It wasn’t the most glamorous or thrilling race but was rich with some lovely moments of team order along with some twists and turns to keep us interested and finally Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton came out victorious with the aid of team orders.
Valtteri Bottas who is Hamilton’s team-mate moved aside to let him win and surge 50 points clear in the Formula One championship on Sunday with five more races remaining. It was indeed a landmark victory for Hamilton who is on his way for the fifth title and 70th win. He is closing in with the all-time record of 91 held by the legend Michael Schumacher with 70 to himself and 21 wins more to go.
Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton’s closest rival finished third for Ferrari in the race. Hamilton who was explicit in the past for his disapproval for employing team orders was quite uncomfortable with their use in Russia after he took the flag in front of Bottas.
“It is definitely the win in the list of my wins that I am least proud of,” explained Briton,”He was a real gentleman to let me by. Usually, I’d be elated but I can understand how difficult it was for Valtteri.”
The Briton, who pulled off an impressive overtake on Vettel for fourth, stayed inside the car for some time after his victorious finish and then went out to thank Bottas and commiserate. The reluctant winner invited his team-mate Bottas to join him on the top step of the podium along with the Russian President Vladimir Putin who arrived for the concluding laps of the race.
Aware of Ferrari’s strong challenge this time Mercedes was not willing to leave anything for chance resulting in the distasteful specter of team orders.
Another twist with the dramatic flair in the race was displayed by Max Verstappen who celebrated his 21st birthday in style by steering his Red Bull from the nineteenth to first and then again to fifth.
Hamilton has now 8 wins to his account for this season and Mercedes remain unbeatable in Russia.