Hamilton’s punishment made Bottas easy on his way to victory in Sochi. However, before the British driver received the official notice of the penalty, Bottas proved a formidable opponent at the Russian Grand Prix.
Right from the start, the Finnish driver soon overtook Max Verstappen, taking a break from Hamilton. On Turn 1, Bottas quickly ducked and passed his teammate halfway through the car.
Hamilton soon realized Bottas’ intent to attack, so he quickly accelerated and regained his lead on Turn 3. The Finnish racer complained about having a large bee sitting on his helmet glasses, prompting him lost sight and the optimal brake point was not selected, resulting in a slightly wide turn on Turn 2. Still, Bottas remained behind. In the lower group, Verstappen also dropped to fourth, sandwiched between the Renault duo. But the race suddenly cooled down when Carlos Sainz (McLaren) and Lance Stroll (Racing Point) repeatedly crashed, making the car safe to be deployed in the first round.
After the safety vehicle pulled out at the beginning of round 6 and the race started again, and Hamilton remained at number one. Bottas kept close behind and held his distance for less than 2 seconds as soon it became known that a teammate could receive a penalty. To round 7, the penalty for Hamilton was officially announced. After Bonnington announced, the Mercedes driver retorted: “Where’s that law?”. But from this moment on, the British driver continuously accelerated to increase the safety distance with the following group.
Until round 17, Hamilton reached the pit to change tires. At this point, the W11 dropped to 11th. By the middle of the race, it was the upper drivers’ turn to pit, Hamilton climbed to third place, just behind Verstappen and remained steady until the race was over.
After the race, Hamilton remained calm. He said: “This is not a great day, but everything is over. It does not matter anymore, everything is over, I will continue to move forward. But first of all congratulate on your victory. Valtteri However, the British racer did not hide his frustration about the 10-second penalty. “I need to review and learn more about what those rules are, and what exactly I did wrong. I see anyone who gets two ridiculous five-second sentences. I don’t put anyone in danger. I’ve done this millions of times over the years and have never been fined for it. Someone is trying to find ways to stop me, “Hamilton said.
Shortly after the race, the FIA announced to remove two Hamilton penalty points, citing “Hamilton’s violation of the law is due to the home team”. And for this reason, the FIA fined the Mercedes racing team 25,000 euros.