Mercedes capitalizes on Ferrari’s bad luck at Formula One Russian Grand Prix

Mercedes-AMG has continued its unbeaten winning streak at the Formula One Russian Grand Prix with a one-two finish headed by Lewis Hamilton at this year’s running held Sunday.

Teammate Valtteri Bottas crossed the line 3.8 seconds back followed by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc 5.2 seconds behind the winner.

Leclerc started the race on pole and was immediately joined at the front by teammate Sebastian Vettel who started in the second row. By the first corner, Vettel with the aid of Leclerc’s unblocked slipstream was able to move into the lead spot.

On lap six, Vettel refused team orders to give the lead position back to Leclerc. The race then continued with Leclerc pitting for fresh tires on lap 22 and Vettel requesting his own stop on lap 24. Vettel rejoined the race behind Leclerc and then disaster struck.

Ferrari at the 2019 Formula One Russian Grand Prix

Ferrari at the 2019 Formula One Russian Grand Prix

On lap 28, a problem with Vettel’s power unit saw him come to a stop (and eventually retire). The race director called the virtual safety car, which gave those who had not yet changed tires, including the Mercedes drivers, an opportunity to pit without the time penalty. This left Hamilton leading from Leclerc and Bottas.

At this point, Ferrari took a gamble by calling in Leclerc for fresh tires, even though it would mean the Monegasque driver would emerge from the pits in third instead of second. Over the final third of the race, Leclerc tried to attack Hamilton and Bottas, but the performance levels of the cars were so similar that, even with DRS, Leclerc was unable to try an overtaking move, thus crossing the line third.

Hamilton’s lead in the 2019 Drivers’ Championship now grows to 322 points. Bottas is second with 249 points and Leclerc is third with 215 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads with 571 points versus the 409 of Ferrari and 311 of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. The next race on the calendar is the Japanese Grand Prix in a fortnight.

In other F1 news, McLaren on Saturday announced that it will run Mercedes power units from the 2021 season to at least the 2024 season. The agreement will bring McLaren and Mercedes together as customer team and power unit supplier for the first time since 2014. McLaren changed to Honda power units in 2015 and to Renault power units in 2018.

2019 Formula One Russian Grand Prix

2019 Formula One Russian Grand Prix

Below are the full results from the 2019 Formula One Russian Grand Prix:

1) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG
2) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG +3.829 seconds
3) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari +5.212 seconds
4) Max Verstappen, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing +14.210 seconds
5) Alexander Albon, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing +38.348 seconds
6) Carlos Sainz, McLaren +45.889 seconds
7) Sergio Perez, Racing Point +48.728 seconds
8) Lando Norris, McLaren +57.749 seconds
9) Kevin Magnussen, Haas +58.779 seconds
10) Nico Hulkenberg, Renault +59.841 seconds
11) Lance Stroll, Racing Point +60.821 seconds
12) Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso +62.496 seconds
13) Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo +68.910 seconds
14) Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso +70.076 seconds
15) Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo +73.346 seconds
Ret) Robert Kubica, Williams
Ret) George Russell, Williams
Ret) Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
Ret) Daniel Ricciardo, Renault
Ret) Romain Grosjean, Haas

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