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Russian Grand Prix LIVE: Result and reaction as Lewis Hamilton wins 100th career race in Sochi

·23-min read
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Lando Norris started on pole for the first time in his F1 career and was largely in the lead through to lap 51 of 53 - but as the rain played havoc, he spun off the track allowing Lewis Hamilton to pass him and win in Sochi - the 100th race victory of his career.

With Max Verstappen starting at the back of the grid, the opportunity was there for Lewis Hamilton to close the gap at the top of the drivers’ championship, though he only started in fourth himself.

Norris and Carlos Sainz battled for the lead for a large part of the race as Hamilton dropped back initially, but after the weather change, a rush of tyre swaps left some spinning and others colliding, with Hamilton finally passing Norris just a couple of laps from the end.

Verstappen worked his way through to finish second, with Sainz completing the podium spots and Norris ending up back in seventh.

Follow the reaction from the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix in Sochi below:

Russian Grand Prix

  • Hamilton wins, Verstappen takes second after starting last

  • Hamilton’s 100th career win - first F1 driver to achieve milestone

  • Norris led until final few laps before spinning out in rain

  • Sainz earns podium finish, Norris ends seventh

Hamilton wins 100th race as Norris sees victory slip away in Sochi

14:55 , Karl Matchett

Lewis Hamilton won a dramatic rain-hit Russian Grand Prix after Lando Norris was denied his first victory following a thrilling finale.

Norris, 21, appeared on course to keep Hamilton at bay, and become the youngest British Formula One winner.

But the race turned on its head with just eight laps remaining when the rain arrived in Sochi.

Lewis Hamilton wins 100th race as Lando Norris sees victory slip away in Sochi

Sainz says tyre call crucial for podium

14:48 , Dan Austin

Carlos Sainz says he had problems with his tyres in the dry and was very pleased to see the rain come.

“Unfortunately graining came and we started to suffer a lot. The rain came at the best possible time. We boxed and made exactly right the call at the right time and made it back to third.”

Verstappen grateful for damage limitation

14:47 , Dan Austin

Max Verstappen is very happy with his result.

He told Sky Sports: “It was pretty tricky on the in-lap to make the call to go to inters. But we decided at the right time to pit. To come from last to second is very, very good. The race itself was not very easy because it was difficult to pass.

“Luckily with the rain it helped us to make that last jump. With the penalty we had, to only lose one spot really is not too bad. When I woke up this morning I definitely didn’t expect that result.”

Hamilton celebrates 100 victories and praises Norris

14:45 , Dan Austin

Lewis Hamilton has been talking to Damon Hill about his victory in Russia.

Hamilton said: “What a race [the weather] provided! It has taken a long time to get to 100. I wasn’t sure whether or not it would come. I wasn’t the happiest with the job I did yesterday. There were subtle mistakes. I came in so determined this morning. It was tough, I lost a lot of ground at the start trying to stay out of trouble.

“What a driver Lando is for McLaren. It was bittersweet to see my old team ahead, they’re doing fantastic.

“It would have been tough to get past Lando. He had great pace. Then the rain came and it was very opportunistic.”

Hamilton and Verstappen celebrate

14:41 , Dan Austin

Hamilton steps out of his Mercedes and takes the acclaim of his team as he revels in the honour of being the first Formula 1 driver to win 100 Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen also doles out the hugs to his team after a superb drive from 20th at the start up to second.

Full classification of results

14:39 , Dan Austin

1. HAM

2. VER

3. SAI

4. RIC

5. BOT

6. ALO

7. NOR

8. RAI

9. PER

10. RUS

11. STR

12. VET

13. GAS

14. OCO

15. LEC

16. GIO

17. TSU

18. MAZ

DNF. LAT

DNF. MSC

Tears in McLaren garage

14:36 , Dan Austin

There are tears on the faces of the staff in the McLaren garage after poor Lando Norris just couldn’t quite bring the win home.

He drove superbly all weekend and a mis-calculation on the track conditions has cost them victory.

