Grand Prix 2018 Russian Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

23rd February 2014.

The Russian team marches into the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, having equalled the Soviet Union's record of 13 gold medals at a single Winter Olympic Games, top of the medal table. The organisers even found the time to self-deprecate the technical failure at the Opening Ceremony when one of the Olympic rings did not open.

Four years later, Russia would officially be banned from the Winter Olympics. Its tally of golds is down to eleven.

7th July 2018

Igor Akinfeev is captain of Russia's national football team, who have got much further than anyone expected in the World Cup. He is facing up to a penalty from Ivan Rakitic of Croatia and Barcelona at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi. If Rakitic scores, Croatia will face England in a semi-final in Moscow. Otherwise, Russia still have a chance.

This time, even as Akinfeev dives the wrong way, Russia have made friends in defeat.

So Sochi has hosted two events guaranteed to make your city (and surely thus your country) a sporting centre of the world - the Olympics and the World Cup. And the third item on that list...

Vladimir Putin is, in many ways, a show-off. It is important to him to show that he is a strong man, and by extension that the nation that he most certainly rules is a strong nation. And what do those internationally recognised strong nations do? They host events. Which are the most visible events? Sporting ones.

The Soviet Union hosted the Olympics, of course, in 1980. The Olympics were, until the fall of Eastern Communism, amateur. However, the World Cup was just too professional for the USSR to host, and Formula One was thus right out. A sport for the wealthy, requiring sponsors and capital? Where one of the drivers would eventually become the 7th Earl of Bute?

Putin's Russia has no such inhibitions. It is entirely comfortable with certain people making huge sums of money, particularly those who would support the government. It is entirely comfortable with Mercedes, Ferrari and Rolex turning up, for it is comfortable with the people who'd buy those products. Whether Putin has Red Bull for breakfast is unknown, however.

It does seem that he doesn't actually want to watch any sport he's holding. Is this why he tends to turn up with 20 laps remaining, or is that so the cameras get a chance to linger as he presses the flesh and enters the main stand? He was there for the opener and the final of the World Cup only, and one would have thought he'd have brought an umbrella for the presidents of France and Croatia during the trophy presentation. He probably thought the fact that only was dry made him seem the most important. In fact, it simply looked like Macron and Grabar-Kitarovic actually wanted to be there.

So, Sochi. Is it worth visiting? Well, the Wikipedia page does not state the height of the spire of St. Michael's Cathedral but it has certainly been worth a visit for the Mercedes drivers over the four years it has held a Grand Prix. They are yet to lose, although Sebastian Vettel was on pole position last year. It would be ironic if this was the race at which Ferrari regained composure.

Has this Grand Prix contributed to the image of Russia as a legitimate player? I suspect your answer will be decided by whose news you're watching.


Mostly bacon
They’re not only interested in the WCC, the WDC also means a lot to team Mercedes. So until it’s mathematically impossible for Hammy to be beaten, they’ll work at securing it. I don’t agree with their actions but it’s sadly understandable. They’ll gift Bottas a win once the WDC is sewn up. Probably.


Race Winner
I wonder how the gamblers feel about Bottas being made to give way; I remember when Coulthard moved over for Hakkinen the bookies paid out to the punters although not obliged to do so.

More importantly, how do the F1 sponsors feel about fiddling with results?

I feel cheated. I know it's only a game on here, but I put my money/Brogans on Bottas to win and they cheated me out of it!!
Chris Evans, who is actually a big F1 fan, said on his breakfast show that the Russian Grand Prix was not a sport it was just polite driving. In fact he and his sport presenter were laughing at how silly it was when it was on air the same time as something like the Ryder Cup.

I'm not saying I share this view but surely the powers that be have to sit up and pay attention to the sport being laughed at on a prime time breakfast radio show. Radio 2 as well and they are usually nice about everything.

