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They’re trying to stop me from winning: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton accused Formula One stewards of trying to stop him winning after being handed two time penalties in yesterday's Russian Grand Prix, which was won by his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Pole-sitter Hamilton finished third after being punished for practice starts outside of the designated area on his way to the grid. Red Bull's Max Verstappen was second.

"I need to see what the rules are and what exactly I did wrong," said Hamilton, who was hoping for a 91st race victory to equal Michael Schumacher's all-time record. "I'm pretty sure no one's got two five-second penalties for something so ridiculous before."

The Briton's championship lead over Bottas shrunk to a still healthy 44 points after 10 of 17 races, with the Finn collecting a bonus point for fastest lap.

The stewards also handed Hamilton two penalty points on his licence, leaving him two away from a one-race ban triggered by 12 in a 12-month period.

Asked if that seemed excessive, he replied: "Of course it is, but it's to be expected. They're trying to stop me, aren't they?

"But it's OK. I just need to keep my head down and stay focused." - REUTERS

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