Hamilton wins in Russia

14:35 , Dan Austin

WOW! What a scintillating Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton crosses the line to take the 100th victory of his career, ahead of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz.

Norris will take a penalty

14:34 , Dan Austin

LAP 53/53: Norris pits but makes a late call and crosses the white line, meaning he will no doubt be given a penalty. He’s currently eighth.

Verstappen up to second

14:32 , Dan Austin

LAP 51/53: Verstappen will take second as Norris stops for wet tyres.

It is absolute bedlam out there as the cars who tried to keep the dry tyres on desperately pit for wets.

Norris slides off track and Hamilton leads!

14:30 , Dan Austin

LAP 51/53:

Lando Norris can’t keep it on the track! Hamilton takes the lead.

Stroll and Gasly hit

14:29 , Dan Austin

LAP 51/53: Stroll has crashed again, this time spinning into Gasly.

They both carry on but Stroll is a mess out there.

Hamilton pits for intermediates

14:27 , Dan Austin

LAP 50/53: Lando Norris stays out but Hamilton is in for intermediates!

The gap is huge but more rain is due to come.

Stroll and Vettel touch

14:26 , Dan Austin

LAP 49/53: Sebastian Vettel is shoved into the wall by an absent-minded Lance Stroll and this is chaos now.

Verstappen and Ricciardo pit for intermediates.

Drivers stopping for intermediate tyres

14:25 , Dan Austin

LAP 48/53: Midfield runners like Bottas, Raikkonen and Giovinazzi are stopping for intermediate tyres!

Mercedes call in Hamilton but he stays out.

Perez on the podium

14:24 , Dan Austin

LAP 48/53: Sergio Perez slides past Carlos Sainz to take third place in the Red Bull.

Every driver is struggling badly now in the slippy conditions and Norris goes wide again!

Norris goes wide in the rain!

14:23 , Dan Austin

LAP 47/53: Norris slips on the kerb at turn six and runs wide but Hamilton can’t take advantage!

The gap is pretty much nothing now and this is going to be a thrilling finish.

Rain arrives!

14:22 , Dan Austin

LAP 46/53: Umbrellas are up in the stands and Norris reports “it is spitting quite a bit.”

Seven laps to go and the track is going to become pretty slippery now. Sainz tells Ferrari to “get ready with the inters.” Don’t go anywhere.

Perez finally dispatches Ricciardo

14:20 , Dan Austin

LAP 45/53: Not long left to go now and Perez has made it past Ricciardo.

That’s fourth place secured for the Mexican.

Perez scrapping with Ricciardo

14:14 , Dan Austin

LAP 41/53: Sergio Perez has been all over the gearbox of Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren for a couple of laps and looks strong in a straight line, but the Red Bull hasn’t had the downforce to make the move stick despite a couple of attempts around the outside of turn three.

This is a squabble for fourth place with Carlos Sainz comfortably ahead in third for now.

Norris still flying out front

14:12 , Dan Austin

LAP 40/53: Lando Norris sets the fastest lap of the race as he defends from Lewis Hamilton, and seems extremely calm despite the pressure of the situation.

If he can maintain this pace he still has a strong shot at winning the race, with the gap to Hamilton now 1.7s.

Rain possible before the end of the race

14:11 , Dan Austin

LAP 40/53: Charles Leclerc’s race engineer has warned him over the radio to expect light rain shortly before the end of the race.

It likely won’t arrive early enough to force a slew of spit-stops for intermediate tyres but it could well make for a slippery track come the final few laps.

Alonso passes Verstappen

14:10 , Dan Austin

LAP 38/53: Fernando Alonso is enjoying another excellent drive in the Alpine so far and on much fresher tyres he out-brakes Max Verstappen to re-take sixth position from the Dutchman.

Perez and Ricciardo are the next cars ahead of the 40-year-old.

Hamilton strong favourite for victory

14:08 , Dan Austin

LAP 38/53: Norris and Hamilton are now 20 seconds ahead of the rest of the field but the gap between the two is less than two seconds.

