Hamilton nears third F1 title with Russian GP victory

untitledMercedes’ Lewis Hamilton eased to victory in Sochi on Sunday, his pole-sitting team mate Nico Rosberg having retired from the lead with throttle problems on lap 7. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took the runner-up spot to move into second in the title standings, with Force India’s Sergio Perez earning third in dramatic fashion after a final-lap clash involving Williams’ Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

There was action from the outset. As Rosberg safely retained his advantage, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg spun of his own accord at Turn 2, collecting the innocent Sauber of Marcus Ericsson. That eliminated both men on the spot and brought out the safety car. Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen also spun avoiding the incident and picked up a puncture, forcing him to limp back to the pits.

Rosberg started complaining of throttle problems on lap 5, and by lap 7 Hamilton was past and the German was in the pits, retiring his car, a further huge dent placed in his 2015 title hopes.

The safety car was back on track on lap 12 after Romain Grosjean lost control of his Lotus through the challenging Turn 3. The Frenchman slammed into the barriers but was mercifully able to walk away from his shattered machine.

After racing resumed on lap 17, Hamilton never looked back, retaining his lead even during his single stop and going on to win by six seconds. In the process he extended his championship advantage over Rosberg to 73 points with 100 still up for grabs.

There were plenty of battles for the remaining points positions. Running third, Perez was passed by Bottas and Raikkonen on the penultimate lap, only to regain the place a few corners later when Raikkonen’s bungled overtaking attempt on Bottas put the Williams out and left the Ferrari limping to fifth behind the sister Williams of Felipe Massa. Bottas was classified 12th and the collision is under investigation by the stewards.

Daniil Kvyat was sixth in his home race for Red Bull, ahead of Sauber’s Felipe Nasr and Lotus’s Pastor Maldonado. McLaren got both cars into the points, with Jenson Button ninth and Fernando Alonso tenth.

Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz fought back from his Saturday shunt to run as high as seventh before retiring on lap 47 after spinning with fading brakes. Red Bull stablemate Daniel Ricciardo was the other DNF, the Australian pulling out with suspected suspension issues on lap 49.

Russian Grand Prix Race Results
Pos. Car # Driver Laps Behind Status Points
1 44 Lewis Hamiton 53 Leader Running 25
2 5 Sebastian Vettel 53 -5.953 Running 18
3 11 Sergio Perez 53 -28.918 Running 15
4 19 Felipe Massa 53 -38.831 Running 12
5 26 Daniil Kvyat 53 -47.566 Running 10
6 12 Felipe Nasr 53 -56.508 Running 8
7 13 Pastor Maldonado 53 -61.088 Running 6
8 7 Kimi Raikkonen 53 -72.358 Running 4
9 22 Jenson Button 53 -79.467 Running 2
10 33 Max Verstappen 53 -88.424 Running 1
11 14 Fernando Alonso 53 -91.210 Running 0
12 77 Valtteri Bottas 52 -1 Lap Retired 0
13 98 Roberto Merhi 52 -1 Lap Running 0
14 28 Will Stevens 51 -2 Laps Running 0
15 3 Daniel Ricciardo 49 -4 Laps Retired 0
16 55 Carlos Sainz Jr 47 -6 Laps Retired 0
17 8 Romain Grojean 12 -41 Laps Retired 0
18 6 Nico Roseberg 7 -46 Laps Retired 0
19 27 Nico Hulkenberg 1 -52 Laps Retired 0
20 9 Marcus Ericsson 1 -52 Laps Retired 0

 

Drivers Championship
After Race 14 of the 2015 season at Russian Grand Prix
Pos. Car # Driver Team Wins Points Behind
1 44 L. Hamiton Mercedes 9 302 Leader
2 5 S. Vettel Ferrari 3 236 -66
3 6 N. Roseberg Mercedes 3 229 -73
4 7 K. Raikkonen Ferrari 0 129 -173
5 77 V. Bottas William-Mercedes 0 111 -191
6 19 F. Massa William-Mercedes 0 109 -193
7 26 D. Kvyat Red Bull Racing-Renault 0 74 -228
8 3 D. Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 0 73 -229
9 11 S. Perez Force india-Mercedes 0 54 -248
10 8 R. Grojean Lotus-Mercedes 0 44 -258
11 27 N. Hulkenberg Force india-Mercedes 0 38 -264
12 33 M. Verstappen Toro Rosso 0 32 -270
13 12 Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari 0 23 -279
14 13 P. Maldonado Lotus-Mercedes 0 20 -282
15 14 F. Alonso McLaren-Honda 0 12 -290
16 55 C. Sainz Jr Toro Rosso 0 12 -290
17 9 M. Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 0 9 -293
18 22 J. Button McLaren-Honda 0 8 -294
19 98 R. Merhi Manor-Ferrari 0 0 -302
20 28 W. Stevens Manor-Ferrari 0 0 -302
21 53 Alexander Rossi Manor-Ferrari 0 0 -302
22 20 K. Magnussen McLaren-Honda 0 0 -302

 

Constructors Championship
After Race 15 of the 2015 season at Russian Grand Prix
Pos. Team Wins Points Behind
1 Mercedes 12 531 Leader
2 Ferrari 3 365 -166
3 Williams-Mercedes 0 220 -311
4 Red Bull Racing-Renault 0 147 -384
5 Force India-Mercedes 0 92 -439
6 Lotus-Renault 0 64 -467
7 Toro Rosso-Renault 0 44 -487
8 Sauber-Ferrari 0 32 -499
9 McLaren-Honda 0 20 -511
10 Manor-Ferrari 0 0 -531

 

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