We leave Russia where Mercedes once again reigned supreme and retained their crown as Constructors Champions whilst Lewis Hamilton is just one race win away from becoming the Formula One World Champion for a second successive year and third time in his career, but these were not the only talking points with various stories up and down the pit lane I will now try to dissect.
Pirelli Seal The Deal
Pirelli have possibly secured the biggest deal of the season so far by guaranteeing they will be the sole tyre supplier to Formula One until the end of the 2019 season, they beat of serious competition from Michelin and calls from some people to allow tyre wars once again in the paddock but this was quashed.
Not only have Pirelli secured another lucrative deal with Formula One they also had their demands met for 18 testing days in 2016 to test out the new tyre dimensions due to come in for the 2017 season.
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I imagine several drivers were not happy with this announcement as some have been quite vocal in their opinions against the tyres Pirelli currently offer, I personally think that this deal is good for Formula One and should result in more consistent tyres and an easier transition to the bigger rims in 2017 although, for variation amongst teams and race results I would love to see tyre wars again.
Ferrari Will Not Supply Red Bull For 2016
The biggest story of the weekend surrounded Red Bull’s engine woes for 2016 with it being revealed on Friday that Ferrari have ruled out supplying Red Bull any grade of engine for the 2016 season but would be open to supplying Toro Rosso a 2015 spec engine.
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This revelation caused panic in the paddock with Red Bull locked in crisis meetings throughout the entire weekend, Bernie Ecclestone could also be seen hopping between various team hospitality units after being deep in conversation with Christian Horner from Red Bull, as Bernie knows the cost of losing Red Bull from Formula One and losing 4 cars would be critical for the sport.
It is looking like a renewal of the deal with Renault could be their best shot at staying in the sport but with Red Bull’s very vocal damnation of the Renault power unit this season they will have to do some serious grovelling which began when Christian Horner made it clear they were thankful for the success Renault had given them between 2010 and 2013.
I have no sympathy for Red Bull and whatever happens is what they deserve for they shouldn't treat a manufacturer as badly as they treated Renault and then expect their Championship competitors to supply them with a competitive engine.
Progress For McLaren
It seems as though McLaren have finally made some much-needed progress and at a track where very few expected them to go well, by no means did either Button or Alonso light up the timing screens but they gained more crucial data and seemed to be ale to be amongst some of the back runners.
Button did impress in qualifying, starting thirteenth on the grid, in front of cars certainly faster than him. In the race itself, were it not for Alonso running wide at turn 16 during the race it would have been a double points finish.
Nevertheless, I think McLaren can leave Russia happy with the progress they made between Japan and Sochi with high hopes they can continue their progress not only for this season but also leading on into next season. I certainly have a little bit more confidence in McLaren Honda than I did five races ago.
Hamilton Surpasses Senna:
Lewis Hamilton surpassed his Hero Ayrton Senna’s race victory record of 41 race wins in Sochi a target he set himself when he was just a boy, this now takes him level with Sebastian Vettel on 42 wins with Alain Prost ahead of the pair with 51 wins and Michael Schumacher well out in front with an astonishing 91 race wins.
Despite Hamilton being almost 50 race wins behind Schumacher if Mercedes can continue supplying Hamilton with the tools to win I see no reason why he cannot surpass that record in the next few years.
With at least 20 races featuring on the calendar each year it’s certainly achievable if his dominance continues, although I am sure Vettel will have something to say about that as I expect Ferrari to really take the fight to the Mercs next season.