|Lewis Hamilton parades to another win|
Lewis Hamilton won the Russian GP for the 2nd straight for Mercedes after his teammate and polesitter Nico Rosberg fell out early.
Using the Mercedes' huge HP advantage it was a boring Sunday afternoon drive for Hamilton and his 9th win of the year.
Sebastian Vettel came home 2nd for Ferrari 5.9 sec back while his teammate Kimi Raikkonen speared Valtteri Bottas on the last lap while battling for third handing third place to Sergio Perez.
With the win Hamilton now ties Vettel for third in the most career F1 wins with 42 and one ahead of Ayrton Senna.
Lewis Hamilton has all but won the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship title after a dominant win, coupled to an early retirement for main rival Nico Rosberg, saw him move 66 points clear with four races remaining.
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Hamilton had struggled to match his team-mate around the Sochi Autodrom in qualifying and didn't get the jump at the start, his luck continued when the German suffered throttle pedal issues from the start and pitted on lap 5 and retired.
Indeed, with Rosberg out of contention, Vettel's run to second place sees him move into the provisional runners-up spot overall for Ferrari.
Bottas had passed Perez on the next to last lap, with Raikkonen following through, but the Ferrari driver's attempt to pass on the final lap would spin his countryman out of the race. Raikkonen drove his damaged Ferrari to fifth, behind Felipe Massa.
Raikkonen survived the damage to get to the finish in fifth, behind Williams’ Felipe Massa who produced a superb recovery drive from 15th.
Daniil Kvyat finished sixth on home soil in the Red Bull ahead of Sauber's Felipe Nasr and Lotus' Pastor Maldonado.
|The three Mercedes powered cars take the lead at the start – Rosberg, Hamilton then Bottas|
Hamilton asked on the radio on the slow-down lap if "you guys got the constructors' title?" but Mercedes will have to wait for the outcome of the Raikkonen/Bottas investigation. If the Ferrari keeps his fifth place, then Mercedes has to wait until the next race.
Lewis Hamilton is now on the brink of wrapping up the 2015 world championships with four races still to run.
And a late stewards' call after the Russian grand prix that demoted Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen means that Mercedes has secured the constructors' crown for the second consecutive time.
Sochi winner Hamilton's teammate Nico Rosberg started Sunday's race from pole, but he ultimately retired with a broken throttle.
It means that if the Briton scores just 2 points more than Rosberg at Austin in two weeks, the German will be out of the running for the drivers' title.
"It's pretty incredible sometimes how tough F1 is," said Rosberg.
Asked if the title is now gone, he answered: "I don't know. But I am never going to win a championship when normal things like that break."
Hamilton, however, refused to "get ahead of myself" by counting on his third drivers' championship already, but Sebastian Vettel acknowledged that Ferrari's real challenge will probably have to wait until 2016.
"Of course you never give up," said Vettel, "otherwise what is the point of even being here?"
But he is more hopeful that another step forward for the Maranello team could result in a proper title challenge in 2016.
"I hope so," said the German. "That is our target. We want to be a bit better and make sure we give Mercedes a really good challenge."
It's just an amazing feeling today. I have a huge admiration for this team. Driving the car through that race, it just felt so good and this is what I've always dreamed of having. Even though you're in the front, it's still a hard race to stay in the zone and not make mistakes. We were only doing a one-stop, so you're trying not to lock up and damage the tires. I felt like it was a big challenge today. It's a shame I didn't get to race with Nico, which I was really excited about. I'm glad my car made it as the rear wing was getting a bit loose towards the end, so I had to stay off the curbs and try not to damage the car. I've got to enjoy what's going on now and cherish the moment; there are still lots of points available this year. To get the Constructors' Championship feels very special and a great feeling to be a part of this and to have contributed to the team's success. It's really an amazing feeling and I'm very proud of them up there on the podium, to see all their smiling faces. I feel like a small part in the chain of many people; I'm proud of that part and I look forward to seeing the whole team tomorrow at the factory. I knew the guys were going to do a good job this year but they've done an even better job this year than last, which is phenomenal.
Racing can be very tough. You put so much effort into a weekend but in the end I leave Russia with no points. A very disappointing weekend for me. It all went well until the Safety Car came out. My throttle pedal came into my direction. At one point I wasn't able to steer anymore as I had to lift my foot too much and touched the steering wheel with my knee. In the recent months I had some unlucky moments, which made it hard in the battle against Lewis. But I will come back and keep pushing. We can be very happy that we secured the Constructors' title a second time in a row. So it's a good day for everyone in the factories and we have to thank all that made this happen.
