Lewis Hamilton dedicates Russian Grand Prix win to Jules Bianchi, 'the only person on my mind'

F1 drivers' leader keeping Bianchi 'in his prayers'

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The Independent Online

Lewis Hamilton dedicated his Russian Grand Prix victory to Jules Bianchi as Mercedes’ celebrations at clinching their first Formula One constructors’ championship were tempered by thoughts of the man fighting for his life.

There was obvious delight at claiming the team title as well as a fourth successive win for Hamilton, but, once the champagne-quaffing had ended, the world championship leader’s thoughts were rightly elsewhere.

With Bianchi in a critical condition at the Mie General Medical Centre in Yokkaichi with brain injuries after crashing into a recovery vehicle at Suzuka last Sunday, Hamilton opened his heart.

“All week there’s been just one person on my mind, and that’s Jules,” the Briton said.

“There has been excitement and happiness for the team, but, without a doubt, every time I’ve got in the car this week, coming here, being here, I’ve been thinking about him and his family and keeping him in my prayers every day.

Bianchi-suzuka.jpg
Jules Bianchi suffered a terrible crash at Suzuka

“Whether it means anything, or whether it does anything, it would be great to dedicate this to Jules and his family. It will make a very small difference to them, for sure, but every bit of positive energy hopefully will help.

“I need all you guys [the media], and all us teams to send him our positive vibes because positive energy is actually real.”

Hamilton and Nico Rosberg finished first and second respectively for Mercedes at Sochi to tie up the title for their team but principal Toto Wolff echoed his driver’s sentiments about Bianchi and admitted he could not completely enjoy the day.

“This is a great moment for our team but, first of all, we must not forget what happened last week,” Wolff said. “While we celebrate a hard-earned achievement today, we will not forget what happened to Jules in Suzuka and we will not forget the battle he is fighting at the moment.

 

“We are split in two today, celebrating a moment that we have worked so hard for, but this will never take away the sadness at the events of last weekend. Looking at this achievement, it’s incredible. I have to pinch myself that we are now part of Mercedes-Benz history.”

Rosberg trails Hamilton by 17 points with three races remaining and Wolff expects their battle for the title to go to the last grand prix in Abu Dhabi on 23 November.

“The focus will now shift to the battle for the drivers’ title and this will stay as intense as ever for the final three races,” he said. “We have a healthy lead over [Daniel] Ricciardo in third place but nothing will change in our approach: we want Lewis and Nico to race each other hard and respectfully, as they have done so far this year.”

British driver Max Chilton was tasked with leading the distraught Marussia team at Sochi in the absence of the injured Bianchi but retired early with a suspected wheel bearing failure.

“After an incredibly tough week for everyone in the team, we all deserved so much more from today’s race,” Chilton said. “All the guys have had to dig deep to get us to the grid, and it was very emotional with all the support for Jules. I think the team, the sport and all the fans have done him proud.”

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