By Robert Haile
Mercedes have continued their dominance at the Russian Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton.
The record breaking Brit brought up his century of Grand Prix wins in a tense and entertaining race today, September 26.
Race winner Hamilton said “Wow… 100! It’s taken a long time and I wasn’t even sure the 100th would come. Going to bed last night I wasn’t the happiest with the job I did yesterday. I watched the replay over and over again; they were subtle mistakes but I was so determined to put things right when I woke up this morning.
“Today was tough – I lost a lot of ground at the start, just trying to stay out of trouble. I was patient and at the end, when the rain came, I didn’t want to let Lando go by boxing. Of course I didn’t know what the rain was doing, it was just my feeling but I’m incredibly grateful to the strategy team for the job they did today.
“Getting anywhere near 100 victories wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of the men and women here and back at the factory, I’m so grateful to them – it just feels so special.
“Lando (Norris) did an amazing job today, he had incredible pace and he’s doing such a great job for McLaren. It was bittersweet to see my old team ahead, they’re doing so well powered by Mercedes and it’s good to see them united again.
“Max (Verstappen) did a good job to come up from second to last, the battle continues and we know we need to be on top form over the remaining races.”
After yesterday’s, September 25, qualifying Hamilton started from fourth with Norris on pole, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz second and George Russell of Williams third.
At the back Verstappen was joined by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Williams Nicholas Latifi and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas who all changed power units taking them over their season allowance.
Things went wrong at the start for Hamilton dropping to seventh as Norris and Sainz battled for the lead.
Further down the field Verstappen was cutting through the pack.
As the race entered the closing stages the rain returned after almost stopping qualifying yesterday it caused chaos as teams decided what to do.
Mercedes decided to pit Hamilton while those around him stayed out with race leader Norris closing in on his first Grand Prix win.
The rain got heavier and other drivers pitted Hamilton was sat in second with Verstappen and Sainz behind him as Norris continued to push.
Disaster struck for Norris as the Brit slid off the track leaving Hamilton free to go on and claim his hundredth race win as Verstappen took second and Sainz third.
McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo followed up his win at Monza with fourth place ahead of Bottas, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso in sixth and Norris finished back in seventh, but gained an extra point for the fastest lap of the race.
Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen returned after his Covid imposed absence to claim eighth with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in ninth with Williams’ Russell in tenth claiming another point.
Aston Martin’s drivers finished just outside the points with Lance Stroll beating Sebastian Vettel, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly took thirteenth.
Esteban Ocon brought his Alpine home ahead of Leclerc’s Ferrari in fifteenth with Alfa Romeo’s under pressure driver Antonio Giovinazzi behind him.
Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri finished ahead of Nikita Mazepin’s Haas with Mick Schumacher and Nicholas Latifi unable to finish the race.
In the competition for the Drivers Championship Hamilton has retaken the lead with Verstappen in second.
Formula One will take a two week break before racing resumes in Turkey over October 8-10.
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 246.5
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 244.5
- Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 151
- Lando Norris (McLaren) – 139
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 120
- Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – 112.5
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 104
- Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) – 95
- Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) – 66
- Fernando Alonso (Alpine) – 58
- Esteban Ocon (Alpine) – 45
- Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) – 35
- Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) – 24
- Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) – 18
- George Russel (Williams) – 16
- Nicholas Latifi (Williams) – 7
- Kimi Räikkönen (Alfa Romeo) – 6
- Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) – 1
- Mick Schumacher (Haas) – 0
- Robert Kubica (Alfa Romeo) – 0
- Nikita Mazepin (Haas) – 0
- Mercedes – 397.5
- Red Bull – 364.5
- McLaren – 234
- Ferrari – 216.5
- Alpine – 103
- AlphaTauri – 84
- Aston Martin – 59
- Williams – 23
- Alfa Romeo – 7
- Haas – 0