Hamilton Takes Inaugural Russian Win

SOCHI, Russia- After seeing his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg make an error on the first lap of Sunday’s Inaugural Grand Prix of Russia, Lewis Hamilton cruised to an easy victory, beating a recovering Rosberg by 19 seconds for his 31st victory of his career. Valterri Bottas finished in third, but was complaining of problems with his tires.

The 1-2 by Mercedes clinches the constructor’s championship, dethroning Red Bull, who have won it for the last four years. Hamilton’s win now ties him with another Englishman, Nigel Mansell with record victories.

“It was a good day and an amazing weekend.” Hamilton told ESPN F1’s Laurence Edmondson. “Firstly I’m so proud to have contributed to the work of this great team, to get the first Constructors’ Championship for Mercedes-Benz is a huge achievement. Massive congratulations to the guys back in the UK and Germany, its history for us. Today I had to manage the tires a lot through the race; managing the fuel wasn’t too bad. The car felt great and I didn’t have to push too hard. At the end, when Nico (Rosberg) was behind, I needed to match his times, which I did.”

Rosberg, who was trailing his teammate going into the race, knew he needed a good start, but as the Mercedes duo came down the straight and into the first and the second turn, Rosberg slammed his brakes too hard, locking up his wheels, sending tire smoke everywhere and swinging him wide of the apex. The German was radioed to come into the pits with flat spotted front tires which was beginning to make his car vibrate terribly.

Many drivers were jostling for position for the next couple of laps, but with 50 to go, the grid began to get into a rhythm, were not much passing happened. The only driver that was making any headway was Rosberg himself, who after pitting, miraculously kept his tires for the rest of the race, moving up position after position, even managing to pass Bottas on lap 30. But trying to catch Hamilton was no chance, as the victory by the Briton now puts him 17 points ahead of the German with only three races to go in the world championship.

McLaren had a fabulous day, as Jenson Button and Kevin Magussen taking fourth and fifth, respectively.

Fernando Alonso was sixth while another team duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull finished in the next two positions. Kimi Raikkonen was ninth, while Sergio Perez finished in the last point position for Force India.

With the constructor’s championship over and his individual title not far off, Hamilton was asked by Edmondson how the new track was, and the Briton gave his approval.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the weekend here in Russia, it’s a great place.” He said. “It’s been one of my favorite venues so far this year, so it’s very cool to have won the first race here. The fans have been amazing; I didn’t know so many people followed it here but they were all there in the grandstands and looked excited! The organizers have also done a great job – the layout, the surface and the whole event; I take my hat off to them.”

Share Button