Lewis Hamilton wins Russian Grand Prix as he takes giant stride towards fifth world title

LEWIS HAMILTON was gifted his 70th GP win to open up a whopping 50 point lead in the drivers' championship over Sebastian Vettel.

The Brit, who started in second place behind his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, was given the green light by his Merc bosses to swap places with the Finn.

 Lewis Hamilton won the Russian Grand Prix to extend his lead over Sebastian Vettel to 50 points

AFP
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Lewis Hamilton won the Russian Grand Prix to extend his lead over Sebastian Vettel to 50 points
 Hamilton was subdued on the podium knowing Bottas had handed him the win

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Hamilton was subdued on the podium knowing Bottas had handed him the win

The incident occurred on lap 26 when Bottas was told by his race engineer to allow the championship leader through, the order coming from team chief, Toto Wolff.

Bottas, who is desperate to end his wait for a victory in 2018, was unhappy, but duly complied and Hamilton, who brilliantly overtook Vettel after a pitstop shuffle, went on to claim victory.

Bottas told his team that he was going to pass Max Verstappen on the next lap but chief strategist James Vowles replies: "We had a risk with Lewis against Vettel, he has a small blister.

"I had to do this to make sure we secure this."

 Lewis Hamilton receives his trophy from Russian president Vladimir Putin

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Lewis Hamilton receives his trophy from Russian president Vladimir Putin
 Lewis Hamilton soaks Valtteri Bottas but celebrations were muted

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Lewis Hamilton soaks Valtteri Bottas but celebrations were muted

Bottas had to settle for second place while Vettel completed the podium in third place while his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen was fourth.

Red Bull's Verstappen was the standout driver of the day after going from 19th on the grid to fifth and led for much of this race, as he left it late for a pitstop.

Hamilton said: "It's actually quite a difficult day. Valtteri was a real gentleman to let me through.

"To have a one-two – usually we'd be elated. Valtteri deserved to win… but today it was a real team effort."

Bottas said: "It's a difficult day, obviously. Good result as a team, but personally as everybody saw it was quite a difficult race.

"We always go through the scenarios and the facts with the team. We always had a plan. It is difficult to predict what will happen and how it goes."

 

LEWIS HAMILTON was gifted his 70th GP win to open up a whopping 50 point lead in the drivers' championship over Sebastian Vettel.