Rosberg makes it seven wins in a row with Sochi finish

Sun May 1, 2016 1:19pm EDT
 
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By Alan Baldwin

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Formula One championship leader Nico Rosberg chalked up his seventh win in a row at the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday with team mate Lewis Hamilton fighting back from 10th on the grid to seal a Mercedes one-two finish.

In a race that started with chaos, and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel being shunted into the wall by Red Bull's Russian Daniil Kvyat, Rosberg had an untroubled afternoon from pole to chequered flag for his 18th career win.

The German equaled the achievement of compatriot Michael Schumacher in winning seven successive races, with only Vettel (nine in 2013 with Red Bull) and the late Italian Alberto Ascari ahead of them.

Only champions Schumacher, Britain's Nigel Mansell and Brazilian Ayrton Senna had won the first four races in a season before Rosberg joined them.

"It felt very special out there," said the happy winner, who led all the way and also set the fastest lap, after being congratulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Triple world champion Hamilton was 25 seconds behind Rosberg with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen finishing third after winning a battle with fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas, who started on the front row, in the Williams.

The podium was Ferrari's 700th since the championship started in 1950.

Rosberg, who won the last three races of 2015 and now the first four of 2016, leads Hamilton by 43 points in the standings with 17 races remaining and the Briton facing an increasingly daunting challenge.   Continued...

 
Formula One - Russian Grand Prix - Sochi, Russia - 1/5/16 - Mercedes F1 driver Nico Rosberg of Germany drives during the Russian Grand Prix.   REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov