Lewis Hamilton smashed another all-time record held by Michael Schumacher on his way to winning the 2019 Russian Grand Prix. Here’s our highlights from the Sochi Autodrom.
The 5-time World Champion benefited from Ferrari’s misfortune with another supremely consistent performance in Russia. En route to victory, Hamilton became the all-time record holder for races led (143!), surpassing the record held by Michael Schumacher for the past 18 years.
In the opening laps of the race, it looked like it would be Ferrari’s day after Sebastian Vettel made an excellent start from third on the grid, passing Hamilton off the line and then his teammate Charles Leclerc into Turn 2. It soon transpired over team radio that this had been part of the Ferrari game plan in Russia, but Vettel failed to give up the lead to his younger teammate as agreed. Ferrari controlled the race until the pit stops as Leclerc finally jumped ahead of his teammate before Sebastian Vettel pulled off to the side of the circuit and retired with engine problems.
Vettel’s retirement brought out the Virtual Safety Car, gifting Lewis Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas a ‘free pitstop’ and handing the victory to Mercedes. It was the sixth consecutive victory for Mercedes in Sochi, who maintain their 100% win record in the Russian Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc came home third as Sebastian Vettel took some consolation for being voted ‘Driver of the Day’, despite retiring at half distance. Other notable performances included fifth for Alexander Albon in the Red Bull (right behind his teammate Max Verstappen) after starting the race from the pit lane and another double points finish for McLaren (Sainz 6th and Norris 8th); McLaren have now scored over 100 points in a season for the first time since 2014.
Getting closer to Formula 1 in Sochi
The F1 Experiences programme kicked off on Thursday afternoon with an Exclusive Pit Lane Walk, in which our guests got up close to the cars as the teams prepared for the weekend of racing. With the big crowds from the public pit lane walk having vacated the pit lane, it was a good opportunity to get some memorable photos and watch pit stop practice up close. Our guests also had their photo taken with the championship trophies and climbed aboard the flatbed truck used for the F1 drivers’ parade for a lap of this unique circuit. Our expert guides provided commentary on how to nail the perfect lap of the Sochi Autodrom and also pointed out some of the landmarks from the 2014 Winter Olympics that can be found around the circuit, including the Bolshoi Ice Dome, Fisht Stadium and Adler Arena.
After Friday’s on-track action had concluded, our Starter, Hero and Trophy guests went behind the scenes with F1 Insider Access. In Sochi, this included some time in the exclusive Formula 1 Paddock, a visit to the Pirelli tent to learn all about F1 tyres and a meeting with F1 Safety Car Driver, Bernd Mayländer. Our guests also had the chance to strike a pose on the F1 podium for our official photographer, Mark Sutton. The evening concluded in the Racing Point hospitality suite for a chat (and meet-and-greet) with Esteban Ocon, who will be making his return to a race seat next with Renault. For the rest of the weekend, our Fan Experience guests enjoyed the views from the grandstands for qualifying and the race. Meanwhile, our guests in the Formula 1 Paddock Club were treated to VIP hospitality and some very special perks, including F1 driver appearances, daily pit lane walks and a guided tour of the F1 Paddock.
Official Ticket Packages for the 2020 Russian Grand Prix (24-27 September) at Sochi Autodrom are now available. Save with early bird pricing until 30 October!