Bottas capitalises after Hamilton penalty

Bottas finishes ahead of Max Verstappen at Russian Grand Prix

2020 Russian Grand Prix, Saturday - Wolfgang Wilhelm

Valtteri Bottas has taken his second win of the 2020 Formula 1 season, benefitting after teammate Lewis Hamilton was handed a time penalty at the Russian Grand Prix.

The Finn crossed the line ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, while Hamilton recovered to claim the final place on the podium at Sochi.

Hamilton started the race under investigation after doing a practice start in the wrong place on his way to the grid, resulting in two separate five-second time penalties from the stewards.

There was drama from the start as Bottas tried to pass his teammate around the outside of turn one, while Verstappen came under pressure from Daniel Ricciardo.

Verstappen took to the escape road after running wide, as did Carlos Sainz, but the McLaren driver misjudged the route around the bollards, clipping the wall and ripping a wheel off his car.

Lance Stroll was also out on the opening lap as he appeared to get tagged from behind, turning the Racing Point around and sending him backwards into the wall, resulting in an early stint for the safety car.

Sainz’s crash also caused issues for his teammate, as Lando Norris had to take evasive action to avoid collided with the Spaniard, and run over some of the debris, dropping him to the back of the field.

Ricciardo was passed by Esteban Ocon in the sister Renault before Sergio Perez also got the better of the Australian, forcing him to be the first of the front runners to come in for fresh tyres.

Mercedes brought Hamilton in from the front of the back on the following lap, serving his 10-second time penalty in the process, but he was able to rejoin the track just ahead of Ricciardo.

Ricciardo picked up a five-second time penalty of his own midway through the race when he ran wide and failed to take the mandatory route around the bollards back to the track.

Ocon got stuck behind Sebastian Vettel after pitting, which cost him a place to Vettel’s teammate Charles Leclerc as the Monegasque driver pitted later in the race, coming out in front of the Frenchman.

After the pitstops, Hamilton had climbed back up into third, but his penalties left him too far adrift of Verstappen and Bottas.

Both Haas cars were in a strong position going into the final 15 laps, sitting 11th and 12th respectively, but Alexander Albon powered past Romain Grosjean before the Frenchman missed his braking point, forcing him to use the runoff area.

Grosjean also tangled with Vettel a couple of laps later, banging wheels with the Ferrari before having to the take to the escape road again, dropping him down to 15th.

The Haas driver smashed the bollards in the process, resulting in a brief virtual safety car while the marshals replaced the markers. AlphaTauri appeared to have misjudged the VSC though, bringing Pierre Gasly in for a pitstop from ninth place, dropping him out of the points positions. The Italian Grand Prix winner responded quickly on fresh tyres though, overtaking Albon to move back into the top 10 before chasing down Norris for ninth.

Norris came under pressure again from Albon on the following lap as the Briton struggled on tyres changed under the safety car at the start of the race, and the Red Bull driver regained the final spot in the points.

Albon was handed a time penalty late on, but he had a big enough gap over Antonio Giovinazzi behind that it didn’t cost him a place.

Norris, George Russell and Gasly all pushed hard to take the fastest lap after taking late pitstops, but Bottas had plenty left on his tyres to set the best time of the race, taking the extra point for doing so.

Provisional classification:

1 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)

2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

4. Sergio Perez (Racing Point)

5. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)

6. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

7. Esteban Ocon (Renault)

8. Daniil Kvyat (AlphaTauri)

9. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)

10. Alexander Albon (Red Bull)

11. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)

12. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

13. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

14. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)

15. Lando Norris (McLaren)

16. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)

17. Romain Grosjean (Haas)

18. George Russell (Williams)


Lance Stroll (Racing Point)

Carlos Sainz (McLaren)

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