Hamilton snatches win in Russian Rulette Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton claimed his 82nd win in Formula One, his eighth of the 2019 season and fourth at the Russian Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas came home in second place after starting fourth on the grid, securing the eighth 1-2 for the team in 2019.

2019 Russian Grand Prix, Sunday – LAT Images

It was a frustrating Russian Grand Prix for Scuderia Ferrari. Charles Leclerc finished third, but Sebastian Vettel had to retire because of a problem with a hybrid component of the Power Unit. The outcome of the race at the Sochi Autodrom was particularly annoying for the Italian team, because what caused Charles to fall back behind the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas was the Virtual Safety Car period called to deal with Seb’s SF90 parked at the side of the track. During this time, the others were able to pit for tyres, losing around half the time that it cost those, including Charles, who had pitted during normal race conditions.

 Charles’ third place is his ninth podium finish of the season, the team’s sixteenth. He picked up 15 points today, which puts him ahead of Max Verstappen in third place in the championship.

Max Verstappen finished in a lonely fourth place. His Red Bull team mate Alexander Albon pulled off a brilliant recovery from a pit lane start to rescue fifth, ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz.

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez scored points for the third time in four races with seventh, with McLaren’s Lando Norris eighth. Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg completed the top 10, the former after having five seconds added to his race time for an off-track moment several laps before the flag.

Lewis (322 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 73 points from Valtteri (249 points)

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (571 points) leads Ferrari (409 points) by 162 points in the Constructors’ Championship

Lewis Hamilton
This win feels like it has been a long time coming and it was just an incredible job from the whole team: never giving up, pushing forward, always trying to be innovative. It’s incredibly inspiring to be part of that and amazing to have this result today considering how quick the Ferraris were in that opening stint. It was a really hard task to keep up with them, especially on the offset tyre, but we kept pushing and the car felt really good today. We thought that their soft tyres would drop off during that opening stint, but they had such good pace that I was struggling to keep up with them – and that’s probably a little warning for us, because it looked like they got their calculations right in that regard. I managed to stay within shooting distance, though, and started closing down the gap as their tyres started to drop. Charles pitted, then I started catching Seb, and we were in a good position to offset and go long – even had the Safety Car not come out, it would have been a really good race. Then everything fell our way, and after that it was a question of building the gap, saving the tyres but also getting to the finish as smoothly as possible. Looking ahead, of course the races are counting down but we are just trying to take things one race at a time, put one foot in front of the other and not stumble. When you have a battle like this, you’re working flat out, turning over every stone and questioning every little thing you can do better. We love that challenge and I’m really excited for the next races.
 
Valtteri Bottas
It’s been a while since we last had a 1-2 and it feels really good to stand up there on the podium together again. It’s really encouraging and motivating for the entire team. We knew a 1-2 would be tricky to achieve, but possible, so we spoke about all the different strategies that would give us a chance this morning. and I think we did a really good job as a team today. It’s a really good result if you think about how much we were struggling yesterday. Ferrari had a quick car all weekend long, I think they were quicker as well today, so to walk away with a 1-2 means that we did a great job as a team in all other areas. I lost quite a bit of time when I was stuck behind Sainz in the beginning and I was also struggling to match the times on the Medium tyres, but it was a lot better in the second stint on the Soft tyres. I was under a bit of pressure after the Safety Car restart, but it was all under control. Ferrari has made some good improvements in the past few weeks, so we know that we need to keep pushing for Japan, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Charles Leclerc 
“It was a tricky race. I think that we had a good strategy to give us the best result as a team. At the start of the race, I gave Sebastian a tow so that we could race at the front and get ahead of our competitors together.
Then, after the safety car, things became a bit more complicated and we aimed to find the right timing to swap positions, which we did when Seb pitted. Unfortunately, there was an issue on Seb’s car and he had to end the race early. From that point on it just didn’t go our way anymore and it was not possible for me to overtake the two cars in front.
After we had such a strong weekend, ending the race with one car in P3 and the other retired is not the best feeling. But we are confident of our potential and will head into the next races with determination and give our all to bring home the best possible results.”