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F1: Bottas wins Russian GP after Hamilton time penalty

September 27, 2020

A Mercedes driver did win the Russian Grand Prix but it wasn't the one everyone expected. Valtteri Bottas took the checkered flag after Lewis Hamilton suffered a 10-second time penalty.

Bottas won in Russia, keeping Mercedes perfect Russian record intact
Image: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton missed out on equaling Michael Schumacher's record of 91 race wins after two five-second penalties for practice start violations saw him have to claw his way back onto the podium.

"It doesn't matter, it's done now, I'll just take the points," Hamilton said afterwards, visibly frustrated.

Valtteri Bottas claimed top spot after Hamilton's penalty and never looked like relinquishing control. Max Verstappen drove excellently to finish in second for the Red Bulls, while it was also a good afternoon for Daniel Ricciardo who finished in fifth and Charles Leclerc climbed into 6th after starting in 10th.


1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

Current standings

1. Hamilton (Mercedes) — 205 points
2. Bottas (Mercedes) — 161
3. Verstappen (Red Bull) — 128
4. Norris (McLaren) — 65
5. Albon (Red Bull) — 64

Fastest lap: Valtteri Bottas — 1:37.030 on Lap 51

Best team: Renault — Fifth and seventh is a strong return for the French team who finished where they started the race. Ricciardo claimed 5th despite picking up a 5-second penalty.

Drive of the day: Max Verstappen (Red Bull) drove really well to seal second and split the two Mercedes. An excellent pit stop helped him on the way but he definitely got the most out of the race.

Biggest controversy: Hamilton's 10-second penalty. The Brit grumbled about the rule book and having to come in too early. It will certainly be a talking point, especially on the weekend that all the headlines were about him breaking Schumacher's race win record.

Quote of the day: Valtteri Bottas didn't hold back over the team radio after winning in Russia: "It’s a nice moment to thank my critics ... to whom it may concern: F*** you."

It wasn't Hamilton's best day, but Mercedes still had a winning driver
It wasn't Hamilton's best day, but Mercedes still had a winning driverImage: Maxim Shemetov/AFP/Getty Images

As it happened:

Valtteri Bottas wins the Russian Grand Prix!

Lap 45/53

Grosjean gives Vettel a bump or maybe it's the other way around. Hamilton is closing in on Verstappen - he's half a second faster in sector 1 and 2. He might just run out of laps here. Albon into 10th. Then the virtual safety car is on as debris is cleared during the emergency exit near turn 2. Kvyat hunting Ocon in 7th.

Lap 40/53

I think this race is done. Verstappen putting his foot down, closing in on Bottas a bit but not enough. Here's the top 10:

1. Bottas
2. Verstappen
3. Hamilton
4. Perez
5. Ricciardo (+5 second penalty)
6. Leclerc
7. Ocon
8. Kvyat
9. Gasly
10. Norris

Lap 35/53

Kvyat does pit (and comes out in 8th and is faster than Ocon), Hamilton into third but slower than Verstappen. He's around 8 seconds behind the Dutchman. Bottas sets a new fastest time for sector 2. Perez into fourth. Ricciardo into fifth but with that time penalty remember. so it looks like Leclerc will have a good day for Ferrari. Ricciardo says, when told about the penalty, "That's my fault. I'll drive faster." Vettel pits again, which puts him near the back of the pack. All eyes on whether Hamilton can push Verstappen now, but a podium finish considering a 10-second penalty is not bad at all.

Lap 30/53

Ocon lets Ricciardo pass, likely team orders, because he is going faster and has the chance to overtake Vettel. But the Aussie then gets a 5-second penalty for going off in his passing of the German. Silly. An incredible pit from Verstappen sees him come out in fourth, ahead of Hamilton. Then Bottas pits, comes out on hards and still in first - like he never pitted. The Finn is going to win here. Leclerc into second but then pits, which opens the door for Hamilton. Daniil Kvyat the man now in third, but needs to pit. Almost everyone on hards now.

There was an early safety car in Russia
Image: Yuri Kochetkov/Reuters

Lap 25/53

Hamilton slides up the field as those in front of him start to pit - third is a real possibility here. No record-breaking but still lots of points. Ricciardo slides past Raikkonen into 9th. Bottas keeps setting fastest laps, just to reminder Verstappen and Hamilton that there is no catching him. Ocon struggling to get past Vettel in 7th despite being on fresh tires. Albon up to 11th. Hamilton grumbles about being brought in too soon and that he's going to struggle to finish. Wouldn't want to be in that Mercedes race debriefing room.

