SOCHI, Russia — Nico Rosberg cruised to victory in the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday as his title rival, Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, dodged crashes to finish second.
Rosberg has won all four of this season's races and seven in a row dating to 2015.
Rosberg played down his 43-point championship lead, noting that there are 21 races.
"Lewis is going to come back of course," Rosberg said. "He's on it and as motivated as ever. So, early days."
Hamilton fought through the field after starting 10th.
Already up to fifth after a first lap in which Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel crashed out, Hamilton passed both Williams cars and the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen to take and hold second. Raikkonen finished third.
Rosberg is within two of the series record for consecutive victories — Sebastian Vettel won nine in a row in 2013 — and tied Alberto Ascari and Michael Schumacher for second on the list. If he wins the Spanish Grand Prix, May 15 in Barcelona, Rosberg will tie the record for consecutive wins to start a season, held by Nigel Mansell (1992) and Schumacher (2004).
NHRA: Courtney Force earned her first Funny Car victory this season at the Springnationals in Baytown, Texas, beating Tim Wilkerson in the final with a run of 3.913 seconds at 327.9 mph. Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) also won their classes.
East Bay Raceway: Kyle Bronson won both the Late Model and Open Wheel Modified features Saturday in Gibsonton.