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Lewis Hamilton has won the Russian Grand Prix, extending his lead at the top of the F1 World Championship standings

Lewis Hamilton wins the Russian Grand Prix in a Mercedes one-two and Sebastian Vettel has to retire as inner turmoil at Ferrari continues on a frustrating afternoon for Charles Leclerc

  • Lewis Hamilton has won the Russian Grand Prix to extend his lead at the top of the World Championship 
  • There was drama between Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc as Ferrari changed their race strategy
  • Leclerc was clearly frustrated with his team-mate, as the politics within the team played out over the radio
  • Vettel then had to retire, gifting Lewis Hamilton the lead after taking advantage of the virtual safety car 
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Lewis Hamilton won the Russian Grand Prix, as fortune favoured him and Ferrari floundered.

The world champion moved closer to winning a sixth world title – 73 points clear of nearest challenger and team-mate Valtteri Bottas with 130 remaining – after a virtual safety car was brought out after Sebastian Vettel’s red car stopped with engine failure.

Hamilton had not pitted by this point and used the break in racing to go in for a ‘free’ stop.

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Lewis Hamilton has won the Russian Grand Prix, extending his lead at the top of the F1 World Championship standings

Lewis Hamilton has won the Russian Grand Prix, extending his lead at the top of the F1 World Championship standings

The reigning world champion came in first place with his team-mate Valtteri Bottas in second place, Charles Leclerc in third

The reigning world champion came in first place with his team-mate Valtteri Bottas in second place, Charles Leclerc in third

 The reigning world champion came in first place with his team-mate Valtteri Bottas in second place, Charles Leclerc in third

The Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel is lifted onto the truck after the German suffered an engine problem and had to retire

The Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel is lifted onto the truck after the German suffered an engine problem and had to retire

The Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel is lifted onto the truck after the German suffered an engine problem and had to retire

Hamilton celebrates with fans and team members after winning the Russian Grand Prix and extending his championship lead

Hamilton celebrates with fans and team members after winning the Russian Grand Prix and extending his championship lead

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Hamilton celebrates with fans and team members after winning the Russian Grand Prix and extending his championship lead

The Briton emerged in the lead, having spent the first half of the race running third behind the two Ferraris.

‘The Ferraris are behind us?’ he asked in disbelief as his world turned the right way up.

Up until then a Ferrari one-two looked assured. But the afternoon ended with the Mercedes in on the high steps of the podium, with Bottas second and Charles Leclerc, the pole man who spent a dispiriting afternoon railing at his pit wall, third.

He might have finished runner-up but he was brought in for a second – seemingly ill-advised – second stop when the safety car came out for George Russell’s Williams hitting the barriers. As it is, Leclerc is 107 points off Hamilton, whose ninth win of the season this was. The winner also set the fastest lap. 

Lewis Hamilton closes his eyes in satisfaction as he edges closer towards another World Championship win
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Lewis Hamilton closes his eyes in satisfaction as he edges closer towards another World Championship win

Lewis Hamilton closes his eyes in satisfaction as he edges closer towards another World Championship win

Vettel used Leclerc's slipstream to pass the Monegasque at the first corner, and the drama only grew from that point

Vettel used Leclerc's slipstream to pass the Monegasque at the first corner, and the drama only grew from that point

Vettel used Leclerc’s slipstream to pass the Monegasque at the first corner, and the drama only grew from that point

Ferrari clearly had a plan for Leclerc to have the number one strategy, but Vettel pulled away at the front of the race

Ferrari clearly had a plan for Leclerc to have the number one strategy, but Vettel pulled away at the front of the race

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Ferrari clearly had a plan for Leclerc to have the number one strategy, but Vettel pulled away at the front of the race

Lewis Hamilton was gifted the lead after Vettel's first retirement of the season, taking advantage of the virtual safety car

Lewis Hamilton was gifted the lead after Vettel's first retirement of the season, taking advantage of the virtual safety car

Lewis Hamilton was gifted the lead after Vettel’s first retirement of the season, taking advantage of the virtual safety car

Leclerc fell back to third as Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton took advantage of the safety cars

Leclerc fell back to third as Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton took advantage of the safety cars

Leclerc fell back to third as Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton took advantage of the safety cars

RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX RESULTS AND STANDINGS 

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1. Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1hr 33min 38.992secs

2. Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes +3.829s

3. Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari +5.212s

4. Max Verstappen (Hol) Red Bull +14.210s

5. Alexander Albon (Tha) Red Bull +38.348s

6. Carlos Sainz (Spa) McLaren +45.889s

7. Sergio Perez (Mex) Racing Point +48.728s

8. Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren +57.749s

9. Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas +58.779s

10. Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault +59.841s

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11. Lance Stroll (Can) Racing Point +60.821s

12. Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Toro Rosso +62.496s

13. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo +68.910s

14. Pierre Gasly (Fra) Toro Rosso +70.076s

15. Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo +73.346s

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Not classified: Robert Kubica (Pol) Williams (28 laps), George Russell (Gbr) Williams (27 laps), Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari (26 laps), Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault (24 laps), Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas (0 laps) 

 

Fastest lap: Lewis Hamilton 1:35.761

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

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1. Lewis Hamilton 

2. Valtteri Bottas

3. Charles Leclerc

4. Max Verstappen

5. Sebastian Vettel

6. Pierre Gasly

7. Carlos Sainz

8. Alexander Albon

9. Lando Norris

10. Daniel Ricciardo

11. Nico Hulkenberg

12. Daniil Kvyat

13. Sergio Perez

14. Kimi Raikkonen

15. Kevin Magnussen

16. Lance Stroll

17. Romain Grosjean

18. Antonio Giovinazzi

19. Robert Kubica

20. George Russell 

 

Leclerc’s race had started badly when he was passed by Vettel within seconds of the lights going out.

It seems Ferrari had told their drivers not to contest the first two corners and so informed Leclerc that they would instruct Vettel to let him back in front.

‘Let Charles by,’ Vettel was told.

‘He’ll have to close up,’ came the response, Vettel resisting.

Leclerc was then moved on to ‘Plan C’ – undercutting Vettel. Leclerc, on new rubber, banged in a succession of fastest laps and duly found himself in the lead when Vettel later emerged from his pit stop. But then Vettel’s engine went kaput.

The German jumped out of the car after a few expletives criticising the hybrid engine – for it was a hybrid problem that had befallen him – and ran back to the paddock, his mood as black as night. 

Lewis Hamilton does his customary celebration of throwing the winning trophy into the air on the podium

Lewis Hamilton does his customary celebration of throwing the winning trophy into the air on the podium

Lewis Hamilton does his customary celebration of throwing the winning trophy into the air on the podium

There wasn't a huge amount of overtaking action for the fans in Russia, but it was a fascinating tactical race

There wasn't a huge amount of overtaking action for the fans in Russia, but it was a fascinating tactical race

There wasn’t a huge amount of overtaking action for the fans in Russia, but it was a fascinating tactical race

Kimi Raikkonen had an unfortunate afternoon, losing time after a false start and then being punished with a drive through

Kimi Raikkonen had an unfortunate afternoon, losing time after a false start and then being punished with a drive through

Kimi Raikkonen had an unfortunate afternoon, losing time after a false start and then being punished with a drive through 

Robet Kubica struggled with his Williams in the race, propping up the rest of the field from the back for much of the race

Robet Kubica struggled with his Williams in the race, propping up the rest of the field from the back for much of the race

Robet Kubica struggled with his Williams in the race, propping up the rest of the field from the back for much of the race

Lewis Hamilton was able to maintain his lead after the safety car was deployed after an incident involving George Russell

Lewis Hamilton was able to maintain his lead after the safety car was deployed after an incident involving George Russell

Lewis Hamilton was able to maintain his lead after the safety car was deployed after an incident involving George Russell

George Russell had a problem with his brakes while under the safety car, and was then forced to retire himself

George Russell had a problem with his brakes while under the safety car, and was then forced to retire himself

George Russell had a problem with his brakes while under the safety car, and was then forced to retire himself

Romain Grosjean had to retire on the first lap as an unfortunate coming together of cars sent him flying into the barrier

Romain Grosjean had to retire on the first lap as an unfortunate coming together of cars sent him flying into the barrier

Romain Grosjean had to retire on the first lap as an unfortunate coming together of cars sent him flying into the barrier