Bottas claims maiden win for Mercedes ahead of Vettel

Lewis Hamilton was left puzzling a "very odd weekend" after struggling to fourth place in Sunday's Russian Grand Prix while Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas celebrated his first Formula One victory.

"Lewis was one of the first to congratulate Valtteri on his first race victory and that shows the respect they have towards each other".

While Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas produced a brilliant performance to secure his maiden F1 win at Sochi, Hamilton struggled with a lack of balance and an overheating vehicle in fourth place.

The Finn looked on course for a straightforward win until a rare slip saw him damage a tire. After Bottas leapfrogged both Ferraris at the start, it seemed for a time that the Scuderia wasn't sure what to do-or worse, that it would once again massively mess up the strategy in the way it had been prone to do in 2016.

The strongest showings of the day were Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel with 1.33.194 and his team mate Kimi Raikkonen delivering a 1:33.253.

"It took more than 80 races but it was worth it, well worth the learning curve", Bottas said.

"This unusual opportunity came to me over the winter and I have to thank the team for making this possible".

"But, I don't know what happened".

"It doesn't matter", Vettel said of the incident with Massa. "This is the man of the race today, big congrats to Valtteri".


Hamilton slipped 13 points behind Sebastian Vettel in the standings, who consolidated his lead with second place.

Raikkonen finished third while Red Bull's Max Verstappen completed the top five.

"Why is my auto overheating? We're out of the race now", Hamilton told his team on lap 16.

Valtteri Bottas has hinted that his good-natured relationship with Lewis Hamilton could come under threat after he slashed the deficit to his Mercedes team-mate in the championship.

"For f*** sake, I am out", Palmer bemoaned on the radio.

In other F1 news, it's been confirmed that Sauber will switch from Ferrari to Honda for supply of its power units starting from the 2018 season.

Bottas held his nerve in a nail-biting ending at the Sochi Autodrome - with Vettel crossing the line just 0.6 seconds behind the Finnish driver - to move to within 10 points of Hamilton, and in doing so, firmly throw his crash helmet into the championship ring. Both Force India's of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon took sixth and seventh, respectively, while Hulkenberg finished eighth in his Renault, changing his tires very late in the race. Also retiring early from the race was Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo, who had to deal with a brake failure.

Felipe Massa brushed off Sebastian Vettel's blocking complaint at the end of Sunday's Formula 1 race in Russian Federation, saying the Ferrari driver stood no chance of catching race victor Valtteri Bottas at the front of the pack.

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