Victory in Russia was handed to Hamilton by his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who pulled over to let him through on orders from the team.
Hamilton cruised to victory after the switch and now leads Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by 50 points in the standings as both chase their fifth title. Even if Vettel wins all five remaining races, he’s no longer guaranteed to beat Hamilton.
Hamilton held off a challenge from Vettel at the start and overtook him after the German briefly got ahead at the pit stops, but by lap 25, he was again under serious pressure from Vettel.
“Right from Friday, the Sochi weekend was rather a difficult one for us. Despite all our efforts to find the ideal set-up, neither on Saturday nor in the race were we competitive enough to worry our closest rivals. Compared to the way we performed at other circuits, something was missing here and so we were unable to reduce the points gap. On paper, the next race in Japan should have very similar characteristics to the one at Silverstone, so in Suzuka, we will get a more precise indication as to the potential of our car. If it goes well, we will know that, despite the difficult situation in terms of the classification, we still have the right tools with which to fight all the way to the very end.” – Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene concluded.