Lewis Hamilton felt bittersweet for Lando Norris after 100th win at chaotic Russian GP

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Lewis Hamilton has taken his 100th Formula One Grand Prix win after a dramatic Russian Grand Prix as the rain fell in Sochi but there was heartbreak for McLaren’s Lando Norris who failed to pit for wet tyres in the closing stages of the race while leading and then spun off track. It means the seven-time world champion takes a two-point lead over Max Verstappen, who finished second, heading to Turkey in two weeks’ time.

In a spectacular grandstand finish, the rain started drizzling in Sochi, with only a handful of laps to go with Norris leading the way. However, Mercedes were quick on the radio to tell Hamilton the rain would intensify in Sochi, and pitted the seven-time world champion for wet weather tyres.

Norris however decided to stay out on the dry weather tyres, and initially held on well with the rain only light, before it intensified and the McLaren was seen sliding off the circuit in heartbreaking fashion.

Hamilton chased down the 21-year-old, who started on pole position, with Norris spinning countless times and eventually conceding and pitting for the wet weather tyres.

And Hamilton was gracious after the race, praising Norris’ performance.

“It’s taken a long time to, to obviously get to see get to 100 and I wasn’t even sure whether or not it would come,” began Hamilton.

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“Lando did such an amazing job, he had incredible pace, He’s doing such a great job for McLaren and it’s very bittersweet obviously to see my old team ahead, they’ve been doing so well, obviously won the last race so they’re doing fantastic, obviously powered by Mercedes so it’s good to see in them united again and obviously the team made a great call right at the end.

“I didn’t want to let Lando go and of course I didn’t know what the weather was doing but I’m incredibly, incredibly grateful to all these men and women that are here and back in the factory, because wow, 100.”

Hamilton qualified fourth for the race after crashing his Mercedes into the pit wall in the closing stages of the race, but the Briton said winning the race more than makes up for past mistakes.

“I mean, got into bed last night, obviously not the happiest with the job that I did yesterday, and I watched the replay over and over again and there was subtle, subtle mistakes but just not ideal,” Hamilton continued.

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“And I was so determined when I came in the workup this morning, I woke up with a bit of pain in my neck but Angela [Cullen, Hamilton’s physiotherapist and assistant] worked on it, she’s been fantastic the last two weeks, I couldn’t have done it without her.

“And then I was just determined just to do the best job I could, and it was tough I lost a lot of ground at the start, just trying to stay out of trouble.

“And obviously Max must have done a really great job to come up to second from last year – so we’ve got our work cut out.”

The rain handed Hamilton a prime opportunity to get past Norris, who was still on dry weather tyres and struggling to stay on track after holding Hamilton off for the latter part of the race.

 

After pitting for wet tyres, Hamilton was able to close the gap to the struggling McLaren and pass the 21-year-old as he dove into the pits two laps too late.

“I mean I’m not sure, it would have been tough to have got past Lando [had it not rained],” Hamilton added.

“They had great pace, he did the fastest lap so when tough to pass unless we caught some traffic or something.

“Or he made a mistake which he’s not been doing for at all.

“So, in the rain came and it was very opportunistic and as I said the team did an amazing job so big, big thank you to them.

“Otherwise, there’s nothing I can do about who’s behind me, that’s the dream result for Max naturally, but I’m grateful for the points.”

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