• Russian GP - Race

Hamilton wins in Russia after Rosberg mistake

Laurence Edmondson in Sochi
October 12, 2014
© Sutton Images

Lewis Hamilton won the Russian Grand Prix with ease after Nico Rosberg's chances of victory went up in tyre smoke as he locked up both front brakes trying to pass his team-mate into the first corner.

The Story of the Race

  • Shock: Nico Rosberg successfully completing a 51-lap stint on medium tyres and never looking like he was struggling.
  • Shocker: Rosberg was only in that situation after a huge lock-up into Turn 2, forcing an early pit stop and ensuring the rest of his race was all about limiting the damage to championship rival Lewis Hamilton.
  • Best overtake: Rosberg on Valtteri Bottas at mid-distance was achieved with the sort of feisty-ness we've seen from Hamilton in recent years, forcing the Williams wide, and was proof the German's recovery drive was no walk in the park.
  • Best lap: Lap 26 was a bit of a disaster for Ferrari, messing up Fernando Alonso's pit stop and then watching Rosberg breeze past Kimi Raikkonen - a grim reminder how far it has to come to be competitive again.
  • Worst lap: None stand out, so it could be fair to mention here that, as one of the duller races in recent memory, there is more than one candidate for this award.
  • Drive of the day Rosberg's recovery drive was superb but it was only needed after a huge error at Turn 2. Hamilton, meanwhile, did not put a foot wrong after another dominant weekend.
  • Nate Saunders

Rosberg's error forced him to pit at the end of the first lap and make a set of tyres last for the rest of the race in order to fight back to second place. Hamilton, meanwhile, had a clear run to the chequered flag and, as he crossed the line, sealed the first constructors' championship for Mercedes in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas was the only challenge to a Mercedes one-two, but was passed by Rosberg on lap 30 as the German completed his recovery drive to second place. Jenson Button finished fourth ahead of team-mate Kevin Magnussen on a strong day for McLaren.

Fernando Alonso made a good start to finish sixth for Ferrari ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who got a poor getaway but fought back to seventh with an alternative strategy. Ricciardo's pit stop on lap 11 saw Red Bull shuffle him ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel who went on to finish eighth. Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez took the last points on offer in ninth and tenth.

Rosberg made a good start and positioned himself on the inside as the two Mercedes exited the sweeping Turn 1 and continued full throttle to the first braking zone at Turn 2. Rosberg got his nose ahead but locked both front tyres as he tried to outbrake Hamilton and take the lead. The mistake saw him swing well wide of the apex and into the ample run-off area, but the damage to his front tyres meant he suffered vibrations for the rest of the lap. Mercedes radioed Rosberg to tell him he would have to give the position back, but he replied saying a pit stop was necessary to replace the damaged front tyres.

After a number of laps jostling for position within the top ten, the race settled down into a predictable procession for the best part of 50 laps. The only question was whether Rosberg would be able to make his tyres last the distance to beat Bottas, who opted for a much more conventional strategy by pitting on lap 26. He would have been able to put up more of a fight had he not come out from his pit stop behind Vettel, who was saving fuel and was yet to pit, as that allowed Rosberg to close in on the Williams. After Vettel pitted on lap 29, Rosberg took the inside line into Turn 2 and forced the Williams wide on the exit to take the position. Despite Bottas pushing hard for the rest of the race, he was not able to get another look at the Mercedes until the cars parked under the podium at the end of the race.

Further down the field, Ricciardo caught Alonso but was unable to pass as he hovered just outside of DRS range. Felipe Massa in the second Williams was also engaged in a frustrating battle with Sergio Perez as he angled for the final point on offer, but came up short. Massa was recovering from a fuel system issue in qualifying that meant he started 18th, but a two-stop strategy - including a pit stop on the very first lap - proved to be the wrong approach.

The result leaves Hamilton 17 points clear of Rosberg in the drivers' championship with three races left and 100 points still up for grabs.

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