Russian Grand Prix: Valtteri Bottas takes first career win
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News April 30, 2017 Updated: 11:58 PM
SOCHI, Russia -- Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas took his first Formula One career win, holding off Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the closing laps of the Russian Grand Prix
Bottas takes his first win after 81 Grand Prix as he joins other fellow Finnish race winners such as Kimi Raikkonen, Heikki Kovalainen, KeKe Rosberg and Mika Häkkinen. Heikki Kovalainen was the last Finn to take his maiden F1 win back at the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix.
"It’s going to take a while to sink in. Normally I’m not that emotional but hearing the Finnish national anthem was very special for me. It’s all a bit surreal, the first win and hopefully the first of many. It was definitely one of my best races ever. The pressure from Sebastian wasn’t too bad; the main issue was with the lapped cars, trying to get past those. It was tricky to pass them without losing time. I also had a lockup with about 15 laps to go that hurt the pace, but it was manageable. I asked for a bit of radio silence just to get on it and focus. I’m sure this victory will give me lots of confidence going forward," Bottas said.
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, who finished in second just 0.6s behind Bottas, still maintains his lead in the driver's championship by 13 points. Vettel's teammate Kimi Raikkonen took third as just 1 point separates Mercedes and Ferrari in the constructor's' championship.
Lewis Hamilton, who finished fourth, said "it was a very tough weekend." After struggling with his car all weekend, things worsened when he was hindered by an overheating issue throughout most of the race.
"I just wasn’t quick enough. I’ve never had cooling issues like that before but it meant I was out of the race from the get-go. I think I had the pace to fight with Kimi, but the car just kept overheating. Ultimately, if I had better pace then I would have been further up. At least I got some good points for the team. I’m just hopeful that I can pick up the pace at the next race," he said.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen finished fifth as teammate Daniel Ricciardo was forced to retire due to a rear brake issue. Force India had another impressive result with both cars once again finishing in the points as Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon finished sixth and seventh.
Renault's Nico Hulkenberg finished eighth ahead of Williams' Felipe Massa who was forced into the pits due to a slow puncture leaving him to finish ninth. Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz finished 10th.
Massa's teammate Lance Stroll made his first career finish after crossing the line in 11th. Sainz' teammate Daniil Kvyat ended the day 12th ahead of Haas' Kevin Magnussen in 13th. After receiving a five-second pit stop penalty for exceeding track limits early in the race, Magnussen said "We’ve had some strong weekends in the first three races, then not so strong this weekend for some reason."
McLaren-Honda's Stoffel Vandoorne, who started the weekend with a 15-place grid penalty, ended 14th ahead of Sauber drivers Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein in 15th and 16th.
The final talking point of the day has to be before the race started when Fernando Alonso's McLaren-Honda suffered an ERS issue during the formation lap which ended his day before it even started.