Mon, Oct 1, 1:35pm by Staff Writer
Lewis Hamilton has extended his lead atop the Drivers Championship with a win in the Russian Grand Prix.
Hamilton is now 50 points clear of German rival Sebastian Vettel in the standings after a less than convincing race win in Russia.
The Brit is $1.04 to win the championship and secure the fifth title of his career.
The defending four-time champion started second on the grid and was helped by his Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas, who allowed him to overtake and defended him against title rival Sebastian Vettel.
Bottas started the race on pole and was unhappy at being asked to obey team orders and deny himself a possible race win, as he finished 2.5 seconds behind Hamilton who appeared uneasy about the situation after the race.
Vettel finished the race third for Ferrari and has an enormous hole to dig himself out of if he hopes to win the Drivers Championship this year. He is priced as a $10 outsider after the Russian Grand Prix.
Hamilton has now won three times in Russia and for the fifth time in six races to notch up the 70th race win of his career.
Both Hamilton and team mate Bottas didn’t have much to say after the race, each acknowledging the difficult circumstances the other was put under, after Bottas was forced to obey team orders.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen has been a steady force all season and finishing the race in fourth, ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who capped his 21st birthday with a terrific drive, including a spell as race leader from 19th place on the grid.
Renault-bound Australian Daniel Ricciardo ended in sixth, with soon to be Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc in seventh.
Hamilton moves to 306 points in the championship ahead of Vettel on 256.
Bottas is third with 189 points, while Raikkonen is holding fourth spot with 186 points. Neither of these Finnish drivers is in with a chance of claiming the Drivers Championship this season, both priced at greater than $201.
Light rain greeted drivers on the train before an overcast and warm race, where Valtteri Bottas made just his second pole position of the year.
The Mercedes front runners were joined by Verstappen who revved his Red Bull’s competitive pace to surge up the grid.
Hamilton took over as leader after lap 12 and pitted on lap 14, with his title rival enjoying a rapid lap.
The Brit chased Vettel down after a disappointing pit stop and gained momentum and swooped.
Bottas obeyed team orders after 25 laps to let Hamilton pass and secure a Mercedes one-two.
Hamilton chose not to celebrate his win on the podium and instead consoled his team mate.
This type of victory is not in keeping with Hamilton’s style, with the Brit inviting Bottas to join him on the top step of the podium and even suggested the deflated Finn should lift the winners’ trophy.
It was a difficult decision to make for team principal Toto Wolff, but team orders have been a regular occurrence on Formula One.
They were followed in Michael Schumacher’s era, with many comparing Sunday’s result to the farce of Australia in 2002 when Rubens Barrichello was instructed to move out of Schumacher’s way on the final lap.
Mercedes now has a stranglehold on the Constructors Championship and is priced at $1.08 to win that title.
They lead by 53 points ahead of Ferrari, with just five races to go.
Ferrari is priced at $8.
The next Grand Prix takes place in Japan this weekend at the Suzuka International Racing Course.
Drivers Championship Odds
Lewis Hamilton $1.04
Sebastian Vettel $10
Max Verstappen $201
Constructors Championship Odds
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