F1 - Race - 2018 Russian GP team quotes
Lance Stroll finished 15th and Sergey Sirotkin 18th in the Russian Grand Prix
Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer
Overall, it was a really frustrating afternoon. We’re obviously not racing where we’d like to race. We had the pace to beat both McLaren’s, but we were caught out by the severe graining on our ultrasoft tyre. This happened to McLaren as well, but they reacted better to it than we did. Consequently, we were fighting one on one with McLarens all afternoon and were unable to overtake whilst in their wake. Otherwise, we would have been able to improve our finishing positions, most of all for Sergey, who wouldn’t have finished so far down in his home race. We got two cars home, and we will keep learning and keep moving forwards.
It was pretty bad at the beginning. We had planned to go longer on the first stint but the tyres were really, really bad and we knew the soft tyre could go the whole race so we got on it as early as possible. It was a good race. I was hunting down Alonso but he was being smart fuel saving in the first sector and then pushing in the last sector. I just couldn’t hold him being so close behind but never got the DRS on the main straight. It was close but I never managed to get the DRS to have a go.
A very painful race. The most painful race of the year. I think we could have picked up some very good points from this race, in terms of where we’ve been and where the pace was. But from the start, every single bit went wrong for us. We’ve always been in the worst possible position on the track with the worst possible traffic situation. I think a few things we managed very well, but despite that the whole race has turned around against us and it was a very painful moment for me.
Racing Point FI
“Ninth place today is not too bad, but we hoped for more and I think we had the pace for more - certainly to be in front of the Haas. It’s a bit of a shame because the team swapped positions [with Sergio] to give us each a chance to attack Kevin [Magnussen] but it was very difficult to overtake, even with a longer DRS zone. Even at the start I lost out to Charles [Leclerc] because I was fighting with Kevin and ultimately it was one of those days when things didn’t really go in our favour. Considering what happened in the race it’s good to come away with both cars in the points.”
“We tried everything as a team today: trying to push all the time and it’s a bit disappointing not to maximise the points we could have scored. We swapped positions [with Esteban] because we thought I could put more pressure on Magnussen, but I couldn’t get through. Our race wasn’t the most exciting and in the end we could only follow each other. Overtaking was very hard and maybe we lacked a couple of hundred meters of DRS to be able to make a move. We tried our best and we worked well as a team, but in the end P9 and P10 was all we could achieve today.”
OTMAR SZAFNAUER, TEAM PRINCIPAL & CEO
“Both cars home safely in the points today, but we ended the day a little frustrated that we weren’t able to demonstrate the true pace of the car. We lost out to Leclerc on lap one and spent the rest of the afternoon trying to find a way past Magnussen. Despite a pace advantage we couldn’t make a move stick and had to settle for ninth and tenth places. Both our cars were running line astern for almost the entire afternoon and we swapped the cars around to give each driver a chance to get ahead of the Haas. In the end we didn’t have enough advantage in the parts of the lap where it mattered to get ahead. We’ve added a few more points to our tally and shown good pace across the weekend so I think we can be just as competitive next weekend in Suzuka.”
The race at the Sochi Autodrom saw Charles Leclerc score six more points for the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team, crossing the finishing line in 7th place after delivering a very solid performance. Marcus Ericsson, who finished in 13th place, also had a consistent and strong pace, but struggled to advance due to traffic. Both drivers made their start, respectively in P7 and P10, on hypersoft tyres. They began the race on a one-stop strategy, but with Ericsson the team opted to go for a second pitstop, changing to the ultrasoft compound, in an attempt to gain pace and move up the order. With impressive overtakes by Charles Leclerc in the Grand Prix, and an overall positive weekend in Russia to look back on, the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team heads to Japan feeling confident of their potential to finish the last few races of the 2018 season on a high.
The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team currently holds 9th place in the Constructors’ Championship. Charles Leclerc is in 15th (21 points), and Marcus Ericsson in 18th (6 points) in the Drivers’ Championship.
“It was a frustrating race for me. The car and my driving felt good, but unfortunately I was stuck behind another car for the majority of the race and could not advance. I worked hard on trying to overtake, but it is a difficult track to do that. We tried to gain some pace by making a second pitstop and changing to ultrasoft tyres, but it didn’t work. I look forward to being back in the car next week at Suzuka, one of my favourite tracks, and having a new chance for a strong result there.”
