Hamilton Claims 100th Win Amid High Drama In Russia
Sumaira FH 24 days ago Sun 26th September 2021 | 09:20 PM
Sochi, Russia, Sept 26 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 26th Sep, 2021 ) :Lewis Hamilton finally claimed his 100th Formula One success on Sunday, the peerless Mercedes driver emerging triumphant amid high drama at the rain-hit Russian Grand Prix to retake the championship lead.
After taking his 100th chequered flag 14 years after his first in Canada Hamilton told his team on the car radio: "Phew. That was hard work man!" The seven-time champion had looked destined to come away for the fifth race in a row stuck on the 99 mark with McLaren's Lando Norris firmly in command up front.
But with five laps to go, the rain that had been threatening the 15th round of the championship for so long arrived, causing mayhem.
"It's taken a long time to get to 100 wins.
"I wasn't even sure it would come. The team made such a good call at the end. I didn't want to let Lando go. I'm incredibly grateful to all these men and women here and back in the factory. Wow, 100." - 'So determined' - Hamilton had set off from the second row after a rare mistake in qualifying 24 hours earlier.
"Going to bed last night, with the job that I did yesterday, there were subtle little mistakes. I was so determined to do the best job I could. It was tough." At the start, as flecks of rain began to appear on drivers' visors, a ballerina pirouetted on a grand piano at the back of the grid to add a surreal touch to the occasion.
Mercedes' tactical card with Valtteri Bottas -- whose engine they had replaced so he would start near Verstappen near the back of the grid and try and hold him up -- worked for all of seven laps when the Dutch driver nipped past the Finn, to smug smiles from the Red Bull garage.
On lap 13 Norris took to the team radio to say "Got him" after swooping past Sainz to regain the lead he lost at the start.
Approaching midway the top 10 had yet to pit, with Verstappen, up to sixth.
Ricciardo was the first of the front runners coming on for a change of rubber, but a tardy tyre change saw the Monza winner rejoining back in 14th, as Hamilton took advantage of clean air to set a fastest lap.
The century-chasing man came in finally on lap 27, with Verstappen following suit, the pair dropping to ninth and 12th.
Then the rain came down.