By a margin of 13.6 seconds, Lewis Hamilton took the chequered flag ahead of Nico Rosberg to win the inaugural Russian Grand Prix. By winning the first ever Formula One race held in Russia, he also extends his championship lead to 17 points with three races remaining.
Ahead of the formation lap, all the drivers gathered on the grid to show their support for Jules Bianchi. A touching tribute at a hard time for the drivers who carry Jules in their thoughts following his crash in Japan.
However, once the race was underway the drivers had to focus on the job at hand. Lewis Hamilton had a clean get away from pole position ahead of Rosberg and Bottas. But come the first real corner, Rosberg saw an opening.
Thanks to the long run down from the grid to turn two, Rosberg was able to tuck in behind his team-mate and use his slipstream to keep in touch. But with Lewis piercing the air for them both, Rosberg was able to gain more speed and challenge for the lead. However a huge lock up for the German saw Nico sail on into the run off area and relinquish the lead. Worst of all, the heavy the lock up also caused Rosberg a lap one pit stop for fresh rubber due to severe vibrations thanks to the black spots on his tyres. As well as that, the early stop meant Rosberg needed to keep those tyres usable until the end of the race.
Now with Rosberg making his way through the rear of the field, the action at the front fell to Magnussen and Jean-Eric Vergne. On the third lap, the McLaren youngster made his way past Vergne into turn two. But the Toro Rosso man refused to hand over the position and hung in around the outside of turn 3. This in turn gave Vergne the inside line for turn 4 and regained the position.
As the laps began to tick by, Hamilton extended his lead back to Valtteri Bottas but he knew he had enough in hand to charge away into the sunset so began to take it easy. At the same time Rosberg continued to pick his way through the field, whilst a tough weekend for Marussia was coming to its end. Max Chilton was forced into returning to the garage for a second time, but this stop was to retire from the race.
Throughout the early laps Felipe Massa tailed Rosberg as they made their way through the field. Unlike Rosberg, Massa started the race from the back of the grid after his problems in qualifying but also pitted at the end of the first lap.
Unfortunately all the action in Russia appeared to dry up on track for what seemed like forever. Now the only action seemed to come in the pit lane with drivers carrying out their mandatory stop.
Most of those pit stops went by without a hitch but for Ferrari and Alonso that wasn’t the case. A messy stop left the Spaniard returning to the Sochi Autodrom down in ninth place when the front jackman failed to move out of the way in time.
Over the following few laps the only events of significance came with Hamilton carrying out his mandatory pit whilst Rosberg approached the podium positions. But then on lap 29, action unravelled at turn 2.
Sutil attempted to challenge Grosjean into the corner but an overtake around the outside was never really on the cards. In the end, a slight touch between the Lotus and Sauber left Sutil in a spin. Luckily for him he was able to avoid any contact with the barrier and carried on his way. But unluckily for Grosjean, this resulted in the Frenchman receiving a five-second stop/go penalty.
By now the race had passed the mid-way point and Rosberg began setting new fastest lap after fastest lap of the race despite being on a set of tyres fitted at the end of lap 1. But due to the low levels of degradation, the tyres continued to perform.
However for home favourite Daniil Kyvat, he was told he was critical on fuel and began falling further towards the back. Later on Sergio Perez found himself in the same situation and was forced into a tight fuel strategy to get to the end of the race.
Later on, the final laps began to roll on with Hamilton maintaing his dominant lead. However the battle for second place began to emerge.
After Rosberg’s flying laps earlier on, he was forced into slowing once more and allowed Bottas to start crawling towards him. However despite a handful of fastest laps for the Finn, he was too far back from Nico and was forced into settling for third at the chequered flag.
But out in front Lewis Hamilton took the chequered flag miles ahead of his team-mate and championship rival, Nico Rosberg. Meaning he will extend his championship lead to 17-points with three races to go. The next of which is the United States Grand Prix in 3 weeks time.
With Rosberg finishing in second place, Hamilton’s championship lead has been extended to 17 points. Whilst Mercedes themselves become the 2014 Formula One constructors champions.
|2||6||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||53||+13.6 secs||2||18|
|3||77||Valtteri Bottas||Williams-Mercedes||53||+17.4 secs||3||15|
|4||22||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||53||+30.2 secs||4||12|
|5||20||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren-Mercedes||53||+53.6 secs||11||10|
|6||14||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||53||+60.0 secs||7||8|
|7||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||53||+61.8 secs||6||6|
|8||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||53||+66.1 secs||10||4|
|9||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Ferrari||53||+78.8 secs||8||2|
|10||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||53||+80.0 secs||12||1|
|11||19||Felipe Massa||Williams-Mercedes||+80.8 secs||18|
|12||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||+81.3 secs||17|
|13||25||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Renault||+97.2 secs||9|
|14||26||Daniil Kvyat||STR-Renault||+1 Lap||5|
|15||21||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||+1 Lap||13|
|16||99||Adrian Sutil||Sauber-Ferrari||+1 Lap||14|
|17||8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||+1 Lap||15|
|18||13||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus-Renault||+1 Lap||21|
|19||9||Marcus Ericsson||Caterham-Renault||+2 Lap||16|
|Ret||10||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham-Renault||+32 Laps||19|
|Ret||4||Max Chilton||Marussia-Ferrari||+44 Laps||20|