McLaren’s Norris slid off the sodden track with just two laps remaining as the rain fell hard at the Sochi Autodrom, leaving the door open for reigning world champion Hamilton to go on and become F1’s very first winning centurion.
Norris had gambled by choosing to stay out on slick tyres amid the rain, with Mercedes’ decision to switch Hamilton onto wet tyres with just four laps to go proving decisive.
Championship rival Max Verstappen fought back admirably from starting at the back of the grid after engine penalties to take second place, with Carlos Sainz – who overtook pole-sitter Norris on the first lap – third for Ferrari ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas and Fernando Alonso, with Norris eventually having to settle for seventh place and a point for the fastest lap, though he faces a likely trip to the race stewards for a late pit-lane infringement after losing the lead.
“It has taken a long time to get to 100 and I wasn’t sure whether it would come,” said Hamilton, who now leads Verstappen by two points in the championship battle with seven races left on the 2021 schedule.
“Lando did such an amazing job, he is doing a great job for McLaren, and it was bittersweet to see my old team ahead.
“But my team made a great call right at the end. I didn’t want to let Lando go and I didn’t know what the weather was going to do. Wow. One hundred.”
He added: “It would have been tough to get past Lando but the rain came and we were opportunistic.
“It is also a dream result for Max.”