Valtteri Bottas delivered his maiden Formula One race win after edging Ferrari pair Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen at the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi. The Fin jumped pole sitter Vettel off the line and led for every lap before cruising to victory, as Mercedes recaptured the lead in the constructors' championship.
Vettel piled on the pressure late, but Bottas kept his cool to become the third different winner from the opening four races of the 2017 campaign. But it was an otherwise frustrating day for Lewis Hamilton, who now trails Vettel by 13 points in the title race and finished fourth amid a string of technical issues.
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was forced into a second retirement of the season after his breaks caught fire but team-mate Max Verstappen finished fifth ahead of Sergio Perez