“I am very happy with the result today. It was a great race, with a strong strategy, and a car that felt very good to drive. The overtakes at the beginning of the race were on the limit but they helped us to finish the race in P7. To score such a result for the first time this season feels amazing, and is a good reward for all of the hard work we put in week after week. I am glad to have scored some more points and can’t wait for the next race in Japan.”
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
“It was a great event for us. We had good starting positions, and both drivers did a consistent job throughout the race. Charles showed some impressive overtakes in the opening laps of the race, and delivered when it was important. He was strong in managing his tyres and overall had a very strong race. Marcus gave a consistent performance, and had a good pace, especially at the start of the race. Unfortunately, he got stuck behind another car and could not move forward. It is a good sign for us as a team to have one of our cars finish in 7th place in a smooth race. We have to continue pushing and we will see what is possible in Japan.”
Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne finished 14th and 16th in today’s Russian Grand Prix, both completing one-stop races and adopting identical tyre strategies, starting on the Ultrasoft compound before an early switch to the Soft.
For both drivers, the race was a somewhat lonely affair: without the necessary performance in the car, there were few overtaking opportunities, and both drivers ran relatively solitary races to the chequer.
“It was quite a long race for us today. We were the only one with two sets of Soft tyres so we stopped very early trying to undercut some people and push them to pit early too, and some did.
“But the yellow-banded tyre behaved with no issues throughout the whole race, so our strategy didn’t turn out as well as we might have hoped.
“In terms or pure performance, we couldn’t really do much. Unfortunately, today there weren’t any retirements or Safety Cars, so 14th was the position we deserved.
“No points for us today. Let’s look ahead to Japan – hopefully we can score some there…”
“This was more or less what we expected before the start of the race. There weren’t really any incidents, and there weren’t too many overtakes for us.
“I had a bit of fun at the beginning with both Williams drivers; then with Carlos at the end, whom I managed to overtake, but apart from that it was a very lonely race for me.
“I think we pitted later than was really optimal: I lost about 10 seconds on the track, and it was impossible to make that time back during the race.”
Gil de Ferran
“We tried everything we could to maximise our finishing positions with both cars today. During the race, we pushed just in case the tyres started behaving in some unexpected way and we could look for an opportunity over the others.
“Unfortunately, our pace just wasn’t strong enough this weekend for us to bring home any points.
“Nonetheless, we’re still looking forward to next weekend. The guys in the garage have a lot of work to do to get everything ready for the Japanese Grand Prix, so I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their efforts. The whole team has done a great job operationally all weekend.
“Suzuka can’t come soon enough!”
Haas F1 Team inched four points closer to fourth-place Renault in the constructors’ standings as driver Kevin Magnussen delivered a solid eighth-place finish in the Russian Grand Prix Sunday at Sochi Autodrom. Teammate Romain Grosjean finished just outside the points in 11th.
The American squad remains fifth in the constructors’ ranks, but cut the gap to Renault to 11 points after Magnussen secured his ninth points-paying drive in this year’s FIA Formula One World Championship. Haas F1 Team also extended its advantage over sixth-place McLaren to 22 points.
Magnussen began the 53-lap race around the 5.848-kilometer (3.634-mile), 18-turn circuit in the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics from fifth in the 20-car field. He retained the spot through the always dicey opening lap, but on the second tour, Charles Leclerc wheeled his Sauber past Magnussen in the sweeping turn three. Grosjean, meanwhile, held steady in ninth.
The always strong Max Verstappen, who had started 19th as a grid penalty put him near the back, was roaring his way toward the front. On just the third lap, he powered his Red Bull by Grosjean to take ninth and then grabbed sixth from Magnussen on lap six.
This put the Haas F1 Team drivers in seventh and 10th, respectively, with the Force India duo of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez in between in eighth and ninth place.
Both Magnussen and Grosjean started on the Pirelli P Zero Pink hypersoft tire, which is the fastest tire in Pirelli’s lineup, but comes with a very limited lifespan in terms of performance.
