Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Russian Grand Prix - Race Day - Sochi, Russia
Right. I just have to get this off my chest. The penalty for Kimi was bullshit and I will explain why a little further down.

The weekend in Russia was a strange one. Almost no running on Friday due to rain and diesel and what not. Some running on Saturday that saw Kimi clinch 5th on the grid with an ok qualifying.

When the lights went out on Sunday, the start Kimi pulled off was to be symptomatic for his entire race. And I mean that in a good way. He gets a great start, beating Vettel off the line and also getting past Bottas with a better exit through turn 2. Now running in 3rd behind Hamilton with Rosberg leading. Unfortunately, the safety car is called out due to Hulkenberg spinning and taking Ericsson with him.

Safety Car goes in and the restart is on. Kimi seems to have no speed at all down the straight and is a sitting duck for Bottas who takes 3rd position back. When Crashjean decides to park his Lotus into the barriers around turn 3, the Safety Car is called out once again.

And its deja vu at the restart. Kimi clearly down on top speed on the straight has to defend from his teammate. Which he does very well. Kimi complains about lack of top speed on the radio. After a good scrap, Vettel dives on the inside of Kimi into turn 2. And this is crucial: Kimi sees Vettel coming and leaves room. He does go wide and keeps his position by cutting the corner. But decides in all fairness to give the position to Vettel after a few corners.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Russian Grand Prix - Race Day - Sochi, Russia

Fast forward to the closing stages of the race. Rosberg retired at the start of the race and Vettel jumped Bottas in the pitstops so he is running second behind Hamilton. Rosberg just can’t seem to catch a break. However, Kimi is fairing better on the softs than the supersofts for some reason and is the quickest in the train of cars fighting for the last podium position.

Bottas finally gets past RIC and so does Kimi a couple of laps later. Only to see the Aussie retire his car shortly after. Perez is ahead due to a clever pit stop after the second Safety Car. But his tires have seen better days and Bottas makes the pass and Kimi shortly after in a feisty move. On the second to last lap! Kimi is not taking any prisoners. It is clear he wants the podium position he had earlier in the race.

Bottas is a lot slower and Kimi goes on the inside of Bottas like he did once before during the race. The difference is that Bottas gave Kimi ample room. This time he doesn’t. He closes the door and Kimi has no where to go but into the Williams. Result: The Finn in the white car retires and the Finn in the red car limps his car across the line in 5th with a broken suspension.


So here is my beef with the whole thing. Bottas knew full well Kimi was all over the back of him. His mirrors had been full of a red car for a large part of the race. And those final laps even more so. He left the door open at the end of turn 3 and Kimi went for the gap. You have to glance in your mirrors when fighting. There was plenty enough time to leave a little room for Kimi and the fight could have gone on. I suspect that Bottas saw Kimi coming, panicked and closed the door hoping for a miracle.

I stated the following on Twitter, that people always love quoting Sennas speech about if you no longer go for a gap, you are no longer a racing driver. Well, Kimi did that. Because he is a full on racer. In fact, he is probably the last of a kind in todays Formula 1. He is a blast from the past when Formula 1 was a no-nonsense mans sport. Where you raced hard and settled your differences after the race. Today, when a driver actually does live up to Sennas words, people bitch and moan. Because it was not a banzai, reckless move. Kimi said he would have made the turn without any problems. And if Bottas had bothered to look (or he did look and panicked) and leave a space, then the show would have went on. He might even have been able to retake the position.

Consider this. They slap Kimi with a penalty. An extremely hard one at that. 30 seconds even though he already lost 20 seconds due to a broken suspension and 3 license points. Alright. So be it. But how come Ricciardo got Squat. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Nothing. For the
exact same move on Raikkonen in Monaco this year?? Sure, I was mad back then. But there was a gap and Ricciardo took it. Kimi could have closed the door earlier but he didn’t.

Monaco reveals the idiocy of the stewards. Alonso was penalized in Monaco for precisely the same move on Hulkenberg. Why did he get a penalty? Probably because Hulkenberg crashed into the barrier. So the steward logic is – it is okay to make contact, as long as the
other driver doesn’t crash out. That is utter bullshit because some drivers are just better at getting out of a situation than others. It also depends on where it happens. Any move under investigation should be judged primarily by the move itself. If you judge it by how bad it goes for the driver being passed, then it is no different to the play acting of an injury in football. “Oh no! Poor guy. Better hit the other driver hard.” Stupid.