Hamilton in the faster car has fifteen laps to pick his moment, make the move, and take the win.

Perez pits from the lead and Norris leads

14:07 , Dan Austin

LAP 37/53: Sergio Perez’s chances of a victory are over after a terrible Red Bull pit stop lasting 8.9s leaves him in fifth place behind Sainz and Ricciardo.

Fernando Alonso pits too and that means Lando Norris is back in the lead.

Hamilton overtakes Leclerc on Norris hunt

14:04 , Dan Austin

LAP 36/53: Very shortly afterwards Hamilton makes use of DRS on the back straight to cut his way past Leclerc’s Ferrari, and the gap to Norris ahead now is only four seconds. The world champion will catch the youngster in the near future.

Leclerc pits and re-enters in 13th position.

Norris passes Leclerc for third

14:02 , Dan Austin

LAP 34/53: Lando Norris has caught up with the first driver who has yet to stop and overtaken him in the process.

The McLaren starts the fight on the brakes into turn two and keeps his composure through the sweeping turn three in order to out-traction the Ferrari and move back into the podium places.

Perez could win this race

14:00 , Dan Austin

LAP 33/53: Sergio Perez currently leads and the Grand Prix and is going long on the hard tyres he started the race with.

The Mexican will eventually come out after his pit-stop around six seconds behind Hamilton, on a faster compound of rubber, and could well cause the Mercedes big problems right at the end of the race.

Ricciardo and Verstappen pass Stroll

13:58 , Dan Austin

LAP 32/53: Lance Stroll made his pit-stop early in order to exploit the undercut but he’s being punished now on much older tyres than those around him.

Daniel Ricciardo hangs a move around the outside of turn three first of all before Max Verstappen uses DRS on the back straight to pass the Canadian comfortably.

Ricciardo is eighth, Verstappen ninth.

Hamilton makes overtakes and Wolff wants the win

13:56 , Dan Austin

LAP 30/53: On this evidence though Hamilton needs no help at all!

The Mercedes man passes Stroll, Sainz and Gasly in quick succession and is now eight seconds behind Norris and chasing the McLaren down.

“You can still win this race!” says Toto Wolff over the team radio.

Bottas nowhere and can’t help Hamilton

13:55 , Dan Austin

LAP 30/53: Valtteri Bottas is enduring a torrid race is nowhere near being able to help his team-mate out, here.

The Finn has just made his pit-stop and is down in a lowly 16th behind Antonio Giovinazzi.

Lando Norris pits from the lead

13:53 , Dan Austin

LAP 29/53: Lando Norris makes his stop and drops to fourth place behind Perez, Alonso and Leclerc, none of whom have stopped yet.

That’s a strong recovery from McLaren after a slow stop with Ricciardo earlier.

Verstappen passes Russell

13:52 , Dan Austin

LAP 28/53: Verstappen has made a very swift move on Russell to take 11th place, and now has Daniel Ricciardo in his sights.

The Dutchman can score very strong points here still.

Hamilton and Verstappen make pit stops

13:50 , Dan Austin

LAP 27/53: Lewis Hamilton is in and out quickly for a set of hard tyres in the Mercedes and re-joins in ninth place, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and behind Lance Stroll.

Max Verstappen’s stop for Red Bull is slightly slower and he comes back out behind George Russell in 12th.

Sainz won’t trouble Norris

13:46 , Dan Austin

LAP 25/53: Early leader Carlos Sainz is stuck in tenth place behind Valtteri Bottas, with the gap to Lando Norris in first place now 30s.

The average time a driver loses for a pit stop here is 24s so Norris is comfortably clear of the Ferrari.

Perez attacking Hamilton

13:44 , Dan Austin

LAP 24/53: “He’s lost his tow, come on” says Sergio Perez’s race engineer of Lewis Hamilton after Ricciardo’s stop.

Perez is just over a second behind and Hamilton could be vulnerable if the Mexican can make it into DRS range.

Ricciardo in the pits and loses time

13:43 , Dan Austin

LAP 23/53: Daniel Ricciardo pits from second place and it’s a dreadful stop!

