It wasn’t the greatest race of all-time, but it was the end of a 392 day victory drought for Sebastian Vettel, undercutting Lewis Hamilton and most crucially his teammate Charles Leclerc during the pit-stop period to claim the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix, his 53rd race win in his Formula One career, and the third-straight victory for Ferrari in what was Ferrari’s first one-two finish since the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix.
It is just the second time since the start of 2014 that Mercedes haven’t won over a three-race period, and they will be determined to turn their recent form around at the Sochi Autodrom, a place where they not only haven’t been beaten at, but have also had three one-two finishes.
It is the 2019 Russian Grand Prix, Round 16 of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship.
Lewis Hamilton (296 points) still leads the championship by 65 points over his Mercedes teammate in Valtteri Bottas (231 points), and both will be desperate to end Ferrari’s great run of form.
Charles Leclerc (200 points) is up into third in the world championship for Ferrari, and ahead of Max Verstappen (200 points) from Red Bull Racing-Honda based on having one more second-place finish compared to Verstappen after finishing behind his teammate Vettel in Singapore, and given his form since the mid-season break, he could potentially challenge Bottas for second in the championship, something which Verstappen will also fancy his chances of grabbing with a couple of rounds coming up that he and Red Bull should enjoy, in particular in Mexico at high altitude, which will take away the power-unit advantage that both Mercedes and Ferrari have over the Honda (and the Renault).
Vettel (194 points) will also have this same mindset after ending his victory drought in Singapore, and you wouldn’t bet against him in challenging Bottas for second-place in the world championship.
Behind the Top Five in the championship, Pierre Gasly (69 points) remains in sixth in the standings after finishing eighth for Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda, ahead of McLaren-Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr. (58 points), while Alexander Albon (42 points) moves into eighth in the world championship after finishing sixth in his third race for Red Bull Racing-Honda, and is ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo (34 points) and Gasly’s teammate Daniil Kvyat (33 points), who both failed to score in Singapore.
Looking at the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes (527 points) have a lead of 133 points over Ferrari (394 points), with Red Bull Racing-Honda (289 points) continuing to consolidate third in the standings.
Behind the Top Three, McLaren-Renault (89 points) pull away slightly from Renault (67 points), with Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda (55 points) closing in slightly on the French constructor, followed by Racing Point-BWT Mercedes (46 points), Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari (35 points), Haas-Ferrari (26 points), and Williams-Mercedes (one point).
So, who is going to win the 2019 Russian Grand Prix?
Ferrari on paper look very competitive at the Sochi Autodrom, but you feel you need a well-rounded, all-round car in Sochi, and Mercedes have that, and have shown this throughout 2019, consistently having the best race pace, but if Ferrari can win this weekend, they could start changing the face of this championship, if not for a championship challenge at Lewis Hamilton this season, a championship challenge at him and Mercedes in 2020.