Hamilton benefits from team orders to win Russian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton leads Sebastian Vettel by 50 points with five races remaining after winning the Russian Grand Prix for a third time.

Race winner Lewis Hamilton celebrates with second placed Valtteri Bottas in Sochi on Sunday.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Lewis Hamilton benefited from team orders to win the Russian Grand Prix ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas and extend his lead in the battle for the Formula One world title.

Mercedes have now won five out of five races at Sochi Autodrom, continuing their dominance with a one-two on Sunday as Hamilton claimed a third win in a row to take a 50-point advantage over Sebastian Vettel, who took third spot.

Bottas started on pole ahead of Hamilton but was told to move aside and allow his team-mate through into second place on lap 25 of 53.


Max Verstappen led at that point after hitting the front on lap 19, having started way back in 19th on his 21st birthday due to engine penalties both he and Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo incurred.

Verstappen finally pitted with 10 circuits to go, Hamilton taking the lead on soft tyres and keeping it by 2.545 seconds, with Vettel almost five back in third, to enhance his chances of claiming a fifth world title with five races to go.

Hamilton was not impressed when Vettel passed him after the world champion emerged from the pit lane side by side with his title rival on lap 14.

The Brit overtook Vettel with a move into Turn 4 two laps later after he had been irked when Vettel defended his position at Turn 2, an incident which the stewards looked into to but decided to take no action.

Vettel's Ferrari colleague Kimi Raikkonen was fourth ahead of Verstappen, outstanding on his birthday, and Ricciardo finished sixth.

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