The mechanics are very slow on one of the the Australian’s rear tyres and he will surely lose his place to Hamilton now. He comes back out in 14th.

Bottas still aiming high

13:38 , Dan Austin

LAP 20/53: Valtteri Bottas race engineer has been on the radio to say the Finn is “still looking at a top five finish.”

That seems optimistic right now, with Bottas tenth and yet to stop, but there’s a long way to go here and some of the cars who stopped earlier may have to switch to a two-stop strategy.

Alonso next up for Verstappen

13:36 , Dan Austin

LAP 18/53: The next car Verstappen will be trying to overtake is the Alpine of Fernando Alonso in fifth, who will put up a stronger fight than anybody else out there.

The Spaniard cost Hamilton victory at Hungary with great defensive driving and will try the same here, no doubt. The gap is 1.8s.

Verstappen hunting down Hamilton

13:32 , Dan Austin

LAP 16/53: Lewis Hamilton is currently third, stuck behind both McLarens, and Max Verstappen is hunting him down inside the top ten.

The Dutchman is up to sixth place, having overtaken plenty of cars who have already stopped, but most crucially the gap between the Red Bull and the Mercedes is only eight seconds.

Verstappen is in a strong position here, a second per lap quicker than Hamilton.

Sainz in the pits

13:29 , Dan Austin

LAP 15/53: Carlos Sainz is into the pits in order to cover off Lance Stroll and it’s a slow stop with a delay on the rear left tyre. Still, the Spaniard just about keeps the Aston Martin behind. The undercut is massively powerful here,

Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton are yet to pit and losing time to those who have.

Stroll undercuts Russell

13:28 , Dan Austin

LAP 14/53: George Russell pits for Williams and comes out behind Lance Stroll in the Aston Martin who has made the undercut work.

That’s Stroll up into a net third position once the rest of the cars ahead make their stops soon.

Norris takes the lead!

13:27 , Dan Austin

LAP 13/53: Lando Norris re-takes the lead!

The McLaren man has DRS and slipstream down the beack straight and dummies Sainz, moving from the inside to the outside to make the move.

Superb driving from the youngster.

Stroll makes first stop

13:26 , Dan Austin

LAP 13/53: Lance Stroll makes the first pit-stop of the front runners while attempting the undercut.

The Canadian was fourth and has found some clean air behind Bottas. Expect more pit-stops very shortly.

Norris complaining about tyres

13:25 , Dan Austin

LAP 13/53: Lando Norris has been on the radio to say his “front left is completely gone” and he is dropping back from Carlos Sainz now.

He’s out of DRS range from the Ferrari.

Verstappen passes Leclerc

13:22 , Dan Austin

LAP 11/53: Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc are squabbling but that battle allows Verstappen to join the fray.

The Dutchman makes slight contact with the Ferrari but his front-wing isn’t damaged and he makes the overtake around the next corner.

Norris closing in

13:21 , Dan Austin

LAP 10/53: Sainz appears to be trying to manage his tyres and that has allowed Norris to close in on the Ferrari.

The Brit is now only 0.8s behind the Spaniard and within DRS change. This could get tasty soon between the former team-mates.

Verstappen making moves

13:20 , Dan Austin

LAP 9/53: Max Verstappen has overtaken Valtteri Bottas in a crucial move.

The Dutchman has followed that up swiftly with a pass on Pierre Gasly and is now in 13th with Charles Leclerc ahead.

Bottas remains 15th.

Sainz building strong lead

13:17 , Dan Austin

LAP 7/53: Carlos Sainz has built up a gap of almost two seconds ahead of Lando Norris, while George Russell is helping the Ferrari driver out enormously too.

The Williams car is heading a DRS train in front of Lance Stroll, Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton and Sergio and Perez, which is stopping the faster cars from making in-roads into Sainz’s lead.

Verstappen challenging Bottas

13:13 , Dan Austin

LAP 4/53: Max Verstappen has already caught up to Valterri Bottas in 15th place and the Dutchman is all over the Mercedes’ gearbox.

