Britain’s Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) took the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix, ending a series of three Ferrari victories and increasing his lead at the top of the world championship standings.
Thanks to an extra point achieved for setting the best lap of the race, Hamilton now leads his immediate pursuer, his teammate Valtteri Bottas of Finland, by 73 points in the drivers’ standings.
“It is exactly what we needed. We never give up, “celebrated the five-time world champion.
Bottas and the Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), who started from pole position, accompanied him on the podium. German Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) quit because of an engine problem, the Scuderia said.
It was this incident that allowed the Mercedes, 2nd and 4th on the starting grid, to take advantage: the stop of the German car entered the virtual safety car and offered them a shorter pit stop.
At Ferrari, on the other hand, the tension was palpable from the first laps due to a team strategy.
Leaving his car, Leclerc explained that it was agreed that the German, third on the grid, would take advantage of his aspiration to overtake himself and Hamilton at the start, before later returning the reins of the race to him.
This part of the plan was carried out without problems, but Vettel did not want to give up his position, assuring by radio that “anyway he would have overtaken” his partner, who did not hide his frustration.
The pit stops finally allowed the four-time world champion to be overtaken, before he quit.
For Red Bull, the Dutchman Max Verstappen, who started 9th, finished 4th, followed by the Thai Alexander Albon.
The Spanish Carlos Sainz Jr (McLaren), the Mexican Sergio Pérez (Racing Point), the British Lando Norris (McLaren), the Danish Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and the German Nico Hülkenberg (Renault) completed the top 10.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo (Renault), who hit Italian Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo Racing) at the start, quit shortly after due to damage to his car. Neither did the Williamses of the young Briton George Russell, due to an accident, and of the Polish Robert Kubica (strategic abandonment to preserve parts of his vehicle), nor the Frenchman Romain Grosjean (Haas), who also collided with Giovinazzi, did not finish the race. AFP