Published: Fri, October 05, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Russian Grand Prix - Radio Ga Ga

Russian Grand Prix - Radio Ga Ga

A sheepish Lewis Hamilton increased his lead in this year's drivers' world championship to 50 points when he claimed an accomplished victory, aided by Mercedes team tactics, in Sunday's Russian Grand Prix.

Hamilton's closest rival Sebastian Vettel finished third for Ferrari with Bottas, who started from pole position and was told to let Hamilton through after 25 of the 53 laps, securing the Mercedes one-two.

The Briton, who extended his championship lead over rival Sebastian Vettel to 50 points by winning at Sochi, called it "a hard day" for him and the team.

"I wasn't a genius in maths, but I was clever enough to pay attention to make it up myself", he said when asked whether he could feel the championship slipping away after Hamilton led a Mercedes one-two in Russian Federation. "We did the right thing in calling Valtteri in first, that protected his position, but we were a lap too late with Lewis".

However, Hamilton's eighth win of the season and third in a row left the Silver Arrows red-faced and sparked fresh debate over team orders with many Formula One fans taking to social media to vent their anger.

Bottas questioned the decision on team radio afterwards but Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff defended the decision as "rational" even though his "sporting heart said no".

This was soon after Hamilton had managed get clear of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who had got the jump on him during the pitstops.

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Hamilton, with the victory, now leads Vettel by 50 points in the championship title race.

If Bottas had won that points gain for Hamilton would have only been three, and the lead would be 43. "I did ask Charlie if he could bring the DRS [activation point] even earlier, because that maybe would encourage overtaking", he said. Hamilton has now won eight races this season.

Bottas, who signed a one-year extension in July to stay with Mercedes next season, added: 'I am prepared to play for the team. And with four races to go that becomes a completely different situation.

"Rationally, it was the right call to do", he said.

There is now every chance of Hamilton wrapping up his fifth title with a race or two to spare. For sure they also think about me, think about Lewis, as a driver, as a person, but they need to make a call to get the best outcome of the weekend.

"I think we need to take a step back and after Sochi, fly back home and analyse what have we learnt from a day like today".

The Red Bull driver had excelled in the opening phase, moving up nine places from his position of 19th on the grid in a little more than two laps.

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