This was on display on lap eight when Grosjean lost two positions – 10th to Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and then 11th to Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who joined teammate Verstappen at the back of the grid due to a penalty and was emulating his drive forward.
Haas F1 Team’s decision to pit Grosjean at the end of the lap was an easy one. Grosjean swapped the hypersofts he used in qualifying and subsequently started the race with for a new set of Yellow softs that would carry him to the finish. This dropped him to 16th.
Magnussen was on the same pit strategy as his teammate. He made his scheduled stop on lap nine, jettisoning the hypersoft rubber for new softs. Magnussen returned to the track in 13th.
As pit stops cycled through, Magnussen and Grosjean climbed back to their eventual finishing positions of eighth and 11th, respectively, with the Force India duo of Ocon and Perez staying between the Haas F1 Team pilots.
Lewis Hamilton won the Russian Grand Prix from his second-place starting spot to earn his milestone 70th career Formula One victory, his series-leading eighth this season and his third in a row. Hamilton beat his Mercedes teammate, polesitter Valtteri Bottas, by 2.545 seconds to take his third victory at Sochi and maintain Mercedes’ dominance at the track, as no other team has won the Russian Grand Prix.
Hamilton’s win, combined with Sebastian Vettel’s third-place finish, allowed Hamilton to extend his lead in the championship standings to 50 points over Vettel, with the Scuderia Ferrari driver being Hamilton’s closest pursuer in this year’s title chase.
Magnussen is seventh in the driver’s championship with 53 points and Grosjean is 14th with 27 points.
Only five races remain, with the next event being the Japanese Grand Prix Oct. 7 at Suzuka Circuit.
“I was very disappointed with that. I thought I drove a good race. I’d been struggling a bit for pace all weekend, but I felt in the race things got better. I was happy to keep Marcus (Ericsson) behind and then fight with the Renaults and overtake them. Then I realized I was only P11. I guess the Red Bulls started at the back, but after five laps they were already top-six. The Saubers were very fast, and the Force Indias were fast. We all just kept our positions. Unfortunately for me, two cars came by.”
“It was a tough race. We didn’t quite have enough pace – we were lacking a bit – so I found myself defending from the Force Indias, basically from lap one. I think we got all that we could. Leclerc was way too fast for us. He just overtook and pulled away easily. So, I think keeping the Force Indias behind was the maximum we could do. The pace we had yesterday in qualifying was better than the pace we had in the race today. I’m looking forward to Suzuka now. I think we’ll be strong there, and it’s also just a phenomenal track to drive. I think we’re all looking forward to that.”
“Again, we score points. We keep on adding to our account. Both drivers did a very good job today. We almost finished in the same positions where we started, counting out the two Red Bulls, who we knew would be coming through the field. With nobody going out ahead of us at the front, that’s the best we can finish, or almost the best. Leclerc did a great job, as well. Overall, it’s been a good weekend. We’re always thereabouts to score points, and we did today.”
Renault Sport Formula One Team fell short of its ambitions in the Russian Grand Prix with Nico Hülkenberg taking twelfth and Carlos Sainz nursing his crash-damaged car to seventeenth at the Sochi Autodrom today.
Running an alternate strategy to the cars ahead, both drivers made good headway early in the race on the Soft tyres, however Carlos was hampered by early contact damage to the floor and sidepod vane on the right-hand side of his car, meaning he dropped back through the race. Nico ran as high as seventh, however he finished two-places shy of the points. The team remain in fourth position in the Constructors’ Championship.
Nico started from P12 on new Pirelli Soft (yellow) tyres, pitting on lap 35 for a new set of Ultrasoft (purple) tyres.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get the maximum from the strategy today. We had a clean race without any incidents and it was positive to be running in P7 for so many laps, but we weren’t able to make the places back after the pit stop. We gave it our best shot and converted the alternative strategy pretty well, but we couldn’t make it pay off in the end.”
