AMG Mercedes needed this one in Sochi

Sebastian Vettel took the lead as his team mate was in support mode with both Mercedes pushing to get the early break.

There was an obvious game plan by Ferrari to hold Hamilton back from taking the lead early in the race. As Vettel was pulling away from Leclerc there was a decision to pit Leclerc who returned to the circuit setting fastest laps. Vettel pitted then pushed hard to end his race with a K…loss energy and pulled off the track.

The VSC was activated and the lead was contained to a close line of cars all ready to pounce onto one another for more points within their own mini-race-sets throughout the grid.

With George Russell’s Williams taking a line off the track with a wheel nut issue as a full safety car was activated. This allowed Leclerc to pit for soft tyres in the hope of chasing the win.

Bottas defenced perfectly to come home in second, Lewis Hamilton winning the race with Charles Leclerc finishing in third.

Rookies Albon and Norris finished well in 5th and 8th respectively.

Vettel was grilled post-race for more intel on the Ferrari race strategy. He was guarded in his reply as we all expect. Some tension appears evident in Ferrari with their drivers.

Next race Japan 11-13 October.

POSNODRIVERCARLAPSTIME/RETIREDPTS
144Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES531:33:38.99226
277Valtteri BottasMERCEDES53+3.829s18
316Charles LeclercFERRARI53+5.212s15
433Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA53+14.210s12
523Alexander AlbonRED BULL RACING HONDA53+38.348s10
655Carlos SainzMCLAREN RENAULT53+45.889s8
711Sergio PerezRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES53+48.728s6
84Lando NorrisMCLAREN RENAULT53+57.749s4
920Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI53+58.779s2
1027Nico HulkenbergRENAULT53+59.841s1
1118Lance StrollRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES53+60.821s0
1226Daniil KvyatSCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA53+62.496s0
137Kimi RäikkönenALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI53+68.910s0
1410Pierre GaslySCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA53+70.076s0
1599Antonio GiovinazziALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI53+73.346s0
NC88Robert KubicaWILLIAMS MERCEDES28DNF0
NC63George RussellWILLIAMS MERCEDES27DNF0
NC5Sebastian VettelFERRARI26DNF0
NC3Daniel RicciardoRENAULT24DNF0
NC8Romain GrosjeanHAAS FERRARI0DNF0

Note – Magnussen received a 5-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. Hamilton scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race.