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Russia analysis - Rosberg left rueing costly error

13 Oct 2014

Nico Rosberg staged a remarkable recovery drive to finish second in Sochi on Sunday, but was left lamenting the opening-lap error which forced him into the pits and helped Mercedes team mate and race winner Lewis Hamilton open up a 17-point championship lead.

Williams' Valtteri Bottas was the only driver able to threaten the Silver Arrows, while a resurgent McLaren claimed their best team result since the 2014 season-opener in Australia. Their upturn was in direct contrast to Toro Rosso, with Jean-Eric Vergne and home favourite Daniil Kvyat plunging down the order. We take a team-by-team look back on the first Formula One Grand Prix to be held on Russian soil...

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton, P1

Nico Rosberg, P2

When Rosberg's overly bold passing move under braking for Turn 2 flat-spotted his front tyres, Hamilton was left to cruise to his fourth consecutive victory, his ninth of the season, and the 31st of his career - bringing him level with Nigel Mansell's British record for Grand Prix wins. Hamilton thus opened up a 17-point championship lead over his team mate. Rosberg said the reason he was able to recover to second place was all down to the excellence of his Mercedes F1 W05 Hybrid, but he did a great job to get back up there, having had to run 52 laps on the set of mediums he took after his error. With their ninth one-two and 13th triumph of the season, Mercedes deservedly secured their first Formula One constructors' championship.

Williams

Valtteri Bottas, P3

Felipe Massa, P11

Bottas was able to hang on to Hamilton for the first 15 laps before his rear tyres began to give up, and thereafter he pushed as hard as he could. Unfortunately he couldn't keep Rosberg at bay, but he didn't give up the chase and kept the German honest in the closing stages, even setting the fastest lap on the final tour. Massa's strategy from 18th on the grid was compromised by traffic, and though he followed Rosberg through the backmarkers initially, he became trapped behind Perez for the rest of the race and missed out on a point even though the Mexican was nursing his fuel. Oddly, the Force India had superior straight-line speed, something the Williams has enjoyed all season.

McLaren

Jenson Button, P4

Kevin Magnussen, P5

The decision to revert to the new aero package, taken after FP3 on Saturday, paid off for McLaren in qualifying and again in the race when they were the third best team. Button drove beautifully for fourth, while Magnussen made rapid progress to rise from 11th on the grid to fifth place within the opening four laps. He needed to nurse his fuel consumption in the latter stages, but his position in the top five was relatively comfortable. McLaren's 22-point haul lifted them well clear of Force India in the fight for fifth place overall.

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso, P6

Kimi Raikkonen, P9

Alonso and Raikkonen both rued a lack of straight-line speed and the need to manage their fuel situation and were never in the hunt as a result, though Alonso did a brilliant job of coping with all that while keeping Ricciardo at bay.

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo, P7

Sebastian Vettel, P8

Ricciardo got stuck behind Vettel early on and stopped for mediums as early as the 11th lap. That paid off as, although Vettel got to the 30th lap before switching to mediums, the Australian was able to go by while he was in the pits. Thereafter Ricciardo hounded Alonso, without ever quite being able to find the way by. Vettel was a lonely eighth, troubled by his RB10's nervous rear end.

Force India

Sergio Perez, P10

Nico Hulkenberg, P12

Perez had to use a lot of fuel keeping up with the soft-tyred runners on his mediums early in the race, and that cost him later. The Mexican did a terrific job to eke out his fuel and stay ahead of Massa - at one stage his crew declared his fuel situation to be 'desperate' - but he still made it home for the final point. Hulkenberg paid the price for his five-place grid drop, but was closing on Massa and his team mate in the final stages.

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne, P13

Daniil Kvyat, P14

Toro Rosso had a bruising race. The STR9 was quick and handled well, but fuel consumption problems obliged both drivers to back off and drive well off the pace in order to make the finish.

Sauber

Esteban Gutierrez, P15

Adrian Sutil, P16

Sauber had little to write home about, apart from the spin that Grosjean tapped Sutil into on the 29th lap.

Lotus

Romain Grosjean, P17

Pastor Maldonado, P18

Lotus had neither grip nor performance, and Grosjean's race was interrupted by a five-second stop and go penalty after he inadvertently tapped a passing Sutil into a spin in Turn 2 on the 29th lap.

Caterham

Marcus Ericsson, P19

Kamui Kobayashi, Retired lap 22, overheating brakes

Ever since Caterham introduced a revised rear-wheel brake-by-wire system Ericsson has been a revelation, and once again he outshone Kobayashi and fought tooth and nail with Maldonado for a long time. Kobayashi, however, retired early with overheating brakes.

Marussia

Max Chilton, Retired lap 10, wheel bearing

Marussia went into the race with heavy hearts but high hopes in Jules Bianchi's honour, but unfortunately Chilton's race ended early with a suspected failure of the right-rear wheel bearing.