MOSCOW, September 26. /TASS/. Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain won on Sunday the 2021 FIA F1 Russia Grand Prix in Sochi, inking his 100th career record win in the history of the world’s most prestigious auto racing series.
Seven-time world F1 champion Hamilton, started the 15th Grand Prix of the 2021 FIA World Championship in Sochi in the 4th place on the starting grid to eventually win the race. Dutch racer Max Verstappen from Team Red Bull finished the race in Russia in the 2nd place and Team Ferrari’s pilot Carlos Sainz of Spain took the third step of the podium following the rain-affected rush at the racing track.
Heavy rains engulfed Sochi on Tuesday but they ceded on Thursday, when F1 teams were being accommodated at the track. Weather forecasters predicted more heavy rains for the upcoming weekend.
However, weather predictions, showed a partly cloudy weather with temperatures hovering at about 17 degrees Centigrade (62.6 degrees Fahrenheit) for Sunday with a 70-percent chance of rains. The rains showered at the dawn of the race today.
The 2021 FIA F1 Russia Grand Prix started with the dry track conditions and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz managed to beat pole-sitter Lando Norris from Team McLaren during the first lap of the race. However, following a number of pit-stops, Norris regained his top spot and held it until the rain began showering with only five laps to go over the racing track in Sochi.
With five laps of the race to go, Hamilton ventured for his team’s pit stop to change the tires of his car, while Norris decided to stay on the track using the previous compound of the tires. But Hamilton’s closest rival in the 2021 World Championship, Max Verstappen, did the same some laps before and ended the race in 2nd-place after his bottom-of-the-grid start.
Seven-time F1 World Champion Hamilton was in hunt for his 100th career win in Formula 1 at the track in Sochi this Sunday, because he failed to do so in the last four of the previous 14 races this year. Today, Hamilton had achieved the previously set milestone.
Verstappen started the Russian Grand Prix from the bottom of the starting grid, because of a penalty imposed following an engine change in his car before the race. The Dutch racer was also penalized earlier to start three places down the starting grid in Russia for his collision two weeks ago at the Grand Prix in Italy.
The British racer was second before this weekend in the 2021 F1 World Championship’s Driver Standings with 221.5 points following Dutch racer Max Verstappen from Team Red Bull with 226.5 points in the top spot before this race. However, following his win in Russia today, Hamilton is now in the top spot of the 2021 FIA F1 World Championship Driver Standings boasting 246.5 points against his closest contender Verstappen with 244.5 points.
Team Mercedes have won all of the Russian Grands Prix since the introduction of Sochi Autodrom, which was designed by prominent Hermann Tilke. The racing track in Russia’s south hosted its maiden F1 race in 2014. Hamilton has now won five races, his Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas stepped on the top step of the podium twice and another victory went to former Team Mercedes racer Nico Rosberg of Germany.
This racing weekend at the Sochi Autodrom track was also a maiden home race for Russia’s Nikita Mazepin from Team HAAS, and his car is painted in the colors of the Russian flag. Mazepin finished in the bottom spot of the race, while his teammate Mick Schumacher decided to make a final pit-stop with several laps remaining before the checkered flag as he reported a technical failure in his car.
F1 Russia GP in Sochi
Sochi Autodrom track is the only racing circuit in Russia hosting a FIA Formula One Grand Prix. Located in Olympic Park, which hosted the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, the 5,848-meter long racing circuit in the Black Sea coastal area has already successfully hosted seven F1 Grand Prix races.
In late 2014, the Sochi Autodrom was awarded the trophy of Formula One’s best racing track of the year. The Race Promoters' Trophy is a rotating award, engraved with the names of other top F1 tracks dating from 1975.
The contract to include Russia in the calendar of F1 racing for the 2014-2020 period was signed in 2010 in Sochi by then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and former Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone. In early 2017, the contract to hold the F1 Russia Grand Prix was extended until 2025.
However, the F1 press office announced in June this year that the Igora Drive racing track near St. Petersburg would be hosting the Russian stage of Formula One races starting from 2023.