Lewis Hamilton dominated the Russian Grand Prix, snatching the lead from teammate Nico Rosberg early on. Hamilton is now within touching distance of securing a third world title.

Rosberg qualified on pole after Hamilton made a number of small mistakes. The German got the better start as well, fending off attacks from Hamilton on the first lap until the safety car was thrown in response to a crash Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson.

It took another two for Hamilton to take the lead, when Rosberg ran wide at Turn Two. We was already suffering with throttle issues and retired soon after. That left Hamilton to scamper off into the distance and secure his ninth win of the season.

Sebastian Vettel had a quiet drive to seventh, crucially overtaking fellow countryman Rosberg in the championship standings. Even so, with a 66-point deficit, it will be a tall order for Vettel to secure a fifth F1 crown. Hamilton can clinch the title next time out at the US GP, if he scores nine points more than Vettel and two more than Rosberg.

Sergio Perez took the final step of the podium in a dramatic finish. He switched to a one-stop strategy after the safety car came out again on lap 13 when Romain Grosjean threw his Lotus into the barriers at high speed.

In the closing stages, Perez found of the Williams of Valtterti Bottas and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen bearing down on him, having fought past Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo. Running on fresher rubber, the Finnish pair dove by Perez on the penultimate lap. Raikkonen then lined up a move on Bottas on the final tour, but clattered into his compatriot’s car, forcing Bottas to retire. Raikkonen limped home to finish fifth, but was handed a 30-second penalty after the race which dropped him to eighth.

That, in turn, gave Mercedes enough of an advantage to secure the Manufacturers’ title.

Felipe Massa cut a path through the drama ahead to finish fourth, ahead of Daniil Kvyat once Raikkonen’s penalty had been applied. Felipe Nasr was a fine sixth for Sauber, while Pastor Maldonado crossed the line seventh.

Jenson Button took a couple of much needed points for McLaren, finishing ninth and Max Verstappen was promoted to tenth once Fernando Alonso had been given a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits.

The next race is the US Grand Prix of Circuit of The Americas in Texas on 25 October.

Russian GP results after 53 laps

  1. Lewis Hamilton — Mercedes — 1:37:11.024
  2. Sebastian Vettel — Ferrari — +5.953
  3. Sergio Perez — Force India-Mercedes — +28.918
  4. Felipe Massa — Williams-Mercedes — +38.831
  5. Daniil Kvyat — Red Bull-Renault — +47.566
  6. Felipe Nasr — Sauber-Ferrari — +56.508
  7. Pastor Maldonado — Lotus-Mercedes — +1:01.088
  8. Kimi Raikkonen — Ferrari — +1:12.358 (30sec penalty)
  9. Jenson Button — McLaren-Honda — +1:19.467
  10. Max Verstappen — Toro Rosso-Renault — +1:28.424
  11. Fernando Alonso — McLaren-Honda — 1:31.210 (5sec penalty)
  12. Valtteri Bottas — Williams-Mercedes — DNF-classified (crash)
  13. Roberto Merhi — Marussia-Ferrari — +1 lap
  14. Will Stevens — Marussia-Ferrari — +2 laps
  15. Daniel Ricciardo — Red Bull-Renault — DNF-classified (suspension)
  16. Carlos Sainz Jr. — Toro Rosso-Renault — DNF (brakes)
  17. Romain Grosjean — Lotus-Mercedes — DNF (crash)
  18. Nico Rosberg — Mercedes — DNF (throttle)
  19. Nico Hulkenberg — Force India-Mercedes — DNF (crash)
  20. Marcus Ericsson — Sauber-Ferrari — DNF (crash)

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By Only Motors