Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari endured a troubled weekend in Sochi, as Mercedes clearly had an upper hand on them with respect to qualifying and race pace.
Ferrari have had the superior car for quite sometime now, but in Singapore and Russia, the tables have turned and significantly, as Mercedes have had the edge with respect to performance and pace.
The pace of the Mercedes was visible all through qualifying yesterday, the race start and when Hamilton overtook Vettel after he had come ahead of the Brit from his pitstop.
Now, Vettel was trying to get that position back, but then Mercedes decided to intervene and asked Bottas to give up his position in order to prevent Vettel from attacking Hamilton.
Mercedes informed Bottas that Hamilton was experiencing slight blistering and thus the team orders had to be imposed in order to ensure that Hamilton did not come under severe pressure from Vettel.
Hamilton did report some blistering and engine issues towards the end of the race, but there was no significant(or even marginal) drop in pace, as Hamilton cruised to victory, with Bottas helping him keep Vettel at bay.
Vettel having heard all those messages over the radio, apparently checked Hamilton’s car for blistering post the race, by rolling his car with his foot.
Check out the video:
Inspector Sebastian Vettel 005 😂👀🔎
— Sebastian Vettel #5 (@sebvettelnews) September 30, 2018
Whoo, Vettel going to check on his own if Hamilton really had a blister as Mercedes radio said pic.twitter.com/0hfAPuuw6Z
— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) September 30, 2018
Lewis Hamilton: “It was a difficult day. Valtteri was a real gentleman to let me through”
— Sky Sports F1 🏎 (@SkySportsF1) September 30, 2018
Ohh… Missed Radio message:
Hamilton 📻 I’m good, let’s swap back and give a win to Valtteri
— #RussianGP 🇷🇺 🏎️ (@Formula1_MotoGP) September 30, 2018
Vettel probably wanted to check if there indeed was some blistering or if Hamilton and Mercedes were bluffing.
With this win(thanks to the Mercedes team orders), Hamilton is now 50 points clear at the top of the driver’s standings, and only a miracle can help Vettel win it.