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Hamilton's record bid fades after double penalty

Formula One F1 - Russian Grand Prix - Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia - September 27, 2020. Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton wears a shirt in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign before the race. Pool via REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

(Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton’s bid for a record-equalling 91st career Formula One win took a huge hit at the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday after stewards imposed two five-second penalties for practice start infringements.

Stewards had notified the Mercedes driver, who was on pole at Sochi, before the start that he was under investigation.

“What happened? What happened?,” exclaimed the Briton when told of the decision. “Where is that in the rule book?”

Hamilton pitted after 17 laps and dropped from the lead to 11th place.

“This is just ridiculous,” he said over the team radio.

Hamilton’s team mate and closest rival Valtteri Bottas, 55 points behind in the standings after nine races, was leading.

Hamilton is one victory away from matching the all-time win record of Ferrari great Michael Schumacher.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, Editing by Ed Osmond