Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has dedicated his Russian Grand Prix victory to Marussia driver Jules Bianchi, who is still in a critical condition with severe head injuries, after dominating the track to grab his ninth win of the year, fourth in a row, and extend his championship lead.
Hamilton, who equalled Nigel Mansell’s record for most wins by a Briton -31, said that he had been thinking of the Frenchman ever since his crash in the Japanese Grand Prix a week ago. He said that it would be great to dedicate the win to Bianchi and his family.
Hamilton said that it would make a very small difference to them, but every bit of positive energy hopefully will help. He added that they all need to be sending positive vibes that way, The BBC reported.
Hamilton said that every time he got in the car this week, he has honestly just been keeping Bianchi in his prayers every day.
Meanwhile, Hamilton’s teammate Nico Rosberg fought back following a first-lap error to finish second in the race and thus sealing the constructor’s title for Mercedes. The German trails Hamilton by 17 points with three races remaining and a maximum of 100 points available.
There was a tribute to Bianchi on the grid from both his team and the other drivers as all of them the drivers gathered on the grid in tribute to the Frenchman, whose car hit a recovery vehicle after he lost control in wet conditions at Suzuka despite waved yellow caution flags.
Marussia decided to run only one car in the race, leaving Bianchi’s fully prepared but on stands in the garage.
The race was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was instrumental in realising Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone’s 30-year desire to have a Grand Prix in Russia.
His ninth win of the year means Rosberg, who has won four, can now not match his team-mate for victories in the remaining races. But the championship fight is still wide open, helped by the award of double points in the final race in Abu Dhabi.
The title battle is now essentially down to the two Mercedes drivers as Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, in third place, is 92 points adrift of Hamilton. Williams’ Bottas was third in Sochi ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button, the report added.