F1: Hamilton Snatches Win From Ferrari In Russian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton claims his 82nd career victory at the Russian Grand Prix. Image sourced from @MercedesAMGF1 via Twitter.

Lewis Hamilton has taken his ninth win of the season at the Russian Grand Prix.

Mercedes Break The Chain

Hamilton’s victory brings the Brit’s total to a staggering 82, a win which also secures Mercedes eighth one-two finish of the season.

Ending Ferrari’s winning streak whilst also retaining their status as the only constructor to have won a Russian Grand Prix since 1913.

It’s incredible to have this result today because of how fast they were from the start, even keeping up with them was hard.”

“It feels like a long time coming.” said Hamilton.

Bottas: “Starting P4 and finishing P2 is a good result for me. But to take the 1-2 is a great result for the team.”

The Finn added, “We believed we had the race pace and we showed that we could do it.”

Ferrari Poised For Victory

However, It wasn’t all plain sailing for the Silver Arrows as Ferrari looked primed for a fourth consecutive win aswell as another one-two.

As it was Sebastian Vettel who dominated the opening of the grand prix ahead of Leclerc.

The German using his team-mates slipstream to good effect as he took the lead into Turn 2.

Leclerc said pre-race that being on pole in Sochi isn’t ideal for the start. Image sourced from @kymillman via Twitter.

It soon emerged that Ferrari made a pre-race agreement for Leclerc to give Vettel the tow in a bid to secure a one-two off the start.

With Vettel then to relinquish the lead during the first few laps.

However Vettel ignored the order and proceeded  to gap Leclerc, maintaining a 4 second lead until the first round of stops.

Ferrari soon decided to make switch during the pit-stops in order to limit the amount of time lost.

Leclerc was the first Ferrari to pit, the Monegasque fitting the medium tyre on lap 22.

Vettel’s Heartbreak

This allowed Leclerc to undercut Vettel once the Scuderia brought him in four laps after.

Unfortunately, after such a strong first stint, Vettel was forced to pull up and retire at Turn 15 as a result of an MGU-K (Engine Component) failure.

Sebastian Vettel had horrible luck as his SF-90 gave up the ghost. Image sourced from @ScuderiaFerrari via Twitter.

Vettel: “Suddenly I had no more power from the battery, I was missing 60bhp. I then parked the car where, in my opinion, no safety car was needed.”

“It’s Bitter, because this year has been tough and I haven’t yet unlocked the car…. but today I was really on top of it and fastest up to the stop.”

Vettel’s retirement subsequently brought out a VSC (Virtual Safety Car), which would ultimately deny Ferrari their consecutive victory.

As it gifted Mercedes, who had run longer on their medium tyres a prime opportunity to seize the win.

With the Brackley based outfit pitting both drivers, with Hamilton being promoted into the lead as a result.

Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas congratulating each other on the team’s result. Image sourced from @JanErikOlin via Twitter.

Ferrari opted to pit Leclerc for fresh softs, giving up track position to Bottas who pitted a couple of laps earlier under another safety car brought out after George Russell locked up and hit the barriers during the VSC.

Leclerc attempted to overtake Bottas on multiple occasions, but was unable to take back second place from the Finn.

Leclerc: “It’s good to be back on the podium, but a shame for the team to not have the second car on here.”

“I will always trust the team, but I need to speak with them to know the situation better.”

Albon’s Redemption

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen came home in a lonely fourth after starting down in ninth due to a grid penalty.

“I’m looking forward to Suzuka and we want to do the best we can for all the Japanese fans at Honda’s home race.”

Verstappen’s team-mate Alexander Albon started from the pit-lane after a horror qualifying session.

Alexander Albon on his way to a stellar fifth place for Red Bull in Russia. Image sourced from @RedBullRacing via Twitter.

Fortunately for Red Bull all was not lost, as Albon produced a stunning drive to take fifth place.

“I wanted to bounce back and get a good result after yesterday’s crash so I’m really happy with how the race went.”

McLaren Head The Mid-Field

Carlos Sainz brought his McLaren home sixth, just behind Albon, while his teammate Lando Norris was eighth.

Norris finishing behind Sergio Perez who crossed the line in seventh for Racing Point.

 

McLaren who recently announced their switch to Mercedes engines for the 2021 season, cemented their “best of the rest’ status once again. Image sourced from @McLarenF1 via Twitter.

Kevin Magnussen ended the race in ninth even with a time penalty for not going around the set chichane at Turn 2 when he went wide.

Daniel Ricciardo retired early due to damage sustained on the opening lap.

The Aussie being involved in a crash with Romain Grosjean and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi.

The incident brought an early safety car as the marshalls recovered Romain Grojean’s stricken Haas from the barriers.

Ricciardo’s team-mate Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top ten for Renault, with the German taking his third straight points finish for the team.

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