No sign of rain coming for now so Verstappen needs to make this move quickly if he can, but Bottas has just set the fastest lap of the race.

Sainz takes lead despite poor start

13:10 , Dan Austin

LAP 3/53: It was actually a slow start from Carlos Sainz who was briefly overtaken by George Russell, but the powerful slipstream from the back of Lando Norris’ McLaren helped push the Spaniard through.

He locked up into turn two but made the move stick. Great driving.

Hamilton overtakes Alonso

13:09 , Dan Austin

LAP 2/53: Just as I type that, Hamilton hangs a long move around the outside of turn three and overtakes Alonso who is on the slower hard tyre.

This is properly frenetic already. Sainz leads, with Norris second and Russell third.

Hamilton down to seventh

13:08 , Dan Austin

LAP 1/53: This is a superb opening lap!

Lance Stroll has made it up to fourth and that means Lewis Hamilton is down to seventh!

The championship contender has endured a dreadful start and needs to recover very quickly here. Fernando Alonso is immediately in front of him.

LIGHTS OUT! Sainz takes the lead!

13:07 , Dan Austin

LAP 1/53: Lights out and the race is underway!

Sainz takes the lead from Norris into turn two while Hamilton has been shuffled down to seventh place after losing places to Alonso and Ricciardo!

Top five on medium tyres

13:05 , Dan Austin

The top five starters will all be using the medium tyres, with Fernando Alonso in sixth on the hards.

That strategy choice from the Alpine team could bring Alonso into play later in the race when he will be able to use faster rubber than those around him.

Norris warned on rain

13:04 , Dan Austin

Pole-sitter Lando Norris has been warned by his McLaren engineer that rain is coming between five and fifteen minutes after the start of the race.

It is expected to be “light”, though, so no guarantee that it requires wet or intermediate tyres.

Threat of rain remains says Toto Wolff

12:58 , Dan Austin

Toto Wolff has been speaking about the weather on Sky Sports and says he was expecting rain to arrive “ten minutes ago,” but the fact it has yet to appear means it could pour during the race itself.

The drivers will be starting on dry tyres but there is a significant chance that the race turns wet at some stage, making this an extremely difficult race to predict.

Throw in the mixed-up grid order and we could be in for a belter, here. Just a few minutes now until lights out.

Norris talks excitement of starting on pole and win chances

12:51 , Dan Austin

Lando Norris has been telling Sky Sports about his emotions as he starts on pole position for the first time in his Formula 1 career, but isn’t expecting to win the race this afternoon.

“I’m excited. It’s a long run down to turn two so there’s a lot of guys who I’ll be watching for in my mirrors”, the 21-year-old said.

“We have a chance [of winning]. We want a good result, whether that’s first, second or third. I’m racing everyone today unless they pass me are convincingly quicker, which I expect Lewis to be and maybe Bottas and Verstappen towards the end of the race.”

Russell talks up Williams chances

12:45 , Dan Austin

George Russell has been discussing his plans for the start of the Grand Prix and is confident he won’t be a sitting duck with Hamilton in behind.

“We’ve got a slippery car on the straights which will help us into the first real corner. We haven’t got the fastest car but we’re the fastest on the straights. If there’s an opportunity we’re going for it. There’s no reason we can’t defend our position well.

“The others will probably be able to pass us in the pit stops no matter what so we’ll see what happens.”

Horner responds to Mercedes tactical demotion of Bottas

12:43 , Dan Austin

Horner has also been talking to Sky Sports about his team’s response to Mercedes demoting Valterri Bottas down the grid in order to block Verstappen’s progress.

“We’re not privy to all their info. You can read many different aspects into that.

To get ahead we’re going to have to pass [Bottas] at some point. It doesn’t change our start position, so we’ll just get our head down and get on with it. It moves Checo onto the dirty said of the grid. There’s a threat of a bit of a rain as well, it’s all going on!”

Horner says Hamilton is favourite to win from fourth

12:41 , Dan Austin

Red Bull team principal has been discussing his driver’s chances this afternoon, and believes Mercedes are still favourites to win the race with Lewis Hamilton despite him starting in fourth place.

