Valtteri Bottas won the Russian Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton suffering a pre-race ten-second penalty and finishing third.
Hamilton did two practice starts on his way to the grid, but in the fast lane of the pit lane which is illegal, and he earned a five-second penalty for each one.
Combined with his starting on soft tyres, meaning he had to pit on lap 16, that put him out of contention for the win.
After the Brit pitted, Bottas had an easy cruise to the finish, with Max Verstappen in second never close to challenging the Finn while Sergio Perez put in a strong performance for fifth.
There was an exciting first lap as Verstappen got a poor start and Bottas easily blasted past, initally passing Hamilton around the outside of turn two but then running onto the kerb and having to cede the position as Hamilton switched back with better drive.
Behind the fight for the lead, Daniel Ricciardo was challenging Max Verstappen and the Dutchman missed his turning at turn two.
He ran through the bollards on the exit of the corner and looked to have lost third position to Ricciardo, but was able to take the position back and then Esteban Ocon also passed his teammate.
The safety car then came out with two incidents to cars who would’ve hoped to challenge for the top five – Sainz and Stroll.
Sainz also ran wide and attempted to rejoin through the bollards but hit the wall that juts out on the left, a nasty incident for the Spaniard, spinning back across the track. He was lucky to not be collected by another car.
Lance Stroll was hit from behind by Charles Leclerc on the exit of turn four and he span into the barriers.
Hamilton nailed the safety car restart but then news came through of his penalties which dropped him way down the order, and out of contention.
Hamilton wasn’t happy at his pit stop, wanting to stay out for more laps on his soft tyres, but, in reality, third was the best he could’ve hoped for.
Sergio Perez had a quietly impressive performance to finish just eight seconds behind Hamilton.
He made a brilliant overtake on Ricciardo around the inside of turn three to take prime position behind the leaders and then held station with consistently strong pace.
Ricciardo rounded out the top five despite a five-second penalty, although Renault might be a little disappointed as they came into the weekend with hopes of a podium.
They ran in the top five in the early part of the race but lost places around the pitstops, with an embarrassing driver-swap leading to Ricciardo locking up heavily and running wide at turn two, which led to his penalty.
However, in the end he finished 15 seconds ahead of sixth-placed Leclerc so it didn’t harm him.
Leclerc brought another good points haul for Ferrari in sixth – especially from a tenth placed start – and had a quiet but excellent afternoon.
Ocon was seventh ahead of Daniil Kvyat who secured a strong eighth place on his home turf, ahead of Pierre Gasly who had several good battles and overtook Alex Albon at the end of the race.
Lando Norris was the big name outside the top ten, he pitted on lap one after running over debris from Sainz’ accident but couldn’t make the strategy work meaning the weekend finished pointless for McLaren.
CLASSIFICATION: RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX 🏆
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