LEWIS HAMILTON blasted a “ridiculous” time penalty that cost him a chance to match Michael Schumacher’s win record in Russia.
The Brit was hit with a 10-second penalty for practicing his grid starts in the wrong place on his way to the track in Sochi.
Hamilton started on pole looking for a record equalling 92nd victory in F1 but was made to settle for third.
His team-mate Valtteri Bottas took full advantage to win his second race of the season from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Six-time world champion Hamilton was heard over team radio saying “this is ridiculous, man” and asking “where is that in the rules?” after the penalty that ruined his day.
He pitted on lap 17 to change tyres and serve his 10-second penalty, which meant he returned to the track down in 11th place.
Hamilton complained that Mercedes pitted him too early and told his race engineer: “I don’t want any more info, Bono. It doesn’t make any difference.”
The 35-year-old fought his way back to third but saw his lead in the drivers’ standings cut.
Bottas started from third but leapfrogged Verstappen from the start and led a drama free race to win in Russia.
Sergio Perez finished fourth for Racing Point with Daniel Ricciardo fifth in his Renault and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in sixth.
The safety car was out on the first lap after Lance Stroll smashed his Racing Point and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz crunched his McLaren into the barrier.
But the rest of the race in Russia was far less eventful after back to back thrillers in Italy at the start of the month which both saw red flags.
Hamilton will have to wait until the Nurburgring in Germany next time out for a shot at matching Schumacher’s record.
Hamilton said: “”It wasn’t the greatest day but it is what it is.
“It doesn’t matter, it’s done now. I’ll take the points I’ve got and move on. Congratulations to Valtteri.”
Bottas added: ““It’s nice to get a win again. It’s been a while.
“I need to try and keep the momentum. There are still quite a few races to go so I’ll keep pushing and keep the pressure up.”