“I have mixed feelings after today. At the start I got away from the line really well on the Soft tyre and was past a couple of cars with the Hypersoft tyres. However, I got hit by a Williams into turn two and, even though I didn’t feel much, the floor and side of the car was destroyed and that made it really difficult to drive. I stayed out on track to try and help the team with the strategy, holding back the other midfield cars as much as possible, but unfortunately today the points were out of reach. When I jumped out at the end of the race I could see how bad the damage was and it made sense why the car was almost undriveable. Time to prepare for Japan now.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal
“It was a disappointing race for us. It’s clear we made the correct decision in qualifying yesterday as it offered the best strategy for the Grand Prix today, racing in seventh place before our stop and clearly in contention for points. Unfortunately we weren’t able to capitalise on the full benefits. Carlos suffered from contact early in the race and the damage cost him a second per lap thereafter. Nico’s strategy looked to be working with a similar race pace to our direct competitors, but our race, and in particular the last stint, was compromised by excessive fuel management earlier in the race. Overall a weekend to put behind us; we knew we would struggle here and we gave it our best so we move on to Japan.”
“Since the start of the race I had a really strange feeling with the brake pedal, it went pretty long and got worse very quickly. Then, on the third lap at Turn 4, I braked and the pedal went completely flat, so we lost all the front brakes and had to retire the car. We need to have a look at the data to see exactly what happened, but it’s just a shame to see both cars retire so early in the race.”
“I had a good start and passed Pierre before Turn 5, I was attacking the McLaren when the brake pedal went long. I reported it on the radio and then made our planned pit stop. We were going to try and be a bit cheeky with the strategy and do almost a full race on the Softs, we had great tyre life and pace and think it would have worked. However, once I left the pits the pedal went completely to the floor, the rears locked and the car spun. The same happened across both cars at the same moment so I’m sure the team will quickly diagnose and sort it out for the next race. We are all excited for Suzuka with the upgrades and performance we saw on Friday.”
Franz Tost (Team Principal)
“It was a frustrating Sunday for Toro Rosso as both cars had to retire. For whatever reason we ended up with very hot front brakes and one piston in the calipers got stuck. This caused the overheating of the brake fluid and a long pedal. Therefore, we called the drivers to come to the garage. Obviously, being in Parc Fermé conditions, we didn’t change anything from yesterday, so we need to investigate further what the reason is. The positive side of this weekend is Honda’s new upgraded engine which is a big improvement. Now we are focussing on preparing everything for Suzuka where we hopefully will have a much better race.”
Toyoharu Tanabe (Honda F1 Technical Director)
“After everyone at Toro Rosso and Honda worked so hard all weekend, it was very disappointing to have both cars retire with a technical problem after only a handful of laps. Now, we are all focussed on the Japanese Grand Prix, as we will be on track at Suzuka this Friday. We look forward to a better weekend in front of our home fans.”
Scuderia Ferrari ended the Russian GP in the positions from which they started, third for Seb Vettel and fourth for Kimi Raikkonen. Now it’s time to look ahead to the next Grand Prix, which takes place this coming weekend in Suzuka.
FILM OF THE RACE
Rain before the start caught everyone’s attention, as a few drops fell on the grid, while the sun still shone. The thermometer indicated that air temperature was 24 and the track was at 27.
The first four started on Ultrasoft tyres, with the SF71Hs both on the second row. Seb tucked into Hamilton’s slipstream, getting alongside at Turn 1, but he was unable to get past as they hit the braking area. Kimi was right behind. The pace settled down in the first stint prior to the pit stops.
Bottas came in early on lap 13. Ferrari reacted, bringing Sebastian in next time round for a set of yellow Softs. The number 5 car came out in clear air behind Valtteri. Seb gave it his all and when Hamilton, who had to cover the Ferrari move, came out of the pits, he found the red car ahead of him. The two men engaged in battle, but the Mercedes man managed to retake second place. The race director announced an investigation into Vettel’s first defensive move, but it was deemed that no offence had been committed.
All this left Kimi in the lead and he tried to get out ahead of Ricciardo. He pulled it off and everyone on track was now using the harder tyre. Both Ferraris posted fastest race laps. Verstappen was leading, but he had yet to pit and the others were lined up behind him.
On lap 25, Bottas slowed and let his team-mate through. Seb continued to force the pace, setting the fastest lap on lap 32, followed by Kimi. In terms of race pace, the Ferrari seemed more competitive than in qualifying. Raikkonen did what he had to fend off Verstappen, who only changed tyres in the closing stages. Seb was slowed by backmarkers and that’s how the race ended. “We tried,” said Vettel over the radio. And we’ll try again.
