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Russian GP: Hamilton wins in Sochi as Vettel retires

  • Published on 29 Sep 2019 14:47
  • comments 19
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Lewis Hamilton has taken his ninth win of the 2019 season as he crossed the line ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas to take the chequered flag.

Hamilton inherited the lead after a virtual safety car was called following a problem for Sebastian Vettel, who pulled to the side of the circuit in the final sector.

Vettel headed the field throughout the opening stint of the race, as he took the lead from third place into Turn 2 on the first lap, using the slipstream of teammate Charles Leclerc to fly past Hamilton and Leclerc.

However, it was revealed that Ferrari had orchestrated the slipstream to ensure it had a one-two after the opening lap, and requested that Vettel let Leclerc past.

Vettel didn't do so as he stated that Hamilton was too close and he started to pull away from his Ferrari teammate, with the gap reading 4.4 seconds at its peak.

Ferrari opted to pit Leclerc first on lap 22 for the medium tyre and when it called Vettel in four laps later, he emerged behind the Monegasque driver. 

Vettel's problems emerged later in the lap, forcing him to pull up and retire from the race. Mercedes, who started the race on the medium compound, pounced on the opportunity to pit both drivers, putting Hamilton into the lead of the race.

Leclerc gave up track position to Bottas as he pitted for soft tyres under a full safety car that was called during the virtual safety car, as George Russell hit the barriers when something appeared to break on his car.

Leclerc attempted to pass Bottas for second place in the final laps, however he couldn't make his way past, allowing Mercedes to secure its eighth one-two finish of the season.

Max Verstappen drove his way to fourth place after taking a grid penalty for a new internal combustion engine while Alexander Albon fought his way through the grid to achieve fifth place following a pit lane start.

After a handful of difficult races, Carlos Sainz returned to the points, claiming sixth for himself and McLaren, while his teammate Lando Norris was eighth with Sergio Perez lodged between the two.

Kevin Magnussen received a time penalty for infringing the rules relating to rejoinging th circuit at Turn 2, but still managed to secure his and Haas' first points since the German Grand Prix, finishing ninth in the final classifications.

Nico Hulkenberg, who will leave Renault at the end of the season, picked up the final point - his third consecutive top-ten finish.

Hulkenberg's teammate Daniel Ricciardo failed to finish the race after he came together with Romain Grosjean and Antonio Giovinazzi at the opening lap.

Grosjean was eliminated on the spot while Ricciardo retired a number of laps later due to the extent of the damage. 

RU Sochi Autodrom - 29 September 2019

Photos Russia 2019

Replies (19)

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  • abhidbgt

    Posts: 234

    A fighting race all on account of Charles trying to get by and Albon making his way through. But such irony that Ferrari unintentionally ended up cutting off their own feet. Till that unfortunate moment Sebastian did drive a stupendous race and it may be argued that he inherited the lead and did not do the team's bidding which was pre-decided. A brave decision by Mercedes to go for medium and then just outlast everyone to take advantage of a safety car that might or might not have come but fortune favours the brave. Ferrari are still losing quite a bit on twisty bits of track. A really good race by McLaren and Perez.

    • + 0
    • Sep 29 2019 - 15:34
    • Some say cut off their feet and some say stepped on their own dicks, again.

      • + 0
      • Sep 30 2019 - 01:29
    • abhidbgt

      Posts: 234

      :D

      • + 0
      • Sep 30 2019 - 03:52
  • f1ski

    Posts: 540

    Ferrari overthinking it. Had Vettel not been pulling away call for the swap but when he is pulling away no way. One of the commentators made the comment they should close the pits during. A VSC. Couldn’t agree more.. Ferrari again cannot make good race craft.

    • + 0
    • Sep 29 2019 - 15:55
    • Manto02

      Posts: 41

      This. Clearly vettel had a better pace than leclerc, why swapping them and then having them fight for position and lose time? Plus Ferrari isn't competing for a championship, they should focus on maximizing their results with victories instead on thinking which driver should win

      • + 0
      • Sep 29 2019 - 16:08
  • RogerF1

    Posts: 417

    Ditto f1ski, I really am thinking pits should be closed on any safety car, virtual or actual - made a mockery again of today’s result, gifting the race to the Mercs. I’d feel the same the other way around as well. Pit stops need to be only under full race conditions so drivers win or lose on driving merit.

    • + 0
    • Sep 29 2019 - 16:11
    • abhidbgt

      Posts: 234

      Agree with your point on safety car to an extent, infact I did not want Mercedes to win and gain the lead that would make the rest of the season a bit more one sided, but it also results in unexpected winners sometimes and that adds to the charm of F1, doesn't it?

      • + 0
      • Sep 29 2019 - 16:41
    • I've only heard this argument made when Ferrari have been harmed by it. I don't agree. It makes for very interesting strategies. Sometimes it helps (and Ferrari have won at least two races by a gift from a VSC) and sometimes it bites. Nothing wrong with that

      • + 0
      • Sep 29 2019 - 18:30
    • Tend to agree with AJP - nothing wrong with a bit of jeopardy ! Over a season I don't think it influences the overall standings, luck tends to roll out fait over 20 races. Quite like the mad dash to pit - it brightens things up - Id like to see refuelling but I guess that won't happen - more like yp top se shift towards more battery I think.

      • + 0
      • Sep 29 2019 - 20:31
    • It does add an element of shaking things up which is only not good if it affects our favorite teams.

      • + 1
      • Sep 30 2019 - 01:32
  • f1ski

    Posts: 540

    I also can’t help thinking had Ferrari not called for the swap Vettel perhaps would have used different engine modes (speculation) and then it seems Ferrari gave him a slower stop that all that added to the engine failure. If I were Binotto I would tell them both we cannot control who is fastest on race day. But if you crash each other out the we will determine who comes in ahead. Seems of late Seb is faster in traffic. Charles in quali. They need to maximize team points and at the end of able they will defend the driver in the drivers championship. Once again the rational thinking of the Germans wins over the emotion of the Italians . Racing is 20 % skill20% preparation strategy 60%

    • + 0
    • Sep 29 2019 - 16:12
  • Hamilton is on his last legs and he knows it. That's why he tries to enjoy his last days.

    • + 0
    • Sep 29 2019 - 18:39
    • Wow, how do you arrive at that opinion? Appears to me his head is as switched on as ever - no sorry, I don't buy that for one second. I think he has one more title in him after this one personally - still life in those legs yet !

      • + 0
      • Sep 29 2019 - 20:28
    • f1ski

      Posts: 540

      There has been a dramatic drop in MB engine advantage since Renault got popped for the MGU K violation. perhaps they did it knowing a MB trick to maximize power and Hammy knows their dominance is to end and its hard to be at the top. I too feel he is closer to the down slope. He is still better than Bottas and is the master of trail braking. I find lewis to be very hatable. He behaves like an adolescent and my own children were not as easy to love during that phase of life.

      • + 0
      • Sep 29 2019 - 22:16
    • I think most people would draw the opposite conclusion since he won in a car that was clearly second best. In looking forward to seeing Mercedes be evenly matched with Ferrari. If anything it's become clear to me how good Charles is, but also how much of Mercedes' dominance is helped by Lewis' talents

      • + 0
      • Sep 29 2019 - 22:44
    • Gotta echo how do you figure that? He's on fire!

      • + 0
      • Sep 30 2019 - 01:34
    • To all of you:
      Because it's the first time he's so much afraid and he can't explain where does the advantage of the competitors come from. Next year, Ferrari and Leclerc will be unbeatable. And Lewis (a very clever man) knows it.

      • + 0
      • Sep 30 2019 - 09:03
    • Manto02

      Posts: 41

      Ajpenny: a second best car doesn't win 11 races out of 16, what are you talking about?

      • + 0
      • Sep 30 2019 - 12:39
    • @manto02 I don't think anyone would dispute that Ferrari have had the best car over the last 4 races. I was referring specifically to Russia, where Ferrari got pole by almost half a second

      • + 0
      • Sep 30 2019 - 15:41

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