Hamilton goes wire-to-wire in Sochi for fourth straight win

10406613_744925308922133_4435663148013705069_n“Congratulations on the constructors’ world championship. History in the making!”

With those words Lewis Hamilton swept to his victory in the inaugural Grand Prix on Russian soil – also the Briton’s fourth consecutive win – at Sochi Autodrom on Sunday.

For the world championship points leader it had been a walk in the park for all but a few anxious moments after the start, when team mate Nico Rosberg pulled alongside going into Turn 2. The German had the inside line, but locked up heavily under braking, flat-spotting his tyres so badly that he needed to pit for fresh rubber at the end of the first lap.

That condemned Rosberg to 52 laps on the medium-compound Pirellis, and a race of playing catch-up from 20th place. His recovery was superb, and he finished just 13.6s behind Hamilton at the chequered flag.

BzwA8S0IEAAg5jNThe 43-point haul for Mercedes – their ninth one-two and 13th win of the season – clinched the Stuttgart manufacturer’s first Formula One constructors’ world championship crown.

Williams’ Valtteri Bottas was the only man who could keep the Silver Arrows in sight. He clung to Hamilton initially, but gradually lost ground and was unable to keep his FW36 ahead as Rosberg’s smooth recovery progress brought him up through the field.

The Finn began closing on Rosberg in the final stages, however, setting several BzvcsouIcAAEgVpfastest laps but ultimately falling 3.7s short in the fight for second. His fifth podium of the season moves him up to fourth in the drivers’ standings, and keeps Williams firmly ahead of Ferrari in the constructors’ stakes.

Jenson Button had a tremendous race for the revitalised McLaren team, heading home team mate Kevin Magnussen in fourth and fifth places respectively, while Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso just fended off the constant attentions of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo to secure sixth.

Sebastian Vettel ran a lot longer than his Red Bull team mate in his first stint BzwavAQCcAIYdeKthis time, but could not stay ahead in the second half of the race and had to be content with eighth.

Kimi Raikkonen was a distant ninth in the second Ferrari, while Force India’s Sergio Perez drove a cracking race, on fumes towards the end, to keep Felipe Massa at bay even though the Williams driver, who started near the back on medium-compound tyres, was running on the faster softs at the end.

Nico Hulkenberg in the second Force India was catching Massa towards the end, but ultimately had to settle for 12th, while the Toro Rossos had a horrible BzwavaTCUAAcFjAtime after their practice promise. Home favourite Daniil Kvyat tumbled down the order and finished an unhappy 14th, one spot behind team mate Jean-Eric Vergne.

Esteban Gutierrez beat Sauber team mate Adrian Sutil for 15th, the German delayed when Lotus’s Romain Grosjean inadvertently tapped him into a spin on the 28th lap.

The Frenchman received a stop-go penalty for that but still headed team mate Pastor Maldonado home in 17th and 18th. The final place went to Marcus BzwavQlCUAM8nO2Ericsson, who fought hard all race to stay ahead of the Venezuelan. His Caterham team mate Kamui Kobayashi joined Marussia’s Max Chilton in retirement; the Japanese driver had overheating brakes, the Briton a suspected suspension problem.

Hamilton now heads the driver standings by 17 points from Rosberg, 291 to 274, with Ricciardo third on 199, still mathematically in title contention with 100 points available from the remaining three rounds.

 Russian Grand Prix Race Results
Pos. Car # Driver Laps Status Behind Points
1 44 Lewis Hamiton 53 Running Leader 25
2 6 Nico Roseberg 53 Running -13.6 18
3 77 Valtteri Bottas 53 Running -17.4 15
4 22 Jenson Button 53 Running -30.2 12
5 20 Kevin Magnussen 53 Running -53.6 10
6 14 Fernando Alonso 53 Running -60.0 8
7 3 Daniel Ricciardo 53 Running -61.8 6
8 1 Sebastian Vettel 53 Running -66.1 4
9 7 Kimi Raikkonen 53 Running -78.8 2
10 11 Sergio Perez 53 Running -80.0 1
11 19 Felipe Massa 53 Running -80.8 0
12 27 Nico Hulkenberg 53 Running -81.3 0
13 25 Jean-Eric Vergne 53 Running -97.2 0
14 26 Daniil Kvyat 52 Running -1 Lap 0
15 21 Esteban Gutierrez 52 Running -1 Lap 0
16 99 Adrian Sutil 52 Running -1 Lap 0
17 8 Romain Grojean 52 Running -1 Lap 0
18 13 Pastor Maldonado 52 Running -1 Lap 0
19 9 Marcus Ericsson 51 Running -2 Laps 0
20 10 K. Kobayashi 21 Brakes -32 Laps 0
21 4 Max Chilton 9 Retired -44 Laps 0

 

Drivers Championship after Russia
Pos. Car # Driver Team Points Behind
1 44 L. Hamiton Mercedes 291 Leader
2 6 N. Roseberg Mercedes 274 -17
3 3 D. Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 199 -92
4 77 V. Bottas William-Mercedes 145 -146
5 1 S. Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 143 -148
6 14 F. Alonso Ferrari 141 -150
7 22 J. Button McLaren-Mercedes 94 -197
8 27 N. Hulkenberg Force india-Mercedes 76 -215
9 19 F. Massa William-Mercedes 71 -220
10 20 K. Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 49 -242
11 11 S. Perez Force india-Mercedes 47 -244
12 7 K. Raikkonen Ferrari 47 -244
13 25 J. Vergne STR-Renault 21 -270
14 8 R. Grojean Lotus-Renault 8 -283
15 26 D. Kvyat STR-Renault 8 -283
16 17 J. Bianchi Marussis-Ferrari 2 -289
17 99 A. Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 0 -291
18 9 M. Ericsson Caterham-Renault 0 -291
19 13 P. Maldonado Lotus-Renault 0 -291
20 21 E. Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 0 -291
21 4 M. Chilton Marussis-Ferrari 0 -291
22 10 K. Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 0 -291
23 45 A. Lotterer Caterham-Renault 0 -291

 

Constructors Championship after Russia
Pos. Team Points Behind
1 Mercedes 565 Leader
2 Red Bull Racing-Renault 342 -223
3 Williams-Mercedes 216 -349
4 Ferrari 188 -377
5 McLaren-Mercedes 143 -422
6 Force India-Mercedes 123 -442
7 STR-Renault 29 -536
8 Lotus-Renault 8 -557
9 Marussia-Ferrari 2 -563
10 Sauber-Ferrari 0 -565
11 Caterham-Renault 0 -565

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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