“Right from Friday, the Sochi weekend was rather a difficult one for us. Despite all our efforts to find the ideal set-up, neither on Saturday nor in the race were we competitive enough to worry our closest rivals. Compared to the way we performed at other circuits, something was missing here and so we were unable to reduce the points gap. On paper, the next race in Japan should have very similar characteristics to the one at Silverstone, so in Suzuka, we will get a more precise indication as to the potential of our car. If it goes well, we will know that, despite the difficult situation in terms of the classification, we still have the right tools with which to fight all the way to the very end.”
“Today the feeling with the car was very good and I was able to push, but I just wasn’t as fast as the others. Obviously, today it was better than yesterday in terms of pace, but it wasn’t enough to put pressure on our competitors. We tried everything and I am happy that we got a podium finish, but obviously this is not the result we were looking for. My start was good, but there wasn’t much track space for me and I could go nowhere. After pit stop we were able to overcome Lewis, but he could pull ahead more than us and at the end there was nothing to do. We lost some points during the two last races and it doesn’t help, but we have our plan to follow and hopefully we can make some progress in the races to come. Maybe the next couple of tracks are better suited for us, we will know when we get there. We need to keep pushing and try; who knows what will happen in the next races.”
“Not much happened in my race today, I was most of the time on my own. Unfortunately, this is what we kind of expected to happen. The feeling with the car was pretty good; with the first set of tires we suffered a bit with the front left, but then on the Softs the car was very nice to drive. Unfortunately yesterday in qualifying we were not fast enough and obviously today in the race it was very difficult to overtake.”
“To come from the back to finish fifth was a very good result today. I had a good start, a good first lap and from then onwards we could go through the traffic more easily than expected and also manage the tyres very well. It was a bit tricky at the start because Pierre stalled in front of me and I had to go around him. Then going into Turn 2 we were careful not to have any contact and after the first eight laps we were fifth and still in the pit stop window of Ferrari and Mercedes. After they pitted they couldn’t get past me. Unexpectedly, I was in the lead of the race and could keep them behind which shows that we really had very good pace, even on old tyres. Then once we stopped, we just had to bring it home. The tyre strategy was right because the Soft tyres were the only option we had in order to go as long as possible into the race. Today was better than expected, so I hope that the rest of the races this season will also be better than we expect. I enjoyed myself out there and this is a good result for my birthday.”
“The first lap was a bit of a mess and there are a few little things I will look back on and try to do better. Two cars were fighting at Turn 8 and as I went to pass them I was on the marbles, then off-track, which lost me positions. I then tried to take the slipstream of what I think was the McLaren but when I pulled out of the tow I hit some debris damaging my front wing. From then on, we had a bit of a limp and my race was pretty lonely. I think as a Team, fifth and sixth was probably the best we could achieve from the back of the grid today but obviously I would like to have been closer to fifth than seventh. Although we had better pace than expected this weekend I think we still made the right decision to take the penalties and on paper Suzuka, Austin and Mexico look better for us. I may have forgotten what champagne tastes like and I definitely want more before the season is out, so I will do what I can in Suzuka to get that.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal
“A fantastic drive from Max today on his 21st birthday; it was a really mature performance and getting into the top six in the first seven laps was phenomenal to watch. Max then led the race for a large percentage of the Grand Prix but of course we had to make the mandatory pit stop, which we did with ten laps to go, putting him out of touch with the leaders. With the Ultrasoft tyres being quite fragile he was unable to take the fight to Ferrari in the closing stages, bringing his car home in fifth place. Daniel unfortunately incurred front wing damage on the first lap, losing him front downforce, which he had to manage throughout the first part of the race. He was still able to make his way into the top six and once he was clear of Leclerc the Team was able to do a fast nose change and get him back out on track in sixth position. Finishing fifth and sixth behind Ferrari and Mercedes was the optimum we could have achieved from the back of the grid today, but it has been very encouraging to see the strong pace of the RB14 all weekend.”
