Lewis Hamilton is now the equivalent of two race wins clear of Sebastian Vettel in the Formula 1 World Championship following his latest victory, in the Russian Grand Prix.
Celebrations at Mercedes-Benz were tempered, however, after the team opted to impose team orders so that Hamilton could swap positions with early race leader and team-mate Valtteri Bottas. The latter has no chance of winning the world championship this year but Hamilton has been locked in a season-long fight with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
After taking pole position Bottas looked imperious early on, and likely would have won had his team not intervened.
The bitter irony of Bottas being forced to give up the win was that the Mercedes team boss who gave the order, Toto Wolff, is also Bottas’ personal manager.
Vettel briefly got between the two Mercedes after the pitstops but soon lost out to Hamilton. In that duel, an irate Hamilton accused Vettel of illegally blocking him and driving dangerously, but race officials saw no need for any sanction.
Vettel’s Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was fourth ahead of Max Verstappen, who had charged through from the rear of the grid. Verstappen actually led more laps than any other driver, although that was a statistical anomaly due to the Red Bull driver running an alternate tyre strategy to the leaders.
Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, also a rear grid starter, likewise on account of having made critical component changes, was a less eventful sixth, Ricciardo having been hamstrung by damage sustained to his car during the opening lap charge.