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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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Attention NASCAR teams: IMSA drivers available for Daytona!

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NASCAR will be making its debut on the Daytona International Speedway road course next month, and there’s a big fan who’d like to join the historic weekend.

This fan actually has impressive credentials, too — a few thousand laps around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile layout that annually plays host to the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

In 2014, the winning GTLM team in the sports car endurance classic included IMSA Porsche driver Nick Tandy, who rabidly has followed NASCAR for more than 30 years since growing up in England.

So why not try racing NASCAR? Especially because Tandy has the weekend of Aug. 14-16 free.

He’s not picky, either — offering up his services on Twitter (as well as those of Porsche teammate Earl Bamber) for an ARCA, Xfinity, trucks or Cup ride.

Tandy’s affinity for American stock-car racing runs deep.

His first trip to the World Center of Racing was as a fan attending the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2008. During Rolex testing in January, Tandy, 35, said he hadn’t missed a Cup race on TV in 15 years.

Among his favorite NASCAR drivers: the Earnhardts, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. When IMSA ran the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2014, Tandy stayed a few extra days at the Brickyard and bought Kyle Busch gear for himself and his children.

He briefly took the stage during a NASCAR weekend last October. After IMSA’s season finale at Road Atlanta, Tandy made a few demonstration laps and a burnout in his No. 911 Porsche before the Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

He also has some experience in stock cars, having raced Modified-type grass-roots series on England’s quarter-mile short tracks.

Couple that with a Daytona road course record that includes two consecutive podium class finishes (including last Saturday) and a sports car resume with 13 IMSA victories and an overall win in the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans … and maybe a NASCAR team should take a look.

And Tandy isn’t the only IMSA driver who likely would be available.

Corvette driver Jordan Taylor, who won the 2017 Rolex 24 overall title with Jeff Gordon as a teammate (and the inspiration for his Rodney Sandstrom persona), also tweeted his availability for the weekend on the high banks.

Sports car veteran Andy Lally, a GTD driver with multiple class wins in the Rolex 24 as well as 38 Cup starts (he was the 2011 rookie of the season in NASCAR’s premier series), also hung out his shingle.

There also is AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Jack Hawksworth (who just won at Daytona last Saturday), the Englishman who teamed with Kyle Busch at the Rolex 24 in January and made an Xfinity start at Mid-Ohio last year with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Many sports car drivers (such as Taylor) already live in Florida, and many are hunkering down in the Sunshine State with IMSA returning to action at Daytona last week and Sebring International Raceway next week. Because of COVID-19-related travel concerns and restrictions, several IMSA stars who live outside the country are riding out the pandemic within a few hours of Daytona with nothing to do.

Why not a weekend at the World Center of Racing?

Over the years, scads of “road-course ringers” (including some Formula One veterans) have tried their hands in stock cars at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International.

How about considering the many sports car drivers who already have reached victory lane at Daytona by making a few right-hand turns, too?