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GP Week : Issue 230
for all intents and purposes, the world championship is now over. Though officially he's not yet been crowned for the third time, only the unimaginable could prevent lewis hamilton joining the ranks of triple world champions. Victory in Russia served only to draw a line under that fact. Hamilton was not at his best in Russia. He'd been out-paced by Nico Rosberg in practice and qualifying and that looked set to continue in the race too. Rosberg made a decent enough start and was leading with a small margin before a sticking throttle pedal forced the German out - his world championship bid all but over. Hamilton needs just two points from the remaining four races to mathematically shatter his teammate's dream for another year. Rubbing salt into that open wound was the fact Sebastian Vettel was second in a car that was probably only the third best on track. The result moved the Ferrari man into second in the championship courtesy of clever strategy and a bit of luck mid-way through the Russian race. Held up behind Valtteri Bottas in the early part, Vettel stayed out a few laps longer than the Finn at the pitstop cycle. When the Williams driver then found himself buried in traffic the advantage was Vettel's, who cleared Bottas to take what was essentially second place. There was a little racing still to be done, passing the likes of Sergio Perez for example, but with fresher tyres that didn't prove too much of a problem. Passing Perez wasn't a problem for Bottas or Kimi Raikkonen either, the pair getting by on the penultimate lap to rob the Force India driver of third place almost within sight of the flag, but Raikkonen's exuberance ultimately gifted the Mexican the podium place back. The final lap tangle between 18 GPWEEK.com // 18 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> RUSSIA PARTNERS: