Was Hamilton’s Sochi defeat inevitable even without penalties?

As the Russian GP headlines focused on Lewis Hamilton’s two practice start penalties, Valtteri Bottas ran almost unchallenged to a much-needed win for his title hopes. But a crucial advantage from qualifying might have resulted in the same outcome anyway.

Unusually, a Russian Grand Prix was set to be one to watch closely. How events transpired in the 2020 Sochi race will indeed mean it lives long in Formula 1’s collective memory, but for very different reasons than had been expected when the field woke up last Sunday morning.

Lewis Hamilton was starting from his 96th F1 career pole, but he wasn’t exactly happy about it. Two things had rather irked the world champion. 

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