr        BRA Sauber        +56.508s 
 7 Pastor Maldonado   VEN Lotus         +61.088s 
 8 Kimi Raikkonen     FIN Ferrari       +72.358s 
 9 Jenson Button      GBR McLaren       +79.467s 
10 Max Verstappen     NED Toro Rosso    +88.424s 
11 Fernando Alonso    ESP McLaren       +91.210s 
12 Valtteri Bottas    FIN Williams      DNF 
13 Roberto Merhi      ESP Marussia      +1 lap 
14 Will Stevens       GBR Marussia      +2 laps 
15 Daniel Ricciardo   AUS Red Bull      DNF 
NC Carlos Sainz       ESP Toro Rosso    DNF 
NC Romain Grosjean    FRA Lotus         DNF 
NC Nico Rosberg       GER Mercedes      DNF 
NC Nico Hulkenberg    GER Force India   DNF 
NC Marcus Ericsson    SWE Sauber        DNF