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Lewis Hamilton wins wild Russian Grand Prix for 100th career Formula 1 win

Yahoo Sports US logo Yahoo Sports US 9/26/2021 Nick Bromberg

Lewis Hamilton has 100 Formula 1 wins and the 2021 points lead. 

Hamilton pitted with four laps to go for intermediate tires and soon passed race leader Lando Norris while it was raining to win the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday. Norris was keeping Hamilton at bay over the final laps of the race but it started to rain and the track got slick. As the two drivers struggled to keep traction with their slick tires, Hamilton pitted for wet weather tires before the rain got worse and Norris didn't.

That was the wrong call for Norris and McLaren. Hamilton made up the time he lost by pitting in less than two laps and passed Norris as Norris slid off the track. 

Hamilton's win vaulted him over Max Verstappen in the points standings but Verstappen mitigated much of the advantage that Hamilton gained. Verstappen started the race last after his Red Bull Racing team changed engines and ended up finishing second because he was one of the first drivers who pitted for intermediate tires.

Had the rain held off, Verstappen was likely going to finish seventh and Hamilton would have either been able to get Norris for the win in the waning laps or finish second. Instead, Hamilton is now just two points ahead of Verstappen in the standings instead of five or more. Hamilton has 246.5 points while Verstappen has 244.5. 

Video: Hamilton wins 100th race after lucky finish in wet conditions (Reuters)

There are at least six races left in the Formula 1 season — a replacement for the canceled Japanese Grand Prix has not been announced yet. The next race is the Turkish Grand Prix on Oct. 10.

Hamilton is the winningest driver ever

Hamilton is the first F1 driver to score 100 wins. He broke Michael Schumacher's wins record in October on the way to a record-tying seventh Formula 1 championship. 

That 2020 title was a cruise compared to the title fight he's in this season. Verstappen has consistently been faster than Hamilton all season long and has seven wins to Hamilton's five. 

The Russian Grand Prix appeared to be Hamilton's chance to get a decent lead over Verstappen in the standings with Verstappen facing a three-race grid penalty for their crash two weeks at at Monza and a subsequent back of the field penalty for changing engines. 

But Hamilton hit the wall entering the pits in the final round of qualifying on Saturday while the track was still damp and ended up starting fourth instead of first because the incident hampered his final qualifying run. Hamilton then dropped to seventh on the opening lap of the race and was mired outside of the top five for the opening laps while Norris and Carlos Sainz sprinted away from the field. 

The advantage that Norris gained in the opening stint disappeared on the second stint, however. Hamilton was able to cut into Norris' lead after his first pit stop of the day and was within 1.5 seconds of Norris before the rain started to fall. 


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