Russian GP: Lewis Hamilton wins F1 epic ahead of Max Verstappen as late rain wreaks havoc and causes Lando Norris heartbreak

What a race, and what a way for Lewis Hamilton to claim his 100th F1 victory; Lando Norris held the lead for most of the race but chose to stay on dry tyres as heavy rain hit, and spun his McLaren; Max Verstappen second after starting last, with Hamilton only two points ahead in title race

Last Updated: 26/09/21 3:16pm


It's heartbreak for Lando Norris as the McLaren driver loses the lead to Lewis Hamilton in the final stages of the Russian Grand Prix

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It’s heartbreak for Lando Norris as the McLaren driver loses the lead to Lewis Hamilton in the final stages of the Russian Grand Prix

It’s heartbreak for Lando Norris as the McLaren driver loses the lead to Lewis Hamilton in the final stages of the Russian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton won a simply astonishing Russian GP after long-time race leader Lando Norris suffered late heartbreak by spinning his McLaren off in heavy rain, with Max Verstappen benefitting to complete his comeback from the back of the grid to an unlikely second.

Following a dramatic and soaking wet finale, Hamilton took both the championship lead and his 100th Formula 1 victory – but the Sochi race was destined for his young British compatriot who was so close to his very first triumph.

Pole-sitter Norris was heading towards that maiden F1 win after re-overtaking Carlos Sainz and then leading the majority of the race, even keeping his cool as Hamilton came charging through in the Mercedes after a difficult start of his own.

But as rain started falling with just eight laps to go, then getting increasingly heavier, Norris opted to stay on his slick tyres while Hamilton and the majority of the field opted for intermediates.

The decision turned out to be catastrophic as he could not control his McLaren in the conditions, spinning off into the barriers. Hamilton was then there to capitalise.

“I’m unhappy, devastated in a way,” said a clearly emotional Norris after the race. “It was my decision, I thought it was the way to go.”

“Lando did such an amazing job, he had incredible pace,” added Hamilton, who recovered after dropping from fourth to seventh on the first lap.

“It would’ve been tough to get past Lando unless we came up to some traffic or he made a mistake… so then the rain came and it was very opportunistic.”

Lewis Hamilton wins the Russian GP for his 100th victory in Formula 1

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Lewis Hamilton wins the Russian GP for his 100th victory in Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton wins the Russian GP for his 100th victory in Formula 1

Hamilton claimed victory, although Verstappen was arguably the big winner as the Dutchman, who was running seventh before the rain as his early charge through the field from the back faded, changed tyres earlier than many others and finished second.

The end result means Verstappen has lost his title lead – which Red Bull expected with their engine penalty – but Hamilton is only two points clear in the standings.

Sainz completed the podium, finishing ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas, who was another driver to benefit hugely from the rain, and Fernando Alonso.

Norris was seventh although may have a further blow coming his way; he will potentially receive a penalty for crossing the white line when finally entering the pits for the wet tyres.

Russian GP Race Result
1) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
3) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
4) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
5) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
6) Fernando Alonso, Alpine
7) Lando Norris, McLaren
8) Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo
9) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
10) George Russell, Williams

More to follow.

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