Sochi, September 26 (BUS): Lewis Hamilton became the first Formula 1 driver to win 100 races by winning the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday to reclaim the championship lead from Max Verstappen, reports the Associated Press.
Hamilton slipped to seventh when he cornered the first corner but struggled and passed Lando Norris to take the win when the McLaren driver was left on slick tires late in the rain and skidded off the track.
Hamilton turned Verstappen’s five-point lead in the championship lead into a two-point lead, with the Dutch driver finishing second after a dramatic dash from the latter on the net. Carlos Sainz finished third with Ferrari.
Verstappen last started after a penalty for an engine change at Red Bull but cut through the field and Hamilton was on sight halfway.
Hamilton’s Mercedes did better on hard tires in the second half of the race and Verstappen’s job seemed to come to a halt when he was overtaken by Alpine Fernando Alonso and stuck in seventh place.
But then it rained and Verstappen switched to intermediate tires early, allowing him to claim an unexpected finish on the podium and limit the damage to his first title hopes.
Norris came seventh after his gamble to stay on dry tires failed against his team’s advice. If it wasn’t for the rain, Hamilton said, “It would have been difficult to get past Lando.
He had a great pace.” Norris was aiming to give McLaren back-to-back wins after Daniel Ricciardo won the last race in Italy when Hamilton and Verstappen collided.
Hamilton has now won the Russian Grand Prix on five of eight occasions, and continues his victory on Sunday as a clean sweep of victories in Russia for Mercedes.