Hamilton wins Russian GP; show of support for Bianchi

It was smooth sailing for the Mercedes duo in Sochi, except for one unscheduled stop for Nico Rosberg at the end of lap one. In spite of th...

It was smooth sailing for the Mercedes duo in Sochi, except for one unscheduled stop for Nico Rosberg at the end of lap one. In spite of that, Rosberg fought back and came in second after teammate Lewis Hamilton, and they wrapped up the race with their ninth one-two win of the season which gave Mercedes enough points for them to seal their first ever constructors’ championship victory.

Mercedes now has an extraordinary 565 points, only 31 points shy of last year’s champion Red Bull's overall achievement for the 2013 season. Valterri Bottas rounded up the podium behind the Silver Arrows, in his Mercedes-powered Williams. We can hear the engineers at Mercedes popping the champagne already.

Hamilton led in every lap to earn his ninth victory of the season and adding a fourth victory to the winning streak he is enjoying. He joins only two other F1 racers in the history of the series to have two separate streaks of four victories in the same season, one being Michael Schumacher in 2004 and the other being Sebastian Vettel during the last season; both of them went on to win the title.

With only three more races to go, Hamilton is sure to finish the season with the most wins. He now has a 17-point lead over Rosberg. 

Drivers pay tribute to Bianchi before the race
Still, a shadow was cast over the race as Marussia driver, Jules Bianchi, remains in critical condition after the incident in Japan last weekend. Every car exhibited some show of support for the Frenchman, and drivers wore decals on their helmets or patches on their suits. The surface near the start/finish line was emblazoned with “Jules We Are All Supporting You”. The Marussia team prepared Bianchi’s car, and it was left on the stands in the garage while his teammate Max Chilton ran solo, a sombre repetition of what happened in 1994 when Williams ran only one car, driven by Damon Hill, following the death of Ayrton Senna. 

Russian president, Vladimir Putin, who has been in the global spotlight recently (for other very different reasons) attended the race and sat with Bernie Ecclestone, who stayed until the end of the race, a rarity for the F1 boss. Putin was instrumental in realising Ecclestone’s dream to have a GP in Russia, and it is rumoured that Russia pays US$50 million each year for the race, which would probably be the largest hosting fee of any GP. 

image: bbc.com

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