Magnificent seven: Nico Rosberg wins the Russian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton second
Nico Rosberg cruised to a seventh consecutive Formula 1 race victory and extended his world championship points lead over Lewis Hamilton, who rose ...
Nico Rosberg cruised to a seventh consecutive Formula 1 race victory and extended his world championship points lead over Lewis Hamilton, who rose from tenth on the grid to second place in the Russian Grand Prix.
Rosberg led the race from start to finish as Hamilton benefited from a chaotic first lap before racing up to second from his lowly starting spot, which was thanks to a MGU-H failure in qualifying, but a water pressure issue halted his charge.
Kimi Raikkonen completed the podium for Ferrari to claim the 700th podium for the Scuderia.
When the lights went out, Rosberg made a swift getaway as Raikkonen passed Valtteri Bottas for second under braking for Turn 2 before all hell broke loose behind them.
Sebastian Vettel, who had qualified second by started seventh due to a pre-qualifying gearbox change, passed Daniil Kvyat off the line and was challenging the other Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo under braking for Turn 2 when Kvyat locked up and hit Vettel from behind.
Vettel bounced off Ricciardo’s car and he continued out of the corner as Hamilton and several others were forced to go wide to avoid the incident.
While Vettel travelled through the long Turn 3, the Ferrari driver, who may have had a puncture from the first crash but he later confirmed he did not know if that was the case, was again hit from behind by Kvyat and the four times world champion spun into the outside wall and out of the race.
Even further back, a four car pile up that the stewards blamed on Haas F1’s Esteban Gutierrez, eliminated Nico Hulkenberg and Rio Haryanto at the exit of Turn 2. It was the second year in a row that Hulkenberg had retired from the Russian race on the opening lap.
The safety car was required for the marshals to clear away Vettel’s car and the debris that littered the track, before the race resumed at the start of lap four.
Rosberg scampered clear at the restart as Bottas avenged the opening lap move on Raikkonen to re-take second place from his compatriot at Turn 2 while Hamilton was busy passing Felipe Massa for fourth just behind.
Bottas, Raikkonen and Hamilton then fought fiercely over second, with the Briton passing the Ferrari at Turn 5 on lap seven, until Bottas pitted for his only stop of the race on lap 16.
A 2.7s stop from Williams kept Bottas just in front of Hamilton when the world champion emerged from his stop one lap later as Raikkonen stayed out for a further three laps.
Hamilton stalked Bottas for two laps before passing him at Turn 2 and Raikkonen was also able to jump the Williams when he eventually pitted on lap 20.
By this point Rosberg comfortably clear at the head of the race and when he made his only stop to switch to the soft tyres on lap 21, the German driver came out with a 13-second lead over his Mercedes teammate.
Over the next 16 laps Hamilton closed to within 7.5s of Rosberg before his engineer warned him about a “water pressure issue”.
From then on Rosberg eased home to win his fourth race of 2016 by 25 seconds over Hamilton, as the problem meant he had to back off before it eventually “stabilised”, with Raikkonen a further 6.9s back in third by the flag.
Rosberg’s victory means he joins Alberto Ascari, Michael Schumacher and Vettel as the only drivers to win seven F1 races in a row and he now leads Hamilton by 43 points in the drivers’ standings.
Speaking after the race, Rosberg said: "It’s been an awesome weekend. The car has been fantastic in qualifying and the race today felt very special out there. I feel very happy, thanks to everybody. I was enjoying it out there – flat out to the end.
“Great job from Lewis to come up to second so quickly from down in tenth. I was always aware of what he was doing and trying to keep that gap as big as possible.”
Bottas came home fourth, 24 seconds in front of Massa, who had made a late stop for a set of supersoft tyres in what was an otherwise quiet race for the Brazilian.
Fernando Alonso had leapt up the order thanks to the lap one incidents and held on to score his first points of 2016 with sixth for McLaren.
Renault’s Kevin Magnussen did likewise as the Dane recorded his first top ten finish since the 2014 Brazilian Grand Prix with seventh.
Romain Grosjean came home eighth for Haas F1, just in front of Sergio Perez, who recovered from a lap one puncture to finish ninth.
Jenson Button rounded out the top ten in the other McLaren to score his first point of 2016 and give the British team its first double points finish since Hungary 2015.
Ricciardo, who had pitted for repairs and a set of medium tyres after the lap one collision with Vettel, eventually finished 11th but only after Carlos Sainz was demoted from that position as he had picked up a ten-second time penalty for forcing Jolyon Palmer off the track on the exit of Turn 2 earlier in the race.
Palmer eventually finished 13th, just in front of Marcus Ericsson, who had started last for Sauber.
Kvyat was given a ten-second stop-and-go penalty for his crashes with Vettel and he ultimately came home 15th in front of his home fans.
Felipe Nasr was 16th in the second Sauber, with Gutierrez and Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein 17th and 18th.
The only other driver to retire from the race was Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen, who had been running solidly in sixth when his engine failed on lap 34.
Russian Grand Prix Results:
1 Nico Rosberg, Mercedes 1h32m41.997s
2 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes +25.022s
3 Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari +31.998s
4 Valtteri Bottas, Williams +50.217s
5 Felipe Massa, Williams +1m14.427s
6 Fernando Alonso, McLaren +1 Lap
7 Kevin Magnussen, Renault +1 Lap
8 Romain Grosjean, Haas +1 Lap
9 Sergio Perez, Force India +1 Lap
10 Jenson Button, McLaren +1 Lap
11 Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull +1 Lap
12 Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso +1 Lap
13 Jolyon Palmer, Renault +1 Lap
14 Marcus Ericsson, Sauber +1 Lap
15 Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull +1 Lap
16 Felipe Nasr, Sauber +1 Lap
17 Esteban Gutierrez, Haas +1 Lap
18 Pascal Wehrlein, Manor +2 Laps
- Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso Retirement
- Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari Collision
- Rio Haryanto, Manor Collision
- Nico Hulkenberg, Force India CollisionWhat did you make of the Russian Grand Prix? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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