It could be worse, it could be like in Italy where F1 no longer makes the news :no: Sky used to sell their sport channels on the back of football AND F1, now their main drivers are football and MotoGP (and even the Ryder Cup got more coverage that F1, in a country where golf isn't very popular)
I feel cheated. I know it's only a game on here, but I put my money/Brogans on Bottas to win and they cheated me out of it!!

I know that what I'm about to say is a bit sad but the only way to change this is if people like you who were robbed of their money were to start taking Liberty to court for damages


Race Winner
I know that what I'm about to say is a bit sad but the only way to change this is if people like you who were robbed of their money were to start taking Liberty to court for damages

The game played on here which I bet on has no real money involved, but it's the principle of the thing. If I had been betting real money I would have been even more furious I can assure you.


Champion Elect
But Yes you all have a point but Team orders are legal, because theyve tried to make them illegal. But have always find a way around. "Fernando is faster than you" "its sunny at T1" or "move to Mode B" team orders have always happened since 50s as cider_and_toast has said how far do you want to go back & if its legal its a no brainer because bottas brought on himself isnt in title race hamilton is

Here is a question if bottas had signed for next season. With the ocon situation would bottas have 2019 mercedes drive. Or would it be like ferrari


Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Bottas has a near perfect weekend but is made to move over for Hamilton and all everyone wants to do is talk about him losing his seat because he's not good enough and brought it on himself

Kimi spends years fannying around and under performing and all the talk is how Ferrari 'swindle' him out of wins.

I don't get F1 sometimes.
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Podium Finisher
your post made me smile on a dark rainy morning :wave: I was surprised by the fact that Vettel's Ferrari with the DRS open couldn't make up any ground on the Mercs, the engine advantage by the Mercedes team yesterday was staggering. I too was surprised by the fact that Vettel managed to keep close to them despite being in dirty air for most of the race, I would have expected his tyres to let go but that didn't happen. It looks as if Mercedes have sorted their engine and Ferrari have sorted their suspensions (not that there was anything wrong with them, especially with the Mercedes engine)

Yes, I wonder if the Ferrari advantage in the middle of the season was that they programmed something to get more acceleration coming out of corners....and Mercedes has since matched that, putting Mercedes back on top. The two Mercedes qualifying more than half second faster than Ferrari was pretty significant. If Mercedes has matched Ferrari's "trick," then its looks like the season is pretty much over.


World Champion
Difference between Mercedes and Ferrari

Kimi keeps fannying around because the hierarchy thinks Vettel is one of the best 3 drivers around who can still deliver the title because Alonso has burned his bridges with Maranello, Hamilton is unavailable. So the hierarchy are lead to believe Vettel is approaching his peak and still is their best chance so best create an environment for him to deliver the championship ie have a subservient teammate and one he does not feel is a threat. Ferrari finally woken up they need to invest in their future Le Clerc.

Hamilton - the tougher the teammate the more he seems to thrive on it and in Bottas he has someone who will keep his toes and he has managed to find something since the summer break to be on top. Bottas had a perfect weekend but his seat has been under greater scrutiny because Hamilton has gone up a level. Now Ocon and Russell are making more noises and the shock created by Renault and Force India with some Ferrari meddling in other seats has created more pressure on Bottas


World Champion
Something no one has noticed that Giovinazzi actually was faster than Le Clerc in FP1 :thinking: and it probably justifies why Sauber must get rid of Ericsson


Lance Stroll Fan. Alfa Romeo Fan.
I don't care about the qualifying format any more. The racing is shit, so of the two I rather spend one 90 minutes ( the "race") being bored and angry than two ( the "concourse d'elegance" and the "race").
Here's a proposal: at the start of the season each F1 driver is "paired" with an F2 driver; F1 grid is determined by finish position of paired F2 driver in the F2 feature race, which is held on Saturday before a final practice session for F1 cars with parc fermé commencing at midnight.
I'd watch that.


Race Winner
after rewarding drivers
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