Bottas claims maiden GP winposted in F130 | 04 | 2017

    FINN VALTTERI BOTTAS proved he shouldn’t simply be considered the No2 driver, behind Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes-Benz, when he delivered a masterclass in Russia to win his first Formula 1 Grand Prix.

    Starting from third on the grid behind the two Ferraris of championship leader Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, Bottas made a blistering start to lead into the first corner.

    And despite coming under intense pressure from the fast-charging Vettel towards the end of the race, as Bottas’ pace dropped after flat-spotting his tyres, he held on to clinch an impressive win.

    Bottas-Wins-RussiaGP-2.jpg

    The win came in the 81st grand prix of Bottas career, which had previously produced 11 podium finishes without victory. The Finn only joined Mercedes this year, replacing world champ Nico Rosberg, having spent four years at Williams.

    "I felt good, but it's a little bit surreal the first win and hopefully the first of many," Bottas said after celebrating on the podium with the Ferrari duo.

    Bottas-Wins-RussiaGP-3.jpg

    "It was definitely one of my best races ever, so it's a good feeling and I am happy."

    Bottas acknowledged his pace dropped after he locked-up during the second stint at Turn 13, briefly running off the track, but despite the extreme pressure in the closing stages he said the stress was not too bad.

    Bottas-Wins-RussiaGP-4.jpg

    "It was OK, the main thing was the lapped cars, trying to get past those," the Finn explained.

    "With these new cars, we lose more downforce when two seconds, three seconds behind, so it was tricky to get close and pass them without losing time.

    "I was not happy on a few occasions and I had one lock-up with 10-15 laps to go, which hurt the pace a bit, but other than that it was OK.

    Bottas-Wins-RussiaGP-5.jpg

    "I did ask for radio silence from the pitwall for me to get on it and get focused."

    "I always knew I could get good results if everything goes right and I always trust in my ability. But it's nice to get confirmation that the results are possible. It's good to continue from here."

    F1 — Russian Grand Prix, Sochi Autodrom (Result):

    1. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes - Mercedes 51 laps

    2. Sebastian Vettel GER Ferrari - Ferrari +0.617s

    3. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Ferrari - Ferrari +11.000s

    4. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes - Mercedes +36.320s

    5. Max Verstappen NED Red Bull - TAG +1m 00.416s

    6. Sergio Perez MEX Force India-Mercedes +1m 26.788s

    7. Esteban Ocon FRA Force India-Mercedes +1m 35.004s

    8. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault - Renault +1m 36.188s

    9. Felipe Massa BRA Williams - Mercedes +1 lap

    10. Carlos Sainz ESP Toro Rosso-Renault +1 lap

    11. Lance Stroll CAN Williams - Mercedes +1 lap

    12. Daniil Kvyat RUS Toro Rosso-Renault +1 lap

    13. Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas-Ferrari +1 lap

    14. Stoffel Vandoorne BEL McLaren-Honda +1 lap

    15. Marcus Ericsson SWE Sauber - Ferrari +1 lap

    16. Pascal Wehrlein GER Sauber - Ferrari +2 laps

    Retirements

    17. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull - TAG 5 laps completed

    18. Jolyon Palmer GBR Renault - Renault 0 laps completed

    19. Romain Grosjean FRA Haas-Ferrari 0 laps completed

    20. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren-Honda DNS

    Related: Jenson Button returns for Monaco GP

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    Jim McGill

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