Valtteri Bottas raced to victory in the Russian Grand Prix as Max Verstappen closely followed in second as 6-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton finished third after serving two penalties for pre-race practice infractions.
Hamilton had completed two practice laps at Sochi including the one towards the end of the pitlane exit, which was aganist the directives given by the race director Michael Masi. This means that Hamilton went into the race while under investigation. Adding insult to injury he started the race on the soft tyres which are entirely unfancied as Bottas and Redbull’s Max Verstappen started on the medium tyres.
As the race started Lewis Hamilton was leading as his teammate Bottas immediately passed Max Verstappen at Turn 1. Bottas tried to pass Lewis Hamilton from the outside as he tried to move his nose past his teammate but immediately got a brief slide over the kerbs and Hamilton was able to retake the lead. Verstappen was one of the drivers who went to the runoff area at turn 2 and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was able to overtake him briefly, as Verstappen regained his position at the next turn. Ricciardo went ahead to lose his fourth position to his teammate Esteban Ocon after sliding at Turn 7.
But the race was immediately suspended following Maclaren’s Carlos Sainz crashing after hitting the wall on the outside of the marker boards as he followed Vestappen. His wreckage remained in the track as the following drivers were forced to check up. A few moments later Charles Leclerc(Ferrari) made contact with Lance Stroll(Racing Point) after touching with his left frontside of the wing and Stroll hit the wall and retired from the race as the safety car was deployed moments later.
The race restarted on lap 6 as Hamilton still lead the pack as Bottas was still closely chasing after him, but the world champion later extended his lead. But the news came in later that he was being handed two five-second penalties for the pre-race infractions and had to wait 10 seconds in the pit before Mercedes could service his car. He came in on lap 16 after setting two fastest laps and had a 2.7 seconds lead. Hamilton later rejoined the race out of the top 10 bracket but before Daniel Ricciardo who was in the pits.
Valtteri Bottas was in the lead as he made fast laps in the 1m 39s bracket as Max Verstappen tried to edge out on him, but the RB 16 was much slower than the W11. Bottas eventually pitted on lap 26 to change from the mediums to the hards as he was 9.7s ahead of the Redbull. Hamilton was 15.4 seconds away from the lead. The gaps between the top 3 racers widened as Bottas was 12s ahead of Verstappen, as Hamilton was 10 seconds behind Verstappen. As the race came to an end Bottas was 7.7s ahead of Verstappen and Hamilton came in 15s behind Verstappen as they finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Sergio Perez finished 4th after taking the advantage of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon who were behind Sebastian Vettel after their early stops. Daniel Ricciardo finished 5th evn after getting a 5 second penalty for cutting over Turn 2. The Australian however was able to create a large gap from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc who finished 6th.
Esteban Ocon finished 7th just ahead of AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat who came home 8th. Kvyat’s teammate Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon finished 9th and 10th respectively.
Alexander Albon was another driver to get the five second penalty after cutting off Turn 2 despite the billboards being at the turn though they had been destroyed at one point when Romain Grosjean went over them. The remaining drivers came in over a lap later.