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Sports

Hamilton closing in on Formula One title

In a drama-filled Russian Grand Prix, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton clinched his ninth win of the season and looks set to defend his driver's title. His teammate and rival, Nico Rosberg, was forced to retire early.

Lewis Hamilton triumphed at the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi on Sunday and took a massive step towards clinching the Formula One driver's championships with teammate Nico Rosberg retiring.

Despite starting from the pole position, the German Rosberg was forced out of the race in the early stages due to throttle problems.

Having started behind his Mercedes teammate on the grid, Hamilton was left to coast to victory and looks set for a successful defence of his driver's crown, holding a 66-point lead with just 100 points left to race fo.

Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz crashed heavily on Saturday

Drama throughout in Sochi

In a race with two Safety Car interventions, several accidents and a number of retirements, Spaniard Carlos Sainz who had crashed heavily in his Toro Rosso on Saturday, was passed fit to start from the back of the grid, rose to 10th and retired after spinning off in the closing laps.

An opening lap multi-car collision caused the first Safety Car. The second came after 12 laps when Romain Grosjean crashed heavily in his Lotus, but climbed out of the wreckage unhurt.

Another crash came on the final lap involving Finns Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari and Valtteri Bottas of Williams as they battled for third. That mishap handed the position instead to Sergio Perez who claimed only the third podium in the Force India team's history. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel came in second.

This ninth win of 2015 moved Hamilton up to 302 points in the drivers standings with Vettel overtaking Rosberg, the former four-time champion now placed second on 236 points, with Rosberg on 229.

Hamilton can clinch the title in the United States Grand Prix on October 25 if all of the results go his way in Texas.

The constructors's title though, was decided in the aftermath of Sunday's race, when officials determined that Raikkonnen had been at fault in the collision with Bottas and handed him a 30-second penalty. This dropped Raikonnen's placing in the Russian Grand Prix from fifth to eighth, and the loss of points in the constructors' standings meant that Mercedes have won their second successive title with four races to spare.
apc/pfd (AFP, AP)

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