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F1: Nico Rosberg drives 52 laps on the same set of tires in Russia (+photos)

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From press release

Nico Rosberg made things difficult for himself in Russia as his teammate Lewis Hamilton cruised to an easy win at the Russian Grand Prix.

The two Mercedes drivers started the race alongside eachother. But Rosberg snuck up the inside to take the lead – slightly – heading into turn 2.

Nico Rosberg, Paddy Lowe, Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas Sochi Russia F1
Nico Rosberg, Paddy Lowe, Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas (Photo: WRI2)

Then it all went wrong for the German.

He locked up the brakes in a huge cloud of tire smoke. It was so bad, he had to come in at the end of the lap, the first of the race, for fresh rubber.

F1 Russia Sochi
Nico Rosberg locks up (Photo: WRI2)

While Hamilton raced unchallenged to the finish, Rosberg recovered to second place with a 52-lap stint on the same set of medium tires.

"The biggest surprise (of the race) was that we were able to run 52 laps on a single set of prime tire with Nico’s car," admitted Mercedes' Paddy Lowe.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W05 Sochi Russia F1
Hamilton races unchallenged to the finish (Photo: WRI2)

"It did not seem feasible that Nico could make it to the end without stopping again. However, his pace kept on improving and in the end we decided to take the gamble in order to try and secure second place.

"It worked out and, in my view, it was one of Nico’s best ever drives to recover from his mistake."

Together, Hamilton and Rosberg secured their ninth 1-2 finish of the season to give the constructors' championship to Mercedes.

Russia Sochi F1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull RB10
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull RB10 (Photo: WRI2)

Race results* – Russian Grand Prix (round 16 of 19)
1 - Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes W05) - 53 laps 1.31'50"744
2 - Nico Rosberg (Mercedes W05) - 13"657
3 - Valtteri Bottas (Williams FW36-Mercedes) - 17"425
4 - Jenson Button (McLaren MP4/29-Mercedes) - 30"234
5 - Kevin Magnussen (McLaren MP4/29-Mercedes) - 53"616
6 - Fernando Alonso (Ferrari F14-T) - 1'00"016
7 - Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull RB10-Renault) - 1'01"812
8 - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull RB10-Renault) - 1'06"185
9 - Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari F14-T) - 1'18"877
10 - Sergio Perez (Force India VJM07-Mercedes) - 1'20"067
11 - Felipe Massa (Williams FW36-Mercedes) - 1'20"877
12 - Nico Hulkenberg (Force India VJM07-Mercedes) - 1'21"309
13 - Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso STR9-Renault) - 1'37"295
14 - Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso STR9-Renault) - 1 lap
15 - Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber C33-Ferrari) - 1 lap
16 - Adrian Sutil (Sauber C33-Ferrari) - 1 lap
17 - Romain Grosjean (Lotus E22-Renault) - 1 lap
18 - Pastor Maldonado (Lotus E22-Renault) - 1 lap
19 - Marcus Ericsson (Caterham CT05-Renault) - 2 laps
*Unofficial results

Fastest lap of the race: 1'40"896 by Valtteri Bottas

Retirements
Kamui Kobayashi
Max Chilton

Vladimir Putin Russia Sochi F1
Vladimir Putin (Photo: WRI2)

Drivers' championship
1.Hamilton 291; 2.Rosberg 274; 3.Ricciardo 199; 4.Bottas 145; 5.Vettel 143; 6.Alonso 141; 7.Button 94; 8.Hulkenberg 76; 9.Massa 71; 10.Magnussen 49; 11.Perez, Raikkonen 47; 13.Vergne 21; 14.Grosjean, Kvyat 8; 16.Bianchi 2.

Constructors' championship
1.Mercedes 565; 2.Red Bull 342; 3.Williams 216; 4.Ferrari 188; 5.McLaren-Mercedes 143; 6.Force India 123; 7.Toro Rosso 29; 9.Marussia 2.