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Nigel Morris-Cotterill

It was in 2014, in Sochi, shortly after Russian-backed terrorists in Eastern Ukraine shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that Formula One granted Russian President Vladimir Putin a unique privilege: at the first Formula One race in Russia in modern times, he was allowed to go into the cool-down room and to talk to drivers, teams and officials. He had had special treatment throughout: drivers were required to come to the front of the grid and to stand for the Russian national anthem and he sat, in pride of place, next to the then undisputed boss of F1, Bernie Ecclestone. But the world didn't really care about one plane from a minor nation far away from the centres of commerce, industry...

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