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F1: Hamilton wins Russian GP after Mercedes implements team orders

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Mercedes implemented team orders that saw Valtteri Bottas yield to Lewis Hamilton on Lap 26 of Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix, and Hamilton was subsequently able to take the win and extend his already substantial championship lead over Sebastian Vettel in the process.

Bottas led from the pole, while Hamilton held off Vettel to run second after the start, with Kimi Raikkonen running behind them in fourth.

Their running order remained stable until the pit stops began, with Bottas the first of the leaders to pit on Lap 12. Vettel followed suit on Lap 13, with Hamilton pitting on Lap 14.

Bottas resumed ahead of both of them, but Vettel momentarily got around Hamilton after the round of stops to effectively run second in the race. However, on Lap 16, Hamilton made a bold move inside of Vettel in Turn 7 to retake the spot.

Team orders at Mercedes then came into play a few laps later. Max Verstappen, who started 19th due grid penalties for taking new power unit components, had not stopped at that point and was in the lead. Bottas, Hamilton, and Vettel were all closing in on him, but Bottas was unable to get around Verstappen to retake the lead. As a result, Vettel began closing in on the both of them, and the top four ran nearly nose-to-tail.

Fearing that Vettel would get back around Hamilton, and subsequently gain on him in the championship, Mercedes opted to have Bottas yield the position to Hamilton.

Hamilton assumed the lead on Lap 43 after Verstappen made his stop, and went unchallenged the rest of the way to take his eighth win of the year.

Bottas finished second, with Vettel finishing third ahead of Raikkonen.

Verstappen, meanwhile, enjoyed a strong drive to fifth after starting 19th. Verstappen’s opening laps were particularly breathtaking, as he was already up to 10th by Lap 3 and was running fifth by Lap 8.

Red Bull opted to run him long before his stop – he started on the soft compound Pirellis, which allowed him to run to Lap 43 – to give him a chance to battle with Raikkonen for fourth, but he was unable to mount a challenge in the final laps.

Daniel Ricciardo finished sixth, with Charles Leclerc finishing a strong seventh after running in the points for much of the day.

Kevin Magnussen, Esteban Ocon, and Sergio Perez rounded out the points finishers in eighth, ninth, and tenth.

The win sees Hamilton extend his lead over Vettel to 50 points with five races remaining in the 2018 Formula 1 season.

Results are below.

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Will Power, Roger Penske collect Indy 500 trophies

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DETROIT (AP) Last year, Will Power finally broke through and won the Indianapolis 500, so he can cross that accomplishment off the list.

Now 37, Power is reaching an age when it’s fair to wonder how much longer he’ll keep at it.

“I’m really enjoying my racing. I’ve never been so motivated. I’m fitter than I’ve ever been, mentally on the game,” Power said. “I think once you get to this part of your career, you realize that you’re not going to be doing this forever. So you’ve got to enjoy it and you’ve got to go for it when you’ve got it, because, you know, probably only another five years at maximum, and you’re retired.”

Whenever Power’s career does wind down, his 2018 Indy 500 win will remain a moment to remember. He was in Detroit on Wednesday night with team owner Roger Penske for a ceremony in which they received their “Baby Borg” trophies for winning last year’s race. The Baby Borgs are replicas of the Borg-Warner Trophy that honors the Indy 500 winner.

Power finished second at Indy in 2015, and his victory last year made him the race’s first Australian winner. It was Penske’s 17th Indy 500 win as an owner, part of a banner year for him. Penske also won a NASCAR Cup title with driver Joey Logano.

“When you think about 2018, we had 32 race wins, 35 poles. I think we led almost 5,400 laps, with all the series,” Penske said.

On Wednesday, Penske collected another significant trophy, and he’ll be celebrated again in a couple weeks. He’s being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Feb. 1.

“It’s amazing that a guy from the north can get into the Hall of Fame in the south,” Penske joked. “No, it’s special. … NASCAR has helped us build our brand over the years, certainly, with the reputation it has, and the notoriety we get, being a NASCAR team owner.”

Penske’s most recent Indy 500 title came courtesy of Power, who long preferred road courses to ovals but certainly looked comfortable at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year.

“The 500 was one record that he didn’t have, and I think you saw the excitement he and his wife, and the whole team, when he was able to win the race,” Penske said. “He’s probably the best qualifier we’ve ever had, as a road racer, and no question his expertise. He didn’t like ovals to start with, but I think today, he loves racing on ovals.”

Power seems content with all aspects of his racing life at the moment. The aftermath of an Indy 500 victory can be a whirlwind, and it would be understandable for a driver to be weary of it eight months later, but for Power, it’s a new experience.

“I’ve been looking forward to this event for a few months now, to actually get the Baby Borg. You have the face on it – I didn’t realize that, you actually get your own face on it,” Power said. “It makes you realize the significance of the event, when you think about all the things that come with winning the 500.”

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Follow Noah Trister at http://www.Twitter.com/noahtrister