Mercedes’ 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|
|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|
|After Race 14 of the 2015 season at Russian Grand Prix|
|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|
|11||27||N. Hulkenberg||Force india-Mercedes||0||38||-264|
|12||33||M. Verstappen||Toro Rosso||0||32||-270|
|16||55||C. Sainz Jr||Toro Rosso||0||12||-290|
|After Race 15 of the 2015 season at Russian Grand Prix|
|4||Red Bull Racing-Renault||0||147||-384|