Lewis Hamilton triumphed in today’s Russian GP to take his 100th grand-prix win.
Mercedes’ Hamilton retook the championship lead after charging back to win the Russian GP after a problematic start. Hamilton lost positions initially, tucked up behind George Russell, Lance Stroll, and Daniel Ricciardo.
That allowed pole-sitter Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz to race off into the distance. Sainz initially held the lead until front-left graining made him fall back into Norris’ clutches. Norris passed Sainz, and as the Ferrari driver pitted, the young McLaren star built a commanding lead.
Norris extended his lead as Stroll, Sainz, and Russell pitted early in an undercut attempt. The early stoppers released Hamilton, and the reigning champion unleashed some incredible pace as he reeled in Norris.
Norris drove brilliantly as Hamilton tried to put him under pressure. Hamilton tried to get inside DRS range, but Norris was too quick, specifically in the final sector. Norris was closing in until rain intervened.
The greasy conditions forced the drivers to squirm around. Hamilton reluctantly boxed as his team told him that more rain was coming. Norris opted to stay out one extra lap. It proved wrong; Norris scratched around the first sector as the intermediate-shod Hamilton tore into a 25-second lead. Norris slid off at turn four, and Hamilton took a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.
Max Verstappen salvaged his day as the rain offered him respite from getting passed by Charles Leclerc. With a combination of quick work by the Red Bull pit crew and others in front of him deciding to stay out, Verstappen clawed his way to second as he minimised the loss of points to Hamilton.
The rain offered Carlos Sainz some relief as well. The early stop put him out of sync as he tried to tough it out for a long stint to get to the finish. Sainz pitting for intermediates got him ahead of Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc, and Fernando Alonso.
Valtteri Bottas saved his disastrous-looking day by boxing for the intermediate tyre. His benefit was Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc’s loss. The duo ran long in the first stint that hauled themselves into contention. They both attempted to stay out, and Perez finished ninth, while Leclerc tumbled to 15th after driving such a stellar race.
The returning Kimi Raikkonen came home with a points finish, as did Williams’ George Russell. Ultimately, the 2021 Russian GP demonstrated the fine margins that can dictate motor racing. Lewis Hamilton emerged victorious amidst the chaos, Lando Norris was left heartbroken.
Provisional Race Classification
|3||Carlos Sainz Jr.||53||1’02.475|
|12||Sebastian Vettel||52||1 lap|
|13||Pierre Gasly||52||1 lap|
|14||Esteban Ocon||52||1 lap|
|15||Charles Leclerc||52||1 lap|
|16||Antonio Giovinazzi||52||1 lap|
|17||Yuki Tsunoda||52||1 lap|
|18||Nikita Mazepin||51||2 laps|