I hope Kimi does exactly the same if he is in the same position. I loved it and I want to see more of it. Senna would have had none of this pussyfooting bull-crap. A toast to Kimi. He was the fighter of the day. And he deserved better. From Bottas and the whiney new-age stewards. Cheers!

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  1. Agree 100 % with you. And that’s not because I think Kimi’s the best: it’s because you’re right, and so was Kimi…

  2. maria sakkali says:

    hi soren
    finally after a long time a review and a great one too . I fully agree with everything you said and i am too happy with Kimi’s determination and fighting spirit. I read many comments that Kimi is old and should retire and that has lost motivation and other silly talk like this but yesterday saw a young driver (Bottas) with the best straight line speed who wanted and still wants Kimi’s seat stuck behind slower cars with older tyres for almost 30 laps without attempting anything just waiting for their tyres to go off. Kimi is not done he has a lot to give and he shows he is thirsty for wins and even a title – if Ferrari allows it – and i hope next year not be his last .

    • Soren says:

      Thanks Maria. I figured I had to get back on the horse with this one 😉
      People always spew crap. Kimi is a legend and arguably the most fair driver in wheel to wheel battles.

  3. Satyan israni says:

    Great review. Really echoed my thoughts. I fully and completely agree with u. It was obvious that Kimi didn’t do a Maldonado. Any blind man cud see that bottas left the door open. But ppl are so biased against Kimi that even the fucking commentators were immediately blaming Kimi. They have no respect for proper racers. For them their poster boys r Only Lewis vettel and Alonso. Kimi is always ignored. If u see during races many times they talk down about Kimi and he hardly gets coverage during a race. F1 is definitely biased against Kimi.

    • Soren says:

      Cheers. I pay no mind to nay-sayers. I call them like I see them and I give credit where credit is due. And Kimi deserves credit for his driving in Russia. Bottas not so much.

  4. schick says:

    I confess I was surprised to see Kimi go for the hole Bottas had left,(and he did leave a hole) I think it says more about Bottas than it does Kimi, I have never had much faith in Bottas, to me he is a very very average driver and whilst Kimi is not the Kimi of yesteryear, you don’t leave holes like that especially in the closing stages of a GP, Kimi was a little unlucky

    • Soren says:

      Bottas is very good. But not setting the world on fire compared to his teammate. I firmly believe that Bottas should have given some room to Kimi. He didn’t and paid the price. Shame because it was a great battle. One Kimi would have most likely won.

  5. Off Track says:

    Hello. Don’t often visit here.. Good stuff!

    I get the impression Kimi genuinely likes the progress Ferrari is making and his confidence in the car is growing. So next year may be very good.

    My only quarrel with Kimi is he is too concerned for his team mate. I liked how he fought for position in this race, but he could have held on for longer. It looked to me like Vettel shunted him off, but I haven’t seen the replay. That mysterious loss of speed on the straights may explain it…… odd if you ask me 🙂

    Here’s hoping KR will enjoy more races like this [but with better results 🙂 🙂 ]

    • Soren says:

      Thanks man. Yea, Kimi was a nice guy towards Vettel. But I still think he raced and defended him pretty hard. As much as you should with a teammate in my opinion. The loss of speed was strange. My worry watching Kimi during safety car periods is that he doesn’t seem to warm his brakes and tires as much as the other drivers. When others are swerving, he is just driving straight. It may be just the pictures they are showing. But if so, then the battery might not be as charged as the other cars that do more braking. I’m probably wrong – it was just a thought. I am sure Greenwood would be on the radio if temps were dropping too much.
      By the way, are you the same OffTrack that commented on Adam Coopers blog? 😉

  6. Eruobodo says:

    It was an awesome move from Kimi, something that is common with him, he came from far back and had Bottas in his sights. He was faster than Bottas and would have passed him if Bottas had not been an ass. I know you are 100% correct, Bottas had every reason to leave a space, 100% his fault. Up until that point, Kimi had a very good drive, hope he can take it to Vettel for the remaining races. Disclosure, an Alonso fan.

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