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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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WATCH: Red Bull F1 team completes pit stop in zero gravity

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The Red Bull Racing pit crew may have already made headlines last weekend when it completed the fastest pit stop in Formula One history, changing Max Verstappen’s tires in 1.82 seconds, but the team’s most recent stunt took their skills to new heights – quite literally.

With the help of the Russian Space agency Roscomos, a group of the team’s mechanics completed the world’s first zero-gravity pit stop, on-board a IIyushin II-76K cosmonaut training plane.

Using a 2005 BR1, the team filmed the viral video over the course of a week, enduring seven flights and about 80 parabolas – periods in which the plane climbs 45 degrees before falling again at a ballistic arch of 45 degrees, creating a period of weightlessness for approximately 22 seconds.

With such a short time frame between weightlessness periods, the car and equipment had to be both quickly and safely secured before gravity once again took effect. Each filming lasted roughly 15 seconds, and the stunt was the most physically and technically demanding activity the live demo team had ever undertaken.

“It pushed us harder than I thought it would,” said Red Bull Support Team Mechanic Joe Robinson. “You realize how much you rely on gravity when you don’t have any!

“It challenges you to think and operate in a different way – and that was brilliant. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and honestly, I could have stayed and done it all month. It was amazing. I think it’s the coolest, most fun thing the Live Demo team has ever done with a show car.”

Though Red Bull was the first team to perform a pit stop in zero gravity, surprisingly Red Bull was not the first team to put a car through zero gravity. In 1999, McLaren driver David Coulthard and his car experienced zero gravity as part of a promotion for then-sponsor West Cigarettes.

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