Anyhoo, that's all water under the bridge so to speak. And speaking of water, tiny spits of rain were reported just as the drivers wandered out to the grid, just to the point where it was not at all clear which tyres should be run.
Thus it was Lewis in and out as Vettel rocked purple sectors and it was wheel to wheel as Hamilton was out of the pitlane. And it was Vettel emerging the victor after several corners of breathless action, but not for long, as he then locked up into T13, opening the door for Hamilton. Around the final corners and into the straight it was Hamilton giving chase with DRS looming. Around T1 and down the long straight they went with Hamilton closing at an alarming rate and then, for a moment, it looked as if they would touch as Vettel closed the door into T2.
Hamilton thought he used 2 two moves defending, and was on the radio even as they hammered down to T3 with Lewis attached to the gearbox of the Ferrari. T4 was where Hamilton did the deed, in they went and Vettel defended, drifting wide through the turn and Hamilton again went to the inside but this time there was nothing Vettel could do and Hamilton was by and off in pursuit of his teammate.
Lap 25 and Mercedes made the call, Bottas pulled over and Hamilton rocked by. Hot after Verstappen went Lewis as Vettel rocked up to Bottas and on the edge of DRS. Nothing doing though, as he was too far back to make a move, and Vettel lingered just about a second back as the race as the race whirled on.
Very frustrating race with the floor and side pod damaged since lap one. Car was un drivable but we stayed on track in order to help the team with the strategy. Time to reset and push again for Japan! pic.twitter.com/6y70NxtVlo— Carlos Sainz (@Carlossainz55) September 30, 2018
The end result was the gap between HAAS and Renault was down to just 11 points with 5 races left and Magnussen tied with Hulkenberg on points, though he was listed as ahead in the table, presumably on countback. Also a bright spot for the Toro Rosso team was the performance of the new spec Honda PU, which was proclaimed as being fully ahead of its immediate Renault rival, admittedly by the team principal, so grain, salt, apply...
RACE HIGHLIGHTS: RUSSIA 🇷🇺🎬— Formula 1 (@F1) September 30, 2018
Drama, controversy and a masterclass from @Max33Verstappen
Watch the best bits from Sochi >> https://t.co/RU3Biscopp #RussianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/BdO7r9xeVC