Hamilton: "A victory I am least proud of"

By on Sunday, September 30, 2018

In front of the packed grandstands of the Sochi Autodrom Lewis Hamilton has won the Russian Grand Prix ahead of his team mate Valtteri Bottas, after Mercedes applied team orders in order to secure Hamilton's victory.

On lap 26 Bottas was told by the pit wall to let Hamilton through as he had a blister on his tyre and was under threat from Vettel. Bottas obeyed but was not pleased and he was back on his radio on the last laps asking to swap back positions. Mercedes denied his victory despite the Finn being the one winning pole and leading Hamilton in the race.

Hamilton scored his 70th career victory today in Formula One, his eighth of the 2018 season and third at the Sochi Autodrom. The Englishman is now 50 points clear of Vettel with five races to go in the 2018 season, while Mercedes leads the Constructors’ Championship with a 53-point margin on Ferrari.

Mercedes maintained its outstanding record in the Russian race, as the Silver Arrows have won all the five editions hosted so far on the shores of the Black Sea. It is the joint-longest winning streak at a race alongside the British and Italian Grand Prix.

"Valtteri was an incredible gentleman today. Honestly, it’s the strangest day I can remember having in the sport in my career," said Hamilton.

"I remember, we have crossed this situation and discussion before. It’s always felt super uncomfortable, I was like ‘Look, I want to win the right way’, that’s always how it is for me. I would say ‘Look, as racing drivers we exist to win, and if you tell us we can’t win, it’s like you are taking our air away, our life away’. It’s that deep. I would never wish it upon anyone else and would never ask for it, ever. I made sure when we were in a meeting before, I was like ‘Just so you know, I’ve never gone to Toto and those guys, this is not how I want to win’.

"Obviously, the team took the decision when they saw that my tyres were blistered and Vettel was charging from behind. There are stronger heads in the team who are like ‘We have to win, it’s all about the win. We have got to win both Championships, we don’t care who finishes ahead’.

"I think ultimately, it’s really important right this second to first acknowledge Valtteri, because as I said he was just the ultimate gentleman. It is very weird to feel down but we’ve also got to feel grateful to the guys back at the factory. So many people are working flat-out to make sure we have a 1-2 like this, the team have just done an incredible job this weekend. We have to really embrace the moment still, but it’s definitely a victory on my list of wins that I am least proud of."

Race results:

1.  L. Hamilton      Mercedes      1:27:25.181
2.  V. Bottas      Mercedes      +2.545
3.  S. Vettel      Ferrari      +7.487
4.  K. Räikkönen      Ferrari      +16.543
5.  M. Verstappen      Red Bull      +31.026
6.  D. Ricciardo      Red Bull      +1:20.451
7.  C. Leclerc      Sauber      +1:38.390
8.  K. Magnussen      Haas      +1 lap
9.  E. Ocon      Force India      +1 lap
10.  S. Pérez      Force India      +1 lap
11.  R. Grosjean      Haas      +1 lap
12.  N. Hulkenberg      Renault      +1 lap
13.  M. Ericsson      Sauber      +1 lap
14.  F. Alonso      McLaren      +1 lap
15.  L. Stroll      Williams      +1 lap
16.  S. Vandoorne      McLaren      +2 laps
17.  C. Sainz Jr.      Renault      +2 laps
18.  S. Sirotkin      Williams      +2 laps
19.  P. Gasly      Toro Rosso      +49 laps
20.  B. Hartley      Toro Rosso      +49 laps

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