Lewis Hamilton Wins 2019 Russian F1 Grand Prix After Sebastian Vettel Retires

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2019

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Russian Grand Prix at The Sochi Autodrom Circuit in Sochi on September 29, 2019. (Photo by Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP)        (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton won the Formula One Russian Grand Prix for the fourth time on Sunday at the Sochi Autodrom to extend his lead in the drivers' championship to 73 points. 

The Mercedes driver took the chequered flag ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who started on pole, while Sebastian Vettel retired after leading the first half of the race.

The win is Hamilton's first in four races and maintains Mercedes' 100 per cent winning record in Sochi since 2014.

Here's the classification:

Formula 1 @F1

RACE CLASSIFICATION Here's how a fantastic race at Sochi finished 👇 #RussianGP 🇷🇺 #F1 https://t.co/0BxYgnxbc0

An eventful first lap saw Vettel take the lead into the first corner ahead of Leclerc and Hamilton.

Behind them, Racing Point's Sergio Perez climbed four places while Haas' Romain Grosjean was out immediately. He spun into a wall after coming together with Daniel Ricciardo, whose race came to an end midway through because of the damage his Renault suffered.

Formula 1 @F1

LAP 1/53 Vettel has taken the lead Grosjean is OUT Ricciardo has a puncture What a start! We are now behind the safety car #F1 🇷🇺 #RussianGP https://t.co/NvkZq80me5

Vettel was told to swap places with his team-mate, but he refused as Leclerc was not close enough to do so, while Hamilton was behind the Monegasque driver:

Formula 1 @F1

LAP 10/53 📻 "Charles we will do the switch later, Hamilton is a bit close, focus on the race" Well, well, well... #F1 🇷🇺 #RussianGP https://t.co/vsSzYtvnhu

In the midfield, Max Verstappen was reeling in those in front of him as he moved from P9 to P5, while large gaps opened up at the front of the race:

Formula 1 @F1

Where does this race go from here? 🤔 #F1 🇷🇺 #RussianGP https://t.co/53zkV55vho

On Lap 22, Leclerc dropped to fourth when he pitted and emerged behind Vettel and the two Mercedes.

Five laps later, Vettel himself pitted to hand Hamilton the lead, but shortly after leaving the pits a mechanical issue brought an end to his race, while Williams' George Russell retired with a brake failure.

Hamilton and Bottas took advantage of the deployment of the safety car amid the retirements by pitting, which allowed them to remain ahead of Leclerc.

The events proved decisive, with Hamilton holding onto P1 for the remainder of the race while Bottas held off Leclerc.