Grand Prix race results: Hamilton wins wild Russian F1 GP
Lewis Hamilton won the Russian Grand Prix for Mercedes at Sochi on Sunday, the 100th F1 victory of his career, as a late downpour cost McLaren’s Lando Norris his first-ever GP win.
The race was decided in the closing stages, with Norris going for his first win and Hamilton aiming for his century, but the result was ultimately determined by rain and pit strategy. Hamilton pitted for intermediates as it began to drizzle, while Norris stayed out on slicks – but a downpour ruined Norris’s gamble.
Hamilton eased past him to win the race, ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who drove from the back of the grid to second place, with Ferrari's Carlos Sainz completing the podium having led early on.
2021 Russian Grand Prix race results
|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|
|View full results|
How the Russian Grand Prix unfolded
In dry conditions, but with rain threatening, first-time F1 pole starter Norris led through Turn 1 as George Russell’s Williams initially passed Sainz off the line, but Sainz repassed him and then outbraked Norris for the lead at Turn 2. Russell held third, as Hamilton dropped to seventh behind Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Fernando Alonso (Alpine) and Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren).
Ricciardo charged past Alonso on the back straight to grab fifth on the opening lap. From the back of the grid, Verstappen immediately gained three places.
Hamilton passed Alonso for sixth, while his teammate Valtteri Bottas (who took an engine penalty) rose to 14th, with Verstappen on his tail.
Sainz and Norris pulled clear of their pursuers and battled out front, as Verstappen passed Bottas on Lap 7. He then overtook Gasly and Leclerc, although had a huge moment attacking the latter – worrying Verstappen that he’d damaging his front wing.
Norris passed Sainz for the lead on the back straight on Lap 13, as Stroll pitted from fourth to switch from mediums to hards. That triggered a raft of early pitstops, as Russell pitted from third but rejoined behind Stroll.
Sainz pitted from second on Lap 15, with a sticky left-rear wheel that cost him time, while Verstappen passed Vettel and was now into the points.
McLaren gave up its 1-2 as Ricciardo pitted from second but, despite a fast wheel change, he wasn’t released and dropped him behind Sainz, Stroll and Russell. That elevated Hamilton to second, 12s in arrears of Norris but 2s ahead of Perez, Alonso, Verstappen (who was complaining that his tyres were dead) and Leclerc.
Hamilton pitted on Lap 27 after suffering a lockup, ditching his mediums for hards, with Verstappen also coming in on that tour to switch from hards to mediums. Hamilton rejoined behind Sainz and Stroll, with Verstappen blending in between Ricciardo and Russell.
Norris was triggered into making his pitstop too, rejoining fourth behind Perez, Alonso and Leclerc, who were all yet to stop. Hamilton passed Sainz at Turn 2 on Lap 30 for a net second place and was nine seconds behind Norris at this point.
Ricciardo passed Stroll for net fourth, with Verstappen doing likewise up to fifth a few corners later. Norris lost time battling past the long-running Leclerc for third, allowing Hamilton to close the gap to within 5s. Then he was further delayed by Alonso, which allowed Hamilton to get within 3s.
Perez pitted from the lead but suffered a slow stop and dropped to fifth, behind Norris, Hamilton, Sainz and Ricciardo. Despite a slow pitstop, the fresh-tyred Alonso managed to get ahead of Verstappen at Turn 2 sixth.
In the closing stages, Hamilton closed in on DRS range of Norris, just as spots of rain began to fall. Perez passed Ricciardo for fourth with eight laps to go.
Norris ran wide at Turn 5 as the rain intensified but just held on from Hamilton, as Perez passed Sainz for third. Norris had a second off-track excursion but stayed out. Stroll and Vettel collided and continued. Later, Stroll spun off following a clash with Pierre Gasly that he was penalised for.
Hamilton, Sainz, Ricciardo and Verstappen all pitted for intermediates with three laps to go, as did most of the pack. Hamilton was 25s behind the leader, as Norris stayed out. But heavy rain ruined Norris’s gamble, and Hamilton passed Norris for the lead as Norris slid helplessly off the track.
Verstappen moved up to second on inters, as Norris slithered back to the pits for intermediates, going off after entering the pitlane, briefly rejoining the track, but avoiding a penalty to rub salt into his wounds. Leclerc went off, dropping to 15th.
Hamilton beat Verstappen to the finish 53s, with Sainz third from Ricciardo, Bottas, Alonso, Norris, Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo), Perez and Russell.
2021 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix fastest laps
|12||Carlos Sainz Jr.||40||1'39.294||1.871||0.043||212.024|
|View full results|
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