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport claim a 1-2 victory in Sochi
Lewis scored his 70th career victory today in Formula One – his eighth of the 2018 season and third at the Sochi Autodrom
Valtteri was an incredible gentleman today. Honestly, it’s the strangest day I can remember having in the sport in my career. I remember, we have crossed this situation and discussion before. It’s always felt super uncomfortable, I was like ‘Look, I want to win the right way’, that’s always how it is for me. I would say ‘Look, as racing drivers we exist to win, and if you tell us we can’t win, it’s like you are taking our air away, our life away’. It’s that deep. I would never wish it upon anyone else and would never ask for it, ever. I made sure when we were in a meeting before, I was like ‘Just so you know, I’ve never gone to Toto and those guys, this is not how I want to win’. Obviously, the team took the decision when they saw that my tyres were blistered and Vettel was charging from behind. There are stronger heads in the team who are like ‘We have to win, it’s all about the win. We have got to win both Championships, we don’t care who finishes ahead’. I think ultimately, it’s really important right this second to first acknowledge Valtteri, because as I said he was just the ultimate gentleman. It is very weird to feel down but we’ve also got to feel grateful to the guys back at the factory. So many people are working flat-out to make sure we have a 1-2 like this, the team have just done an incredible job this weekend. We have to really embrace the moment still, but it’s definitely a victory on my list of wins that I am least proud of.
It’s been a tough day. We got a good result for us as a team with maximum points, but for me personally it was a difficult race. Although I already understand the situation. If you put yourself in the team leader’s shoes, for them it doesn’t matter if it is me or Lewis winning, as long as we are 1-2 we get the maximum points. For the end of the year, it’s only Lewis fighting for the Championship, I am not. So, for the team, it is always better that Lewis wins – that’s how it goes. It is not ideal for me as an athlete and a person, but that is a fact. We are playing as a team and I am prepared to play as a team. I took one for the team today, I will take one for the team tomorrow. That’s how it goes, but I am also looking forward to next year, starting a new season. I know that today I was supposed to win and I could’ve won the race on equal terms. I know myself I am the winner of this weekend. I don’t have the trophy but it doesn’t matter. That’s how it is and I move on.
We are all racers at heart and what we want to see is out and out racing and may the quickest man win. But then we are a bunch of rational guys - we discuss things in the morning and then everything is different in the race. This is what happened today. We should be over the moon with a 1-2 and fundamentally we are. But we also feel that it went against Valtteri – it would have been a race win for him and we changed it. Valtteri is such a tremendous team player, but it’s deflating for a driver and deflating for a team. We discussed who to pit first and then we did it with Vatteri because that would protect his win. It was one lap too late with Lewis and he lost the position to Sebastian. This triggered this mess because Lewis came out behind Sebastian and then needed to attack. That caused the blister and we needed to protect when Sebastian was all over Lewis on damaged tyres. Lewis was far back, but when we told Valtteri to switch position at Turn 13, he did it immediately. This is who you want to have within the team because you need to rely on these guys in the same way they rely on us. This is what makes it feel even worse. But there is a harsh reality also that on such a day you can extend the lead by several points more in a Championship that has been very tough and very difficult at times. Sometimes you have to take it and this is what we did today. We finished 1-2, we have a 50 point advantage and that feels good on a day that has otherwise been very difficult.
After the margin of yesterday’s Qualifying that was a really, really tough race. The pace of the Ferrari put us under pressure all the way through the first stint and we rather fumbled things as a consequence, allowing us to lose the place to Sebastian at the first stop. Lewis spared our blushes with a beautiful overtaking move and put thing back on an even keel for us. But a little later in the race we got into a degree of difficulty once again when Lewis followed Valtteri quite closely from behind, damaging his rear tyres. At that point we were fearful of losing a position to a hard-charging Vettel. With Valtteri in front and on rubber that was working well, we took the very difficult decision to allow Lewis to go in front and have a car with good rubber protecting the 1-2 that would come our way if we would just look after the tyres to the finish. And that’s what happened in the end, we managed to get the 1-2, but it was a desperately difficult day for Valtteri. He took this disappointment like a Trojan, but I could see standing next to him on the podium looking into his eyes that it was hurting him. Valtteri is a brilliant teammate and a racer of real quality who had the pace to win today and who will have much better days ahead – and here’s to that!
30 September 2018 - 17h25, by Olivier Ferret
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