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
That was a day with every possible emotion: a bittersweet day on track, then a tense wait – and finally a confirmation that we have won a second world championship. Wow, there are never any simple days in this sport! But what a feeling it is to win a second title and a privilege to be part of this team. A world championship isn't just about points on a scoreboard, it's about many hours of hard work and sacrifice from every single member of the team, most of whom are away from the limelight and work with incredible dedication six or seven days a week. Well done to every one of them in Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart; you have done a sensational job. Likewise, it may sound like a corporate line, but I must say thank you to all of our partners who have supported us every step of the way to deliver this level of performance; they make a fundamental contribution to our success. As for the race itself, it was a bittersweet experience. Lewis drove a fantastic race and didn't put a foot wrong even though he had some problems to manage, especially towards the end with an aerodynamic instability on his rear wing. But he brought the car home in a really controlled way and strengthened his lead, well done to him. But I'm gutted for Nico after a problem with his throttle mechanism forced him to retire. It shows how sport this cruel can be: he had a brilliant weekend and opening lap, and I can only take my hat off to him about how he handled the situation, both in the car trying to find a solution – and afterwards in his professionalism. It's another reminder to us that, even with the steps forward we have taken on reliability this year, our work is never done and we need to keep focusing on every tiny detail. But now we can sit back and savor the moment: the party will start tomorrow back at base!
Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
Fantastic news to get the second World Championship. A very strange way to get this now as a result of the penalty but the result still stands; a great credit to the teams at Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart for the fantastic effort that brought us to this stage with such dominance to win the Constructors' Championship before the end of the season. In the race itself, it was good to see both cars make a good start today and get cleanly through Turn Two. After the early Safety Car a problem emerged with Nico's throttle control, preventing him from lifting off fully and in an inconsistent manner. Eventually this got so bad, we retired the car. It's emerged as a mechanical failure of the throttle pedal damper, which was causing a blockage. We are very sorry to Nico to lose so many points from the lead. A much better day for Lewis; there were some issues to manage in terms of whether to pit under the safety car, but we picked the right strategy and had good pace and tire consistency through the race to manage the gap well. He did have a bit of an issue with his rear wing towards the second half of the race which became worse towards the end, where we were seeing some loss of downforce during braking. We had to warn him about that and we will find out in due course what was causing that. A great win for Lewis in the end, so congratulations to him.
Overall I am very happy. It was a great day, a great race and I felt really good in the car. In particular I am very happy for the Team, they have done a great job, after the lacking practice the days before. My start was not so good, I struggled a little bit, but as the race went on I fought my way to the front. After the safety car came in I could overtake Kimi and start the hunt for Williams. As for my fight with Kimi, first of all I think we both enjoyed the battle that since it was still so early in the race, it was right to let us fight to provide some excitement. In the end I was just able to finish my race. Lewis deserved the win, but we were maybe closer than some had expected.
It feels great to be back on the podium and to be able to celebrate with my team. I have been enjoying my time with the team so much and this is a great reward for all the work we have put in together. The call to pit under the safety car turned out to be very good because it gave us track position ahead of all the battles. With one lap to go, when Valtteri (Bottas) and Kimi (Raikkonen) passed me, it felt like this result had been taken from us: I was obviously disappointed but I also knew I had given all I could during the race. There was no more I could do because I had been on the same tires for more than 40 laps. When I finally managed to get back into third it was just an amazing feeling. I am happy I was able to share this second podium with my team. It's a very special result and one that fills me with expectation ahead of the races in Austin and especially Mexico City.
It was quite a strange race with lots of accidents and safety cars, and we managed to do a very good job as a team to give me a good shot at the podium. I was running in P3 on the last lap and then I was hit from behind in Turn 4 by Kimi and that was it. It’s difficult to describe the disappointment because the team has worked so hard all week to get a good result, and then the result we feel like we deserved was lost with only one lap remaining. It’s a tough end to the weekend.
All through the race the car was behaving well, especially after the pit stop, but then I was stuck behind other cars and had no speed on the straight, so it was hard to get past. In the final stages, I tried to overtake Valtteri in the same place I had passed him earlier in the race, I had a good run in turn 3 and in the next one there would have been enough space, so I decided to go for it. I don’t know if he was not expecting me at all or if he did not see me, but once I decided to go there was no way I could back off. I tried to turn inside as much as I could, but there was no way to go and in the end we collided. It is an unfortunate thing for us and for them, nobody want to have an accident even if it’s part of racing. It’s really a shame, but my move was based on a good chance and not something completely crazy.
2. Sebastian Vettel GER Ferrari-Ferrari +05.9s
3. Sergio Perez MEX Force India-Mercedes +28.9s
4. Felipe Massa BRZ Williams-Mercedes +38.8s
5. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Ferrari-Ferrari +42.3s
6. Daniil Kvyat RUS Red Bull-Renault +47.5s
7. Felipe Nasr BRZ Sauber-Ferrari +56.5s
8. Pastor Maldonado VEN Lotus-Mercedes +1m 01.0s
9. Jenson Button GBR McLaren-Honda +1m 19.4s
10. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren-Honda +1m 26.2s
11. Max Verstappen NED Toro Rosso-Renault +1m 28.4s
12. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams-Mercedes +1 lap
13. Roberto Merhi ESP Manor-Ferrari +1 lap
14. Will Stevens GBR Manor-Ferrari +1 lap
Rtd Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull-Renault 48 laps completed
Rtd Carlos Sainz Jr ESP Toro Rosso-Renault 47 laps completed
Rtd Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus-Mercedes 12 laps completed
Rtd Nico Rosberg GER Mercedes-Mercedes 7 laps completed
Rtd Nico Hulkenberg GER Force India-Mercedes 0 laps completed
Rtd Marcus Ericsson SWE Sauber-Ferrari 0 laps completed
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