Valtteri Bottas benefitted from a 10 second time penalty for Lewis Hamilton to win the 2020 Russian Grand Prix from Max Verstappen.
Hamilton made a clean getaway and survived an early safety car after separate crashes for Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll, only to receive individual five second time penalties for practice start infringements pre-race.
Mercedes consequently hauled Hamilton in at end of lap 16 to serve his 10s time penalty before switching to hard tyres, which gifted Bottas victory as the Finnish driver controlled the race from that point to victory.
Verstappen also benefitted from Hamilton’s extended pit stop to finish in second ahead of the Brit, with Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo rounding out the top five, ahead of Charles Leclerc, Esteban Ocon, Daniil Kvyat, Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon.
Hamilton continues to lead the drivers’ standings as Bottas cuts his championship deficit to 44 points with seven rounds left, with Verstappen a further 36 points behind Bottas in third.
In terms of the constructor battle, Mercedes now leads Red Bull by 174 points whilst McLaren remain third despite failing to score points, although Racing Point closed their deficit to just two points with Renault just a further five points behind in fifth.
Pole-sitter, Hamilton made a clean start to lead from Bottas who leapfrogged Verstappen into second, as the Red Bull driver plus Perez got bogged down as been case for those starting on dirty side of grid, as F2 drivers demonstrated in both races this weekend.
Further back, Sainz ran wide and went through the bollards only to clip the outside wall and destroy his front left tyre as he retired on the spot.
Leclerc meanwhile clipped Stroll’s right rear tyre through Turn Four to send the Canadian spinning into the inside barrier, which triggered a four lap Safety Car period.
Once racing resumed, Hamilton comfortably led from Bottas, Verstappen, Ocon and Ricciardo whilst Kvyat passed Romain Grosjean on lap eight with a late move into Turn 13.
At the back, Albon found himself battling Norris and Russell after the trio of 2019 graduates opted for early stops at end of the opening lap, which Albon ultimately edged with moves on Norris then Russell on laps 11 and 12.
Up front, Perez outdragged Ricciardo up inside of Turn Three for fifth on lap 15 at the scene which saw the F2 sprint race abandoned this morning, after a huge crash involving Jack Aitken and Luca Ghiotto on lap seven.
Hamilton meanwhile was in control of the race until Mercedes pitted him at end of lap 16 to serve a 10s time penalty ahead of his tyre change, dropping him down to 11th position.
Several drivers soon after began to pit which allowed Hamilton to rise back up the order with help of an overtake on Sebastian Vettel into Turn Two on lap 20.
Vettel set about holding up various drivers with Renault forced to switch Ricciardo and Ocon around at Turn Two on lap 25, despite the Aussie running wide and incurring a 5s time penalty for failing to return via bollards.
Verstappen pitted at end of that lap but failed to overhaul Bottas for the lead after Bottas pitted a lap later to cover the risk of an undercut, instead having to pass Kvyat for third on lap 27 through Turn Three whilst Ocon got past Vettel for seventh on same lap.
Leclerc had worked his way up from tenth to second on medium tyre strategy which paid dividends as he pitted at end of lap 28 and rejoined in between Ricciardo and Ocon.
Albon meanwhile struggled to make much progress and switched to medium tyres on lap 27, which rewarded him as he fought his way through the field in the closing stages to finish tenth.
Norris however denied Albon a shot at ninth after squeezing the Thai driver on lap 46, which allowed Gasly to get past Albon then Norris himself two laps later for ninth.
Albon however found his way past Norris at Turn 13 on that very lap after the Brit locked up at Turn 13 and was forced to consequently pit, dropping him down to a 15th placed finish.
Bottas meanwhile controlled the pace to clinch his ninth F1 victory despite Verstappen closing down the gap in the final laps, eventually falling 7.729s shy of the Mercedes driver.
2020 Russian Grand Prix Result
|1||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||53||1h …..m …..|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||53||+ 7.729|
|3||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||53||+ 22.729|
|4||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||53||+ 30.558|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||53||+ 52.065|
|6||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||53||+ 62.186|
|7||Esteban Ocon||Renault||53||+ 68.006|
|8||Daniil Kvyat||Alpha Tauri||53||+ 68.740|
|9||Pierre Gasly||Alpha Tauri||53||+ 89.766|
|10||Alex Albon||Red Bull||53||+ 97.860|
|11||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||52||+ 1 Lap|
|12||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||52||+ 1 Lap|
|13||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||52||+ 1 Lap|
|14||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||52||+ 1 Lap|
|15||Lando Norris||McLaren||52||+ 1 Lap|
|16||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||52||+ 1 Lap|
|17||Romain Grosjean||Haas||52||+ 1 Lap|
|18||George Russell||Williams||52||+ 1 Lap|
|19||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||0||Spin|