Lewis Hamilton is back leading the Drivers Championship in the hunt of his eighth World Championship after winning the Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom and in the process winning his 100th race.
Hamilton becomes the first driver to ever win 100 races, adding more records to his already amazing resume.
The win did not come easy, however, starting the race in fourth, Hamilton had a poor opening lap which saw him drop as low as seventh.
The seven-time World Champion remained composed getting past, Fernando Alonso before struggling to get past Daniel Ricciardo. A slow pit stop on lap 23 from McLaren subsequently cost Ricciardo, when Hamilton pitted on lap 27 and was able to come out ahead of the Australian.
From there Hamilton worked his way up the grid, overtaking Carlos Sainz and Pierre Gasly to get behind race leader Lando Norris.
With just seven laps to go in the race, light rain began to fall over half of the track, making it very slippery. By lap 48 the rain had begun falling much heavier forcing drivers to pit to put on the intermediate tyres.
On lap 49 Hamilton pitted, while Norris decided to stay out and try and hold the lead for the final few laps. This proved costly with the rain only getting worse and consequently, Norris ended up sliding off the track on lap 51 which allowed Hamilton to pass him and take the lead.
From there Hamilton cruised to victory to claim his fifth Russian Grand Prix victory and maintain Mercedes perfect record of being the only team to ever win a Russian Grand Prix.
Post-race Hamilton was overjoyed with his achievement.
“It’s taken a long time to obvious get to 100 and I wasn’t even sure whether or not it would come,” he said.
“The team made a great call right at the end.
“I didn’t want to let Lando go on of course I didn’t know what the weather was doing but I am incredibly grateful to all these men and women that are here and back in the factory.”
It was not all celebrations for Mercedes and Hamilton, however, with Max Verstappen also on the podium, finishing in second place. The result was an unlikely outcome after Verstappen began the race in last place having received an engine penalty for changing his power unit.
Verstappen showed his class working his way up the grid and even after a not ideal pit stop with him and Hamilton pitting on lap 27, however, Verstappen coming out two positions behind, he still worked his way back into the race
The result puts Verstappen now just two points now behind Hamilton.
The podium was rounded off with Sainz finishing third.
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Norris perfect until heartbreaking end
After McLaren’s heroics at Monza which saw them get a one, two finish, it appeared that they could have another potential race win on their hands when Norris qualified fastest and in the process earning himself his first career pole position.
Even after a challenging opening lap where Carlos Sainz overtook him, he was able to reverse his error and on lap 13 retake the lead.
From there he remained in front all race until his fateful decision to not pit and put on intermediate tyres ultimate cost him his potential first career win when he slid off the track on lap 51.
To make matters worse due to how wet the track was Norris had to pit at the end of that lap which sent him flying down the grid ultimately finishing the race in seventh, with the result not reflecting how well he drove for the first 50 laps.
Ricciardo continues strong form
Ricciardo has continued to impress with another strong weekend, just missing out on a podium finish, with a fourth-place result.
It didn’t all go Ricciardo’s way with the Australian having a lively first lap, getting off the blocks well yet falling as far down as seventh before working his way back into fifth where he started the race.
From there Ricciardo showed off his impressive defending skills, holding off Hamilton who for a period of time was following closely behind him.
The poor pit stop of lap 23 saw him come out in 14th where he had to work hard, overtaking the likes of George Russell, Lance Stroll and Esteban Ocon to climb back up the grid. In the end, he was able to get into fourth place where he challenged Sainz for third spot for a while, however was soon overtaken by Sergio Perez with just under 10 laps remaining.
With Norris sliding off the track and pitting Ricciardo was able to move back into fourth place where he finished.
With now two strong performances Ricciardo is currently sitting in eighth place in the Driver Standings, now only nine points behind Charles Leclerc.
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