In Depth

Hamilton F1 victory 'inevitable' after triumph in Russia

Mercedes driver was right to jump ship from McLaren in 2012 as he homes in on third Formula 1 title

Lewis Hamilton underlined his ability as a racing driver with yet another victory at the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, but his ninth win of the season also reinforced his reputation as a soothsayer, according to Giles Richards of The Guardian.

When Hamilton left McLaren for Mercedes in 2012 he said he anticipated success to come in 2014 and 2015 and he is now poised to win back-to-back titles, and equal Jackie Stewart's haul of three championships.

Hamilton's "ability as a seer" is "unprecedented" he says. Taking the title in Austin at the US Grand Prix in two weeks would be "as convincing an argument as one can imagine it is possible to make on how right he was to switch teams".

It seems highly probable that Hamilton will do just that. If the Englishman wins and Sebastian Vettel does not finish second then the title is his, notes Daniel Johnson of the Daily Telegraph.

"It would need something beyond a miracle for Lewis Hamilton not to win the world championship now," he writes.

The moment that surely clinched the title came when his team-mate Nico Rosberg was forced out of the race, having started from pole. It meant that while Hamilton was presented with a special fur hat for the podium presentation, Rosberg was contemplating a fight with Vettel for second place in the championship.

"While Hamilton romped in his furry titfer, Nico Rosberg, his team-mate and main rival for the title until Sochi, was scouring the Mercedes hospitality suite for a dunce's hat for his team," says Kevin Eason of The Times. "Just when he needed a perfect car to match his perfect pole position, it let him down. He led from the start until his throttle malfunctioned. That was game – and,  surely, his world championship – over."

Any sheepishness at Mercedes, though, will have been tempered by the team's coronation in the constructors' championship, which was confirmed after a stewards inquiry demoted the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen from fifth to eighth. That was enough to make the German manufacturer's lead insurmountable with four races left in the season.

"The triumph confirms Mercedes' domination of the turbo hybrid engine formula that was introduced into F1 in 2014," says Andrew Benson of the BBC. "The team have lost only six of the 34 races that have been held since the start of the 2014 season."

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