Hamilton closes on third world title in Sochi
Lewis Hamilton took a decisive step in claiming a third world championship crown with a dominant victory in the Russian Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver dominated the race after taking the lead from team-mate Nico Rosberg in the early laps when the German encountered an issue with his throttle pedal.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel came through to finish second to move ahead of Rosberg in the championship, while Force India’s Sergio Perez inherited third after a frantic final lap.
Rosberg’s problem struck shortly after the race was neutralised following a opening lap crash involving Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson.
Unable to fix the issue, the pole sitter was forced to retire, allowing Hamilton to cruise to his ninth win of the season.
Hamilton’s triumph leaves the Brit on the verge of a third world championship in Austin if he scores two more points than Rosberg at the Circuit of the Americas.
While Hamilton enjoyed a trouble free run to victory, the battle for third was only decided on the final lap.
Perez had held the position on the penultimate lap after making the most of a long stint on soft compound tyres.
However, a hard charging Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen managed to slide by the Mexican heading into the last tour.
Raikkonen then tried an audacious move on Bottas that resulted in contact, with the Williams driver ultimately spinning out of the race. The incident was the subject of a post race investigation by the stewards.
As a result, Perez reclaimed third while Felipe Massa surged by Raikkonen’s wounded Ferrari that limped to the chequered flag in fifth.
Russian Daniil Kvyat finished his home race in sixth ahead of Sauber’s Felipe Nasr and the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado.
Meanwhile, it was a positive day for McLaren with Jenson Button ninth and Fernando Alonso in 10th.
Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen recovered from a puncture on the first lap to finish 11th.
Team-mate Carlos Sainz was on course for a stunning points finish before a brake problem saw him spin out of the race.
The Spaniard was granted medical clearance to compete just 24 hours after being hospitalised following a scary crash in Practice 3.
It proved to be a difficult race for Daniel Ricciardo who managed to fight his way through to fourth before a suspension failure saw him retire six laps from the end.
The race was halted for a second time on lap 14 when Romain Grosjean suffered a scary high speed crash at Turn 3. Luckily the Lotus driver escaped the incident without injury.
Revised Result: Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix, Sochi
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||53 laps|
|3||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||+28.918s|
|5||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull-Renault||+47.566s|
|11||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso-Renault||+1:28.424s|
|13||Roberto Merhi||Marussia-Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|14||Will Stevens||Marussia-Ferrari||2 Laps|
|15||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull-Renault||Suspension|
|DNF||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso-Renault||Brakes|
|DNF||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Mercedes||Spun off|
|DNF||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||Collision|