The Russian Grand Prix is not usually considered one of the best of the season, as its layout is not the most exciting or one in which there are large amounts of overtaking. However, the 2021 edition was another story. The rain was the main factor in this, since, in the last 6 laps, a rain that started as light, but worsened within the next few seconds, forced the teams and drivers to make very fast strategic decisions, some did well, but others did not. On Saturday the qualifying session took place, where a surprising Lando Norris took pole position and started in the first position on the starting grid. Already with the rain present, the British driver and team decided not to stop and finish the race on their slick tyres, which was not the appropriate strategy and ended up losing the leadership of the race, the victory of the same, and fell to the seventh position. In his place, Lewis Hamilton emerged victorious with Max Verstappen - his world title contender - in second place.
Two-time world champion, Mika Häkkinen, shared his thoughts on this round of the Formula 1 world championship. The former Finnish driver has described the 2021 season as a 'to remember'. Also, he has expressed his feelings about Lando Norris' painful defeat due to the weather conditions, these were his words.
“I felt sorry for Lando, who drove brilliantly all weekend; he got pole position in difficult conditions and dominated the race until the rain came. " The Finn affirmed. "After finishing second behind his McLaren teammate Daniel Ricciardo in Italy, you could really feel his determination to win at Sochi."
"It's easy to criticize, but when you try to get your first F1 win, you are often faced with tough decisions." He confessed him. “In this case, the decision to stop felt more difficult than the decision to continue and try to win. Lando has great control of the car, especially in the wet, so it all came down to the confidence and the risk that he was willing to take. ”
After the race, many people began to question the team for the decision they had made not to stop, however, it was hours later until the radio between Norris and McLaren was published where they decided if they were going to stop on intermediate tyres or not. That's where the British driver can be heard saying a blunt 'no!' to his race engineer.
“No matter what the team thinks, the driver is the one who knows how much grip he has in the car. You feel it through your hands on the wheel, your feet on the pedals. As grip decreases, only the driver knows which parts of the track are still dry enough, and Lando felt that he could get the car to the finish, especially when Lewis made his pitstop. "
"Seeing how disappointed he, Daniel and McLaren are to finish fourth and seventh shows how high their ambitions are at this stage of the season."
And it is true, if a team knew that their car was not up to fighting even for points, this team would be surprised and happy to have finished in those positions, however, McLaren knows that their car is possibly the fastest they have done in recent years, and the fastest of the 8 teams that are not in contention for the championships. That's when you can see that they know they are capable of fighting for a second or third place, even for the victory of the race, as we could already see their 1-2 at Monza a few weeks ago.
“As I have said before, I have no doubt that Lando's first victory is not far off. He should be proud of his performance on Sunday. " He claimed the two-time Formula 1 champion.