Monday, 12 October 2015

Russian GP: Hamilton close towards championship; Podium finish for Force India!

Mexican Sergio Perez helped Force India clinch their first third place finish of the season in Formula One at the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday. 

This was Force India’s third time on the podium. Giancarlo Fisichella and Perez had earlier finished in the first three places in 2009 and 2014, respectively.

At the race on Sunday it was a very close affair. The Mexican looked like getting to the podium and at one stage was cruising to it.  

However, what made it interesting was Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas overtook him before the last lap. Perez tried hard coming back but just as it looked to slip out of his hands, Raikkonen slammed his Ferrari at the tail end of Bottas car.

Both drivers lost control and it paved the way once again for Perez to move ahead and finish behind Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.  

'It feels great to be back on the podium and to be able to celebrate with my team. I have been enjoying my time with the team so much and this is a great reward for all the work we have put in together. The call to pit under the safety car turned out to be very good because it gave us track position ahead of all the battles.'

'With one lap to go, when Valtteri (Bottas) and Kimi (Raikkonen) passed me, it felt like this result had been taken from us: I was obviously disappointed but I also knew I had given all I could during the race.'

'​There was no more I could do because I had been on the same tyres for more than 40 laps. When I finally managed to get back into third it was just an amazing feeling. I am happy I was able to share this second podium with my team. It's a very special result and one that fills me with expectation ahead of the races in Austin and especially Mexico City,' Perez said.

Force India, with 15 points now from the race, have consolidated their fifth spot on the constructors championship.  

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton won the race, while Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel took the second spot. With this victory, Hamilton took a huge step toward retaining his Formula One title as his main rival Nico Rosberg failed to finish. 

Hamilton can now win his third career title at the next race in Texas, while his Mercedes team retained the constructors' title after a season in which the silver cars have dominated almost every race.

Hamilton cruised to victory by 5.9 seconds over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, with Sergio Perez third for Force India, 23 seconds further behind.  

Hamilton's 42nd career win took him past his boyhood hero Ayrton Senna on the all-time list, and the defending champion said he had taken the time to enjoy his drive to victory. ​

'I was really taking it in, just looking at the car,' Hamilton said. 'I don't know how many times I'll be in that position again, so really cherishing the moment and feeling really blessed. I love driving this car and I love where we are at the moment.' 

It was Hamilton's ninth victory of the season and the 12th for Mercedes. With four races to go, Hamilton leads Vettel by 66 points and Rosberg by 73. 

For the second year running, Hamilton received his winner's trophy from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who also greeted the top three drivers ahead of the podium ceremony.

Vettel was forced into a prolonged battle with his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen early on, eventually passing the Finn in a tight move up the inside. 'I think we both enjoyed it. Obviously, I came out in front, so I enjoyed it a little bit more than him,' Vettel said. 'He was giving me just enough room to survive, so it was a good battle.' Mercedes' second straight constructors' title was only decided after the race when the stewards penalized Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen for crashing into Valtteri Bottas' Williams on the last lap.

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