Nico Rosberg took a lights-to-flag victory in the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday, beating Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to extend his advantage in the drivers championship.
Rosberg looked unthreatened until Hamilton started piling pressure over the German in the second half of the race, gaining as much as a second per lap. However, just when the gap dropped down to seven seconds, Hamilton’s Mercedes developed a water pressure issue, forcing the Brit to drop back and accept second.
The 31-year-old had jumped to fifth on the opening lap before dislodging Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas to move up to second.
Behind the Mercedes runners, Raikkonen finished a distant third on what a mixed day for Ferrari. While the Finn was able to collect a podium result, Sebastian Vettel retired on the opening lap after being hit twice by Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat.
Kvyat was handed a hefty 10 seconds stop-go penalty for the incident which also damaged teammate Daniel Ricciardo’s car, forcing an early pitstop for the Australian.
Meanwhile, Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa finished in fourth and fifth places respectively for Williams, confirming the pace shown by the Grove-based team in practice.
Behind, Fernando Alonso secured McLaren’s best result of the season in sixth place, with Kevin Magnussen scoring Renault’s first points since their F1 return in form of seventh.
Haas’ Romain Grosjean returned to points after a difficult weekend in China, fending off Sergio Perez’s Force India to add four more points to an already impressive tally.
Perez, who scored a podium at the same venue last year, had suffered a puncture in the first lap carnage which also caught out Nico Hulkenberg, the German retiring from the race immediately.
Jenson Button rounded off the top-10 to secure a double-points finish for McLaren.
by Rachit Thukral