“We can’t control what Mercedes are doing. We’re going to attack this race and see where we come out”, he told Sky Sports.

“Any variable [rain] when you’re starting at the back is useful. If Max can get into the top five from where he is, we’d take that. Lewis has got to be favourite for today.”

Hamilton must break tough record to win

12:30 , Dan Austin

Lewis Hamilton hasn’t won having started in fourth place since Hungary back in 2009 in just his third season in Formula 1, but that is what the seven-time world champion must do if he is to take maximum points at Sochi.

The Mercedes man is five points behind Max Verstappen in the Drivers Championship and with slower cars in front of him here, will be looking to make moves as soon as the lights go out.

It is almost a kilometre between the start line and the first ‘real’ turn of the circuit, and Hamilton will have at least Russell in his sights by then.

Russell continues sensational qualifying streak

12:24 , Dan Austin

George Russell has outqualified both Hamilton and Bottas twice in the past three races despite his vastly inferior machinery, ahead of his transfer to the Merc squad in time for the 2022 campaign.

The Kings Lynn-native secured second place in the wet in Belgium and mastered the damp conditions once again yesterday afternoon in Russia to start in third place today.

Norris rightly took the Saturday headlines but Russell is the real deal too, and both drivers are capable of fighting for championships in the near future.

Bottas demoted by Mercedes in tactical Verstappen plan

12:19 , Dan Austin

The reason that Bottas starts in lowly 16th is that Mercedes have made a cunning tactical move in order to try and block Verstappen’s match forward.

The Finn qualified in seventh place originally but Toto Wolff explained yesterday evening that changing engine components and accepting the resulting penalty would allow Bottas to impede Verstappen’s progress and theoretically give Hamilton a bigger advantage.

Bottas has always been Hamilton’s rear gunner in his five years with the team but this is perhaps the most flagrant strategic move he has been instructed to undertake.

Fast cars starting from the back of the grid

12:14 , Dan Austin

Max Verstappen starts dead last this afternoon after Red Bull decided to change various engine components in the Dutchman’s car prior to the weekend, resulting in a grid penalty.

The 23-year-old currently leads the championship but will have to make significant in-roads if he is to limit the damage Lewis Hamilton is able to do to his five-point margin, with the Mercedes man starting fifth.

Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari and Hamilton’s team-mate Bottas are also starting from 19th and 16th respectively after changing engines themselves, meaning we have plenty of fast cars starting at the rear, which should mean plenty of overtaking right from the get-go. Lovely.

Norris faces big challenge into turn one and two

12:09 , Dan Austin

21-year-old Lando Norris is on pole for the first time in his Formula 1 career in Sochi this afternoon, but said afterwards that Russia is probably the worst circuit on the calendar to start from the front of the grid.

The run through turn one and down to the heavy braking zone of turn two is so long that pole-sitters here often struggle to maintain the lead because of the slipstream effect that drivers behind are able to take advantage of.

With former McLaren team-mate and Ferrari man Carlos Sainz starting alongside him on the front, Norris will need a lightening start to hold onto first place.

Russian Grand Prix live - all the action and updates from F1 in Sochi

10:41 , Karl Matchett

Welcome to the Independent’s coverage of the Russian Grand Prix, round 15 of the 2021 season as Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton will look to make the most of an opportunity to catch the drivers’ championship standings leader Max Verstappen. He starts at the back of the grid after being handed a place penalty, while four-time Sochi winner Hamilton will be in fourth from the start. Lando Norris secured pole position for the first time in his career in qualifying, while last year it was Valtteri Bottas who emerged triumphant - he’s on row four to start on Sunday.

Five points separate Hamilton and Verstappen ahead of the race, with the Red Bull driver saying he was “very relaxed” ahead of Sunday’s event, in contrast to all the heated emotions and comments last time out as the pair crashed out in Monza. Follow all the updates and live action from Sochi right here, with lights out at 1pm BST.

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