There was no red letter day for Ferrari at Sochi but it was all pretty and silver from the perspective of the Mercedes team.
It could be said, the taste of the vodka may not carry happy bubbles necessarily for two men on the grid. For starters, Sebastian Vettel may be ruing the chance of seizing control at the 2018 Russian Grand Prix, having missed the win quite comprehensively, his Ferrari proving no match for the dominant Mercedes.
Secondly, one's got to feel for Valtteri Bottas. How often has a second finish on the podium felt like a mental defeat in the end?
Had Hamilton’s move on Vettel not happened, wherein the Sochi winner dived into the inside of the Ferrari to lunge ahead, it may have been a drab Grand Prix.
That said, in what seemed a pretty straightforward Mercedes run here at Sochi, what were the 5 interesting talking points from Round 15 of the 2018 season?
Was the prevalence of team orders really necessary?
For starters, there was hardly a doubt about the prominence of the silver cars. Having said that, did it make a lot of sense to get the team orders into play, given how solid the two Mercedes looked, having locked the front row of the grid?
One wonders about the moment Hamilton when passed Vettel in what was clearly the the turning point as well as the most thrilling moment of the race, there wasn't going to be a lot of defiance from the Prancing Horse outfit.
In that perspective, should Toto Wolff's team have allowed Valtteri Bottas to be in P2 to retain his track position?
Regardless of whose fan you are, you've got to spare a thought for Bottas.
Is this effectively the end to Vettel and, thus Ferrari's hopes?
The equation in front of Vettel, who was trailing Hamilton by forty points, heading into Sochi was pretty simple. He had to win in order to keep his title hopes alive. Now that he's secured only a third with Hamilton reigning at the top, the gap between the German and the Briton is a huge fifty points. Is this game over for Ferrari?
Spare a thought for Charles Leclerc;
If there's a dazzling new talent in F1 then it's Charles Leclerc and to be honest, it's not hard to understand why. The Frenchman was fast on the main straights and drove with tremendous control in the tricky corners. In so doing, the Sauber driver collected a gritty seventh, his best finish at Sochi. The best part about the confident young Leclerc is that Ferrari are going to inherit his bright talent; and it may just prove to be the move that they need in an era where world titles have been running dry.
With every Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc reminds us just why's he so highly rated. And his move over Magnussen was stuff of legends!
Is Hamilton unbeatable ahead?
Clinching his eighth win of the season and his seventieth overall, Lewis Hamilton proves that he's just simply unstoppable. While his team certainly stepped up to help him, letting Bottas know that it was pertinent to let the Briton through, but even then, one can't sideline Hamilton producing what clearly was the moment of the 2018 Russian Grand Prix, that epic move over Vettel, whom he'd lost a track position to after he pitted on lap fifteen.
Not bad at all by Max;
For a driver who began his Sochi run from nineteenth, miles adrift of the main men on the grid at the front, Max Verstappen's fifth place finish in the end was every bit worthy of the applause that he's currently being showered with.
Max truly is one of the most gifted drivers of his generation and in making some sensational moves all throughout the 2018 Russian Grand Prix, the Dutchman proved that he wasn't going to let anything come in his way of climbing to the front of the grid, that too, on his 21st b'day. Well done to Max for collecting ten solid points for the Bulls.