until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Hamilton grabs last-gasp Sochi win as Norris gamble fails

by Matt Beer
4 min read

Lando Norris lost his maiden Formula 1 victory to Lewis Hamilton after a failed slick tyre gamble in a thrilling Russian Grand Prix that was hit by late-race downpour.

Hamilton chased down first-time poleman Norris’s McLaren in the final 25 laps of the race while going in search of his 100th F1 win, closing down a 10-second gap to set up an enthralling finish, having earlier dropped from fourth to seventh on lap one.

But their battle was interrupted by a late-race rain shower with just a handful of laps that turned the race on its head.

Hamilton dived into the pits for the intermediate tyres with five laps to go despite initially disagreeing with his Mercedes team’s decision, while Norris stayed out on his slick tyres.

A 25-second gap separated them when Hamilton came out of the pits, but this was rapidly reduced with intense rainfall in the final three laps.

Norris lost control of his McLaren in what he described as “full-wet” conditions, sliding off the road while Hamilton swept his way past the McLaren driver with just three laps remaining.

Norris eventually made his way back to the pits but he made a mistake into the pit entry, crossing the white line which will likely lead to a post-race penalty.

When he emerged from the pits, long-time race leader Norris was down in eighth place behind the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen.

Meanwhile, at the front, Hamilton claimed his 100th career victory, with a deceptively huge 53.271s winning margin over his F1 title rival Max Verstappen, who he claims the championship lead from.

Verstappen charged from last on the grid to second place, having endured a yo-yo race in which he closed to within five seconds of Hamilton in the opening stint but then dropped back into the lower reaches of the top 10 before the late-rain shower propelled him into second place.

The podium was completed by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who led the first 13 laps of the race having come out best from the charge to the first braking zone on lap one, before Norris passed him at the Turn 13 right-hander.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Russian Grand Prix Race Day Sochi, Russia

Italian GP winner Daniel Ricciardo overcame a slow pitstop to be fourth at the chequered flag ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

Prior to the rain, Bottas had suffered a miserable race. He was sent to the back of the grid by Mercedes after a tactical engine change, but Bottas was mugged by Verstappen into the Turn 13 right-hander on lap six.

He languished outside the points but he got the tyre call right at the end of the race, and climbed to fifth place ahead of Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Norris.

Raikkonen recorded his best result of the year in eighth place ahead of the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez, who was another driver to suffer a slow pitstop but was recovering towards the podium before the rain.

George Russell nicked another point for Williams, beating the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll who had late-race collisions with his team-mate Sebastian Vettel and the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was another to charge from the back of the grid but his race fell apart in the much the same way as Norris’ did. He was 15th at the flag.

Race Results

Pos Name Car Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 53 3 1h30m41.001s 1m37.575s 2 25
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 53 0 +53.271s 1m38.396s 2 18
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 53 12 +1m02.475s 1m39.294s 2 15
4 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 53 0 +1m05.607s 1m39.124s 2 12
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 53 0 +1m07.533s 1m38.216s 2 10
6 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 53 0 +1m21.321s 1m38.686s 2 8
7 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 53 30 +1m27.224s 1m37.423s 2 7
8 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 53 0 +1m28.955s 1m40.289s 2 4
9 Sergio Pérez Red Bull-Honda 53 8 +1m39.43s 1m39.215s 2 2
10 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 53 0 +1m45.077s 1m40.596s 2 1
11 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 53 0 +1m46.198s 1m40.464s 2 0
12 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 52 0 +1 lap 1m39.251s 2 0
13 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 52 0 +1 lap 1m38.279s 2 0
14 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 52 0 +1 lap 1m40.598s 2 0
15 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 52 0 +1 lap 1m38.994s 2 0
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 52 0 +1 lap 1m39.058s 2 0
17 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 52 0 +1 lap 1m39.96s 3 0
18 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 51 0 +2 laps 1m41.713s 2 0
Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 46 0 DNF 1m40s 2 0
Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 31 0 DNF 1m40.276s 2 0
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