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F1: Lewis Hamilton wins Russian GP as Ferrari team orders fail

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Lewis Hamilton won the Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom Sunday afternoon, further extending his lead in the World Championship standings to 73 points over teammate Valtteri Bottas.

With Bottas finishing second, it was yet another Mercedes 1-2 in a race that could of very well have resulted in a Ferrari 1-2 had everything gone as planned for the duo of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel took the lead from his starting position of third on lap one, passing Hamilton and polesitter Leclerc in what was part of a pre-race plan by the team to fend off the defending World Champion.

Once Vettel was solidly in the lead, he was told by his team to surrender the lead back to Leclerc. However, Vettel refused to give the position back to his teammate and continued to build his lead, with both Ferrari cars running 1-2 until Leclerc made his first pit stop on Lap 22.

Leclerc came out of the pits in fourth behind his teammate, Lewis Hamilton and Bottas, and four laps later, Vettel finally came into the pits, and returned to the track behind Leclerc.

It had appeared as things were finally coming together for Ferrari, as though Hamilton and Bottas were sitting in first and second, they both had yet to pit.

But Vettel’s car then experienced an engine failure on his out lap, ending his day and bringing out the virtual safety car, which allowed Hamilton to come in for a free stop and maintain the lead.

Bottas surrendered the second position to Leclerc when he came in to pit, but was able to retake the position when Leclerc returned to the pits a few laps later when a full safety car came out for a crash by George Russel.

When racing resumed on lap 33, the top four consisted of Hamilton, Bottas, Leclerc and Max Verstappen – all of whom maintained their position through the checkered flag.

“It’s incredible to have this result today because of how fast they [Ferrari] were from the start, even keeping up with them was hard,” Hamilton said following his eighth victory of 2019. “It feels like a long time coming!”

Alexander Albon finished fifth, while Carlos Sainz finished the race in the sixth position. Sergio Perez, Lando Norris, Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top 10.

Full race results are below. The next round of the 2019 Formula One World Championship is the Japanese Grand Prix on October 13.

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Michelin appoints new North American motorsports director

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Michelin North America has named Tony MĂ©nard as director of motorsports, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

MĂ©nard is succeeding Chris Baker, who has held the role for the past eight years. Baker is scheduled to retire in March of 2020, ending a lengthy career that began with Michelin in 1982.

“Chris has played a vital role in the growth and success of our motorsports program, both for BFGoodrich and Michelin in North America,” said Matthieu Bonardel, global director for Michelin Group’s motorsports business entity. “His passion and understanding for motorsport fueled growth in the organization and established credibility in the market. Chris’s leadership propelled the Group, which experienced tremendous success with race wins, and advanced the way the brands leveraged our motorsports participation to benefit the overall business.”

A native of Le Mans, France, MĂ©nard has served in several positions during his 30-year career with Michelin, most recently serving global business leader for Michelin brand in the passenger-vehicle category. MĂ©nard has worked closely with the North American motorsports team since early July in preparation for the transition.

Baker oversaw the development of the motorsports function for Michelin and BFGoodrich Tires brands as a single business unit in North America. He also directed the expansion of Michelin’s involvement in IMSA sports-car racing as the “Official Tire of IMSA” and BFGoodrich Tires partnership with SCORE International Racing as the “Official Tire of SCORE.”

During Baker’s tenure, BFGoodrich achieved an unprecedented 650 off-road class wins, including five overall victories in the Baja 1000. The brand also demonstrated performance in the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing, Ultra4 King of Hammers, and provided strong support of grass roots racing across North America with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), National Auto Sport Association (NASA), and Super Production Challenge in Canada.

“I am incredibly grateful to Michelin for the opportunities and support throughout my career, and to all the folks that I have worked with and continue to work with,” Baker said. “I want to thank all the teams, partners, officials and fans who have made our relationships so successful and are essential to the brands’ successes. I look forward to witnessing the continued success of our motorsports programs under Tony’s leadership, as well as the contributions of the Michelin Motorsport North America staff and volunteers, who are completely dedicated and invested in representing our brands in competition.”