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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Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III