Lap 20/53

Hamilton sets another fastest lap, keen to grow his lead before coming in. Ricciardo pits, opts for hards - Perez moves into fifth - and comes out in 14th. Then Hamilton does pit and they wait 10 seconds before attending to the car. And he comes out in 11th, saying "This is just ridiculous man." He is also keen to know why he had to serve it in the pits. Told he had to and now to get on with his race. If he makes the podium from here, then wow. Meanwhile Bottas sets a fastest lap, and with Ocon pitting Perez slides into third, Leclerc into 4th having started 10th.

Lap 15/53

"Where's that in the rule book?" Hamilton says over the radio after being told about the two penalties for the starts going to the grid. He has a 10-second lead on Leclerc, who is in 8th. He is going to need a miracle performance to seal win 91 today. Hamilton is on softs and likely to pit soon, which means, with the penalty, he may end up coming out between 10th and 12th. Hamilton doesn't want to come in too early though and sets a faster pace. Perez closing in on the Renaults in fifth. A lot of fun between Albon, Norris and Russell right at the back too.

Carlos Sainz has an accident on the opening lap
Carlos Sainz has an accident on the opening lapImage: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

Lap 10/53

Finally we are racing again! Norris takes Albon at the back of the race. Hamilton gets two 5-second penalties. Not sure why he has two, but one of them is for the practice start infringement. That is going to be on the team more than him, but that might be that with the race win and equaling Michael Schumacher's record today. Ocon is ahead of Ricciardo into fourth. Verstappen is complaining about having no grip at all.

Lap 5/53

After the pit stops, Ricciardo is down into the fifth, Verstappen is back into third. Norris, in 18th, is complaining about his steering and it might be because he drove over some of his teammate's debris. Nightmare for McLaren. Hamilton is under investigation for a practice start outside of the designated area. Safety car heads in...

Lights out!

What a start here. Hamilton gets away and so does Bottas. Verstappen struggles, and brakes late which forces him out wide in the emergency exit but by the time he comes back he's behind Ricciardo, who started brilliantly. There's a lot of mess at the back though and Lance Stroll was clipped and he's out of the race already. Carlos Sainz also misjudged corner two and is out. That looked painful! With the safety car out, plenty of drivers box to change tires.

Formation lap

The drivers are out for their final prep before lights out.

Drivers continue their protest ahead of the Russian Grand Prix
Drivers continue their protest ahead of the Russian Grand PrixImage: Pavel Golovkin/AFP/Getty Images

Qualifying roundup

Runaway Formula One series leader Lewis Hamilton emerged from a "horrible" red-flagged qualifying session with a stunning pole position for Sunday's Russian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel crashed in his Ferrari after clipping a curb and losing control, but he walked away unharmed. That made qualifying difficult as the second session was interrupted by 10 minutes, but Hamilton clocked a best lap in one minute and 31.304 seconds to outpace Max Verstappen of Red Bull by half a second.

The six-time Mercedes champion is bidding to claim his fifth win at the Sochi track where Mercedes have dominated winning all six races since 2014. If he can turn pole into victory, he will equal Michael Schumacher's career record of 91 Grand Prix wins.

"It was one of the worst qualifying sessions. It was horrible - heart in your mouth," said Hamilton. "I wanted to stay out and do a banker but they said come in and get new tires and then the red flag came out. It was a risk, we got through but I am starting on softs which is not good."

Current standings

1. Hamiton (Mercedes) — 190 points
2. Bottas (Mercedes) — 135
3. Verstappen (Red Bull) — 110
4. Norris (McLaren) — 65
5. Albon (Red Bull) — 63

Quote of the day

"Oh my god, that was very, very close" — Ferrari's Charles Leclerc after narrowly missing the wreckage of his teammate Vettel's car.

Circuit profile: Sochi Autodrom

At 3.634 miles and comprising of 18 turns, it is the fourth-longest circuit on the F1 calendar behind Spa, Baku and Silverstone.

Mercedes have enjoyed great success at the Black Sea circuit, winning every Grand Prix in Sochi since the inaugural race in 2014. Lewis Hamilton has taken four of those, with one each for Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas.

But it's lack of overtaking opportunities doesn't make it one of the fan favorite circuits in the calendar.