British driver Hamilton wins Russian F1 Grand Prix in Sochi
The race started at 15:00 local time (11:00 GMT) at the Olympic Park, which was used for Sochi’s Winter Olympics in February. The Sochi Autodrom itself is a brand new 55,000-capacity venue built near the site.
Hamilton's first place came with a race time of 1:31:50.744, securing his ninth win of the season and equaling legendary British F1 racer Nigel Mansell's record of 31 Nationwide Series wins. German Nico Rosberg, also with Mercedes, came in second with1:32:04.40 after recovering from a problematic start, shortly followed by Finland’s Valtteri Bottas.
Mercedes subsequently clinched the 2014 constructors' championship.
while the usual champagne-soused celebrations took place, the event was somewhat overshadowed by F1 racer Jules Bianchi who suffered a serious crash in last week's Japanese Grand Prix.
"While we celebrate a hard-earned achievement today, we will not forget what happened to Jules in Suzuka and we will not forget the battle he is fighting at the moment" Mercedes motorsport director Toto Wolff said.
There is now a three week break until the next race in Austin, for the United States Grand Prix.
Sochi marked the inaugural Russian Grand Prix - held at the former Olympic site.
“The track is unique as it is the only one on the F1 calendar to be located on an Olympic site,” Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel says. “Generally, I think it has a very successful mix of corners with different characters, some of them will be very difficult, and that’s ultimately what we want as drivers.”
Saturday’s qualifying session had ended with Hamilton securing pole position ahead of his teammates.
“I'm really grateful that I got the pole here, for the first time. It's going to be tough tomorrow, it's a long lead down to turn one, so we'll find out how that works out," he told journalists after Saturday’s time trial.
Jenson Button was in 4th spot and Russia’s favorite, Daniil Kvyat, finished 5th.
“Everything is going great. A Russian, Daniil Kvyat, has qualified fifth and that’s absolutely fantastic,” a Russian fan told RT’s Neil Harvey.
“We’ve been supporting him strongly and will do that on Sunday. The race will be very exciting,” fans said.
The crowds of fans of the major international sporting event will be joined by Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the Kremlin press service. Putin headed to the competition with Bahrain’s ruler, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
The Russian president said he noticed positive tendencies in the relations between Russia and Bahrain.
“I am very glad that we have an opportunity to discuss bilateral relations and discuss the situation in the region,” he said addressing Bahrain’s leader. Later, Russia’s ambassador to Bahrain, Victor Smirnov, told journalists that Moscow and Manama had signed a series of cultural and tourism agreements.
Sochi’s F1 race is the 16th of the 2014 season. A week earlier, the Grand Prix was held in the Japanese city of Suzuka. The event was overshadowed by an accident involving French driver Jules Bianchi, however, who suffered a severe head injury after his car crashed into a crane, which was trying to remove another car that had skidded off the circuit during wet conditions in Suzuka.
Bianchi drives for Marussia, a joint Anglo-Russian venture that has its headquarters in the UK. The Marussia team will have only one car on the starting grid, as a mark of respect to injured driver Bianchi.