Rosberg eases to win as Kvyat takes out Vettel

© XPB 

Nico Rosberg made it four wins from four after Sebastian Vettel crashed out at the start of the Russian Grand Prix.

Rosberg led in to Turn 2 - the first braking point on the circuit - but further behind him Vettel was hit by Daniil Kvyat, causing the Ferrari to hit Daniel Ricciardo. Then going through Turn 3, Vettel lifted off and was hit by Kvyat again, sending the German in to the barriers and out of the race.

Lewis Hamilton managed to avoid the incident to emerge in fifth place behind Rosberg, Kimi Raikkonen, Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, and the defending champion recovered to second place from tenth on the grid despite more reliability concerns.

Rosberg was able to pull a comfortable lead as Hamilton fought his way in to second, with the gap at 13 seconds after the pit stops. With a one-stop strategy the preferred choice, Hamilton was closing the gap on track and had managed to reduce it to 7.7s when a water pressure problem forced him to back off.

Hamilton eventually crossed the line 25 seconds adrift of Rosberg - who extends his championship lead to 43 points - but had enough in hand over Raikkonen in third place.

Bottas came home fourth ahead of Massa, with the second Williams having enough of a buffer over Fernando Alonso to even make a second pit stop. Alonso had made an excellent start to run in the top ten and avoid the early contact, but he was a lap down such was Mercedes' advantage this weekend.

Kevin Magnussen scored Renault's first points of the season in seventh place, with Romain Grosjean finishing eighth for Haas ahead of Sergio Perez and Jenson Button.

The main action came at the start of the race, with Vettel being taken out by Kvyat just two weeks after complaining of the Russian's driving at the start of the race in China. Behind them, Nico Hulkenberg was tapped into a spin by Esteban Gutierrez, with Rio Haryanto also being collected by the Haas.

Kvyat was handed a ten second stop/go penalty for his actions while Gutierrez also received a drive through having been able to continue.

Rosberg had made a strong start and Raikkonen dived up the inside of Bottas in to Turn 2 before the safety car was deployed as a result of the retirements. The race restarted on lap four and Bottas immediately re-took second place at Turn 2 while Hamilton passed Massa for fourth at the same corner.

Hamilton then pulled a strong move on Raikkonen up the inside into Turn 5  but found Bottas harder to pass and was still sitting in third when the two drivers took their pit stops a lap apart. Bottas held on to second for a lap but Hamilton soon used DRS to get through and set off after Rosberg before his water pressure concerns saw him nurse the car home.

Raikkonen ran longer before pitting and was able to jump Bottas as the Williams struggled to pass the yet-to-pit Alonso.

AS IT HAPPENED: Russian Grand Prix

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01Nico RosbergMercedes53 laps - 1h32m41.997s1
02Lewis HamiltonMercedes+25.0221
03Kimi RaikkonenFerrari+31.9981
04Valtteri BottasWilliams+50.2171
05Felipe MassaWilliams+74.4272
06Fernando AlonsoMcLaren+1 lap1
07Kevin MagnussenRenault+1 lap1
08Romain GrosjeanHaas+1 lap1
09Sergio PerezForce India+1 lap2
10Jenson ButtonMcLaren+1 lap1
11Daniel RicciardoRed Bull+1 lap2
12Carlos SainzToro Rosso+1 lap1
13Jolyon PalmerRenault+1 lap1
14Marcus EricssonSauber+1 lap2
15Daniil KvyatRed Bull+1 lap2
16Felipe NasrSauber+1 lap1
17Esteban GutierrezHaas+1 lap2
18Pascal WehrleinManor+2 laps2
19Max VerstappenToro RossoDNF1
20Sebastian VettelFerrariDNF0
21Nico HulkenbergForce IndiaDNF0
22Rio HaryantoManorDNF0