CM – Hamilton storms in the Russian rain for the 100th Grand Prix victory


Lewis Hamilton took his 100th Grand Prix victory in a dramatic flood at the end of the race at the Russian Grand Prix, taking back the championship lead from runner-up Max Verstappen.

The Brit had in the late stages Stages with pole sitter Lando Norris battled for the lead when it suddenly started to rain in Sochi, covered the track with rain and then plunged the track in a downpour that turned the race upside down.

He and Norris resisted both switching to the intermediate tire with so few laps remaining, with Hamilton even ignoring a call from his pit wall to pit on lap 48 before finally accepting the summons on the following lap and letting the McLaren lead in worsening conditions / p> For Norris, the risk didn’t pay off. The light shower turned into a downpour, and the prospective winner spun in a run-off zone as Hamilton tore his lead to pieces.

He stopped at the end of the 51st lap – to rub salt into the wounds he was running the pit country slipped and had to cross the white line, which probably earned him a penalty – and crossed the line in seventh.

« It took a long time to get to 100, » he said. « I wasn’t even sure whether it would come or not.

 » The team made a great call in the end. I didn’t want to let Lando go, but I didn’t know what the weather was doing.

The win held Mercedes’ 100 percent win record in Russia and brought Hamilton back to the top of the title table, two points ahead of Verstappen, but his Dutch rival swam through the chaos at the end of the race and secured second place after the last start.

Verstappen was serving a back-of-grid penalty for an engine change, but got through one in the second stint of the race long first stint on the hard tire recovered to seventh place. His pace had slowed down on his set of Medium and he had just lost a place to Fernando Alonso when the rain set in and a perfectly timed move to Intermediates put him in second place in the blink of an eye to maximize his points gain.

« On the in-round it was quite difficult to make the call for the Inters, » said Verstappen. « To get from the last to the second … very, very good.

 » Luckily the rain helped us on the last jump … when I woke up this morning, I definitely didn’t expect this result. « 

A fabulous start, a disappointing middle and a surprisingly good end to the day for Carlos Sainz and Ferrari. Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Carlos Sainz completed the podium after leading the first 12 laps of the race from pole sitter Norris after swept around his outside in the first braking zone thanks to the strong slipstream on the straight. </ But his race seemed to falter shortly afterwards when Ferrari committed to an early stop and a long final stint that put him in a vulnerable third place in the second stint and would almost certainly drop to fourth or fifth place, as rivals made their strides with fresher tires. until the rain came and leveled the field.

« We made exactly the right call at the right time, » he said. « A really strong race in general. »

Daniel Ricciardo was also saved from the rain. The Australian was second behind his teammate before a catastrophically slow first stop brought him to 14th place.

But no one benefited more from the climate change than Valtteri Bottas. The Finn started on the 16th lower midfield, apparently unable to progress. When the weather changed he was in 14th place, and when the last stops were made, he returned to a face-saving fifth place.

Sergio Perez was unlucky when he finished ninth in the rain, after fighting for third place with Sainz before the rain, while George Russell secured another point for Williams with 10th place.

After joining the F1 press corps for the first time in 2012, he suspected an administrative error, and Michael has since made himself one of the few Australian regulars in the press room. After graduating in print journalism and later on radio, he worked his way from community media to the Australian ABC grandstand as an F1 broadcaster. Although he would prefer to be recognized for his F1 expertise, in parts of his hometown Melbourne, his reputation of being sick in a kart will forever precede him.

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