Lewis Hamilton capitalized on team mate Nico Rosberg's retirement to win the Russian Grand Prix and strengthen his lead at the top of the Formula One Driver's standings.
The Mercedes driver inherited the lead from his stricken team mate and led until the finish. However the plaudits were all reserved for Sergio Perez, the Force India driver fought hard to grab third place for his team.
Rosberg was on pole position following his strong qualifying performance and led from the start, Hamilton put him under constant pressure but he held off the Brit well.
Chaos ensued at the back of the grid as Nico Hulkenberg span at turn one, all managed to avoid him until Sauber's Marcus Ericsson, who collided with the German sending the safety car out.
Bad Luck Continues For Nico
Rosberg's poor luck continued within the first ten laps as the throttle pedal on his W06 was faulty, meaning he had to pull into the pits and retire. This meant Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari now sits second in the drivers standings after he finished second with a relatively quiet performance from the German.
Hamilton is now 66 points ahead of Vettel, and a win in Austin in two weeks time may be enough to seal a third title following his ninth win of the season in Sochi.
The forgone conclusion that is the Constructor's Championship will have to wait until Austin as due to Rosberg's retirement and Ferrari's double points finish, the Silver Arrows couldn't get the three point gap they needed for a second straight title.
Podium Fight Livens Up Late Stages
Kimi Raikkonen was in the action in the closing stages as the fight for the podium intnesified. Perez, Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas of Williams were the three protagonists as Perez's waning tyres meant the latter pair could close in on the Mexican.
Bottas and Raikkonen managed to sweep through past Perez with ease but as Bottas was running away for the podium, Raikkonen dove down the inside of his fellow Finn and Bottas collided into him, putting his FW37 in the barrier.
The man who was in enough contact with barriers this weekend was Carlos Sainz. The Toro Rosso man had a hefty shunt in FP3 and had to be cleared to race by medics. He was allowed and started at the back, but following a front left brake failure, the Spaniard span and backed into the barrier.
Romain Grosjean will be hoping his Lotus tenure ends a little easier than today as he crashed out heavily early on in the race. Following McLaren's Jenson Button into turn three, the Frenchman lost control of his E23 as he tried to correct his car and hit the barrier, causing lots of dmaage and bringing out another safety car.
The questonable call by marshals to use duct tape to fic the barrier caused a lot of debate on social media, as it didn't seem safe enough in the event of another crash at the same spot.
Button and team mate Fernando Alonso managed to both get in the points, this comes after a poor showing in their home race in Japan last time out. The race which was infamous for Alonso's outburst about his Honda engine was followed up by tenth place on his 250th start in Formula One.
But with Hamilton on the brink of emulating hero Ayrton Senna and winning his third world title, no one looks able to stop him as Rosberg falters. However the driver of the day is clear, Perez fought hard to secure the podium, despite a huge amount of luck from two craahing Finns.
|3||Sergio Perez||Force India||+28.918|
|6||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull||+47.566|
|11||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||+1:28.424|
|RET||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||Brakes (48)|
|RET||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||Brakes (46)|
|RET||Romain Grosjean||Lotus||Collision (10)|
|RET||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||Throttle (7)|
|RET||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||Collision (1)|
|RET||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||Collision (1)|