Rosberg cruises to victory in Russia

By on Sunday, May 1, 2016
Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Nico Rosberg cruised to his seventh successive victory as Lewis Hamilton recovered from his qualifying woes to complete a Mercedes 1-2 in Russia.

Rosberg led every lap of the race from pole position, setting the fastest lap en-route, to open up a 43 point lead over Hamilton.

Kimi Räikkönen completed the podium in the sole Ferrari to reach the chequered flag.

Sebastian Vettel was eliminated from proceedings on the first lap after twice behind hit by Red Bull rival Daniil Kvyat.

At the start Rosberg led away while Räikkönen leapt ahead of Valtteri Bottas, as behind the lead trio chaos broke out.

Vettel dived up the inside of Daniel Ricciardo at Turn 2 but was hit from behind by Daniil Kvyat, sending the Ferrari into the side of his former team-mate, who clipped Sergio Pérez, puncturing the Force India.

Vettel recovered to negotiate Turn 3 but was clouted once more from behind by Kvyat, with the contact sending the Ferrari driver into the barriers on the outside of the corner.

Further back, a secondary incident into Turn 2 involved Esteban Gutiérrez, Nico Hülkenberg and Rio Haryanto, with the latter two retiring on the sport and the Haas driver deemed culpable.

The Safety Car was called due to stranded cars and debris littered across the track and upon the restart Räikkönen locked up at the final corner, allowing Bottas to take second into Turn 2.

As Räikkönen tried to regain the position a few laps later he ran deep into Turn 4 and allowed Hamilton, who leapt forwards from 10th on the grid and passed Felipe Massa at the restart, to dive up the inside at Turn 5.

Hamilton shadowed Bottas but was unable to make a move until after the first round of stops.

Williams reacted first and maintained second with Bottas, though Hamilton breezed by soon after to ensure it was a Mercedes 1-2.

Bottas held third but was overhauled by compatriot Räikkönen soon after and was unable to keep pace with the Ferrari driver.

Rosberg led by over 12 seconds after the pit stop phase but Hamilton gradually took time out of his team-mate to move within seven seconds, before being warned of a water pressure issue.

Rosberg set a sequence of fastest laps to increase his lead back up to 13 seconds, as Mercedes informed Hamilton that the water pressure had stabilised.

Rosberg cruised to the line 25 seconds clear while Hamilton and Räikkönen completed the podium positions.

Bottas was fourth while Massa two-stopped en-route to fifth position.

Fernando Alonso collected his first points of the year with a fine drive to sixth position as Renault broke its 2016 points drought with Kevin Magnussen seventh.

Romain Grosjean returned to the points with eighth as he fended off a recovering Pérez, while Jenson Button passed Carlos Sainz Jr. late on to finish 10th.

Ricciardo was a lowly 11th after managing a set of Mediums for all bar the opening lap, as Sainz Jr. dropped to 12th as a result of a time penalty for edging Jolyon Palmer wide.

Palmer collected 13th, ahead of Marcus Ericsson, Kvyat - who was given a 10 second stop/go penalty for hitting Vettel, Felipe Nasr, Gutierrez and Pascal Wehrlein, who dropped to the back after a slow stop.

Max Verstappen held a promising sixth place for Toro Rosso until he slowed and stopped with a suspected engine failure shortly after mid-distance.

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