All the reaction from the Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom.
Max Verstappen finished on the podium for the seventh time in 10 Grands Prix this season, splitting the two Mercedes for second place. The Dutch driver took full advantage of a time penalty handed out to then race leader Lewis Hamilton and held on comfortably to the chequered flag. Team-mate Alex Albon picked up a point as he guided his car home in 10th, having started from 15th after a gear-box penalty.
Finishing just ahead of Albon were the Scuderia AlphaTauri cars of Daniil Kvyat, who impressed in his home GP, and Pierre Gasly. Both drivers put in strong performances to take P8 and P9 respectively.
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
MAX VERSTAPPEN – 2nd
“We can be very happy with second place today, especially on a track where we know that we aren’t normally so competitive. It is a good amount of points for the team and what we needed after the last few races. There was very low grip on the inside of the grid at the start, which cost us a bit and the first few corners were pretty interesting, but we stayed calm and I quickly moved past Daniel again. I struggled to follow the Mercedes cars on the medium tyre as I had a lot of oversteer, but once I pitted onto the hard we were more competitive and I focused on my own race, which we managed well. It’s good to be back on the podium and we can definitely be pleased to finish within eight seconds of Bottas on this track.”
ALEX ALBON – 10th
“Today was a lot of work for one point and it wasn’t an easy race. We struggled at the beginning to overtake and get through the pack on the hard tyre and so we lost a lot of time. When we swapped to the mediums it was a little better and we did as much as we could, but it was difficult out there and a frustrating race. We were just in traffic the whole time without any clean air, so we couldn’t put down any really good laps. After the gearbox penalty, today was about damage limitation and now I’m already focusing on Germany and having a cleaner weekend in two weeks’ time.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER – Team Principal
“Second place is a fantastic result for Max today and once again he extracted everything he could out of the car with a quality drive. Second was the optimum we could have hoped for and Lewis’s penalty did help us out. It was a tough afternoon for Alex, who started in 15th place following a grid penalty for a gearbox change. He lost ground on the opening lap, but with the Safety Car we effectively had a free stop, only conceding one place as we changed Alex from the soft tyre to the hard, which he was more comfortable on. He was then able to make progress through the field with some great overtaking moves. The team once again made some fantastic pit stops and in six years of coming to Sochi this is our best result, with yesterday’s front row start and today’s second place, so it is great to leave with a trophy”
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
DANIIL KVYAT – 8th
“I’m really happy with today, my home grand prix couldn’t have gone much better. It was a tough race, I always had to push to make the strategy work, but this is the kind of racing I like. When I saw Hamilton behind me and I was able to keep him behind for a couple of laps, I thought the pace in the race is amazing. I was confident this morning that we could have had a good race as I’m normally quite strong when it comes to Sundays. It’s just a shame I wasn’t able to force Ocon into a mistake, otherwise P7 was definitely on the table, we were quicker, but it’s hard to overtake with these modern F1 cars. I’m happy with my driving and we got some good points for the team. The car is there, the pace is there, so we have to keep pushing for the rest of the season, hopefully we can gain a position in the championship.”
PIERRE GASLY – 9th
“It wasn’t an easy race for us. I had a good start and was running in P7, but then we lost quite a lot of time in the middle part of the race when I was fighting with Alex and Kimi. We got overcut by Charles, but I was pretty fast and was trying to catch him. If the Virtual Safety Car period had been a bit longer, it would have certainly helped with a free stop, but it was shorter than expected so I paid for it a bit. However, I tried to recover as best as I could and was able to overtake a few cars. It’s a bit disappointing as the car felt great, we had good pace and I think we could have done more today”
FRANZ TOST – Team Principal
“It was really nice to see that the grandstands were quite full here in Russia, so congratulations to the organisers as it’s pleasant to be racing in front of many F1 supporters. Our race was moderate because I think we could have achieved more today. At the start, Pierre had good pace and was in P7 for quite a long time, but then we pitted him a bit late which put him in traffic and at the end, he was only able to finish in ninth position. Daniil had a good start on the base compound, which was a really good strategic decision. We brought him in for his pit stop on lap 31, but unfortunately, he wasn’t able to make an overtake on Ocon toward the end of the race and finished P8. We will now focus on the German GP, hoping to take further steps forward”