Lewis Hamilton’s quest for the all-time record of Formula 1 wins was put on hold when he was hit with penalties at the Russian Grand Prix.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas dominated after the world champion was given a 10-second penalty for doing two illegal practice starts.
Hamilton’s transgressions put him on the verge of a one-race ban because of accumulated licence penalty points. Bottas’ win meant he cut Hamilton’s championship lead to 44 points.
Hamilton and the Mercedes team made the victory easy for Bottas with their collective failure to know the rules on practice starts before the race, but the Finn might have won anyway.
He was on the better strategy – starting on the medium tyres while Hamilton was on softs after a chaotic qualifying session for the Briton – and was tracking Hamilton in the early laps waiting for the race to play out.
But two five-second penalties, each for practice starts in the wrong place on the reconnaissance laps before the cars go to the grid, took Hamilton out of the equation.