Hamilton wins Russian GP after Bottas gives up lead

Sochi (Russia),¬†¬†¬†Formula One defending champion Lewis Hamilton of Britain (Mercedes) won the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday after Mercedes’ other driver, Valtteri Bottas of Finland, gave up the lead in a strategic decision focused on cementing Hamilton’s grip on a fifth Formula One title.

With his third Grand Prix victory in a row, Hamilton extended his lead in the 2018 Formula One championship to 50 points over his main title rival, Germany’s Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), who finished third behind Bottas here, reports Efe.

“It’s actually quite a difficult day. Valtteri was a real gentleman to let me through,” Hamilton said in a post-race interview on Formula One’s official Twitter.

“To have a one-two, usually we’d be elated. Valtteri deserved to win… but today it was a real team effort,” the British driver added.

Having missed out on his first win this season, Bottas admitted it was “A difficult day. A good result as a team but personally, as everyone saw, it was quite difficult. Lewis is fighting for the championship so we always have a plan, but it is what it is.”

In lap 25, Bottas had the lead but Vettel was breathing down Hamilton’s neck, prompting Mercedes to give the order to let Hamilton take the lead, handing him his eighth win this season.

Vettel praised his Mercedes rivals after the race, saying “It was tricky – they worked very well together. I tried to put pressure on Valtteri but couldn’t get close enough… It was a good race… but not the result we wanted.”

Hamilton finished with a time of one hour, 27 minutes and 25.181 seconds, which was 2.545 seconds ahead of Bottas and 7.487 seconds in front of Vettel, while Kimi Raikkonen of Finland (Ferrari) came fourth, 16.543 seconds off the pace.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the race and took part in the podium presentation.