Russian GP: Lewis Hamilton wins, Force India's Perez on podium in third
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel finished in P2 and Force India's Sergio Perez got the team's and his own first podium in over a year.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won the Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom today, sealing the constructors’ championship for Mercedes and all but ensuring his own third drivers’ championship title, which will be his second consecutive one. “The car was really special to drive today,” the Briton said on the radio following his win.
Nico Rosberg began in pole position and looked strong in the early stages of the race, but a sticky throttle led to him retiring from a race where looked primed to win. The driver walked away from the garage visibly incensed at losing out on the championship battle to his teammate.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took second after Rosberg’s retirement, putting in some strong racing after he fell back to P6 following a pit stop.
Sahara Force India driver Sergio Perez took third, rounding off the podium. It was the first podium for the driver since 2014, when he took third at the Bahrain Grand Prix. It’s also the first podium for team Force India since that time.
Valtteri Bottas of Williams crashed out in the final two laps of the race, shunted by his fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen, who went on to finish in P5.
The race saw the safety car come out in the first lap, as Nico Hulkenberg of Force India was involved in a shunt with Marcus Ericsson of Sauber, ending both their races. That was not the only major crash in the race, however, as Lotus’ Romain Grosjean spun out of control, careening into the barriers and reducing his car to debris. The driver lost all radio communication with his team, but was deemed uninjured by medical staff as his car was carted off the track while safety cars were brought out again.
Team McLaren had a double points finish today, with Jenson Button in P9 and teammate Fernando Alonso in P10, while several drivers retired – among them Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso, who came into today's race recovering from injuries suffered in practice. He had a minor bump on track and pulled over off-track before exiting his vehicle.
The incident between Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas is currently under investigation. More to follow on that as information is available.
UPDATES: Raikkonen has received a 30-second penalty for causing the shunt with Bottas. The penalty takes him to P8, which also confirms that Mercedes WILL keep the drivers' championship.
Fernando Alonso also receives a 5-second penalty for track infringements, demoting him to P11 as Max Verstappen of Toro Rosso takes his place in 10th.
BREAKING: Kimi Raikkonen demoted to eighth place meaning Mercedes are constructors' champions. #F1— DW Sports (@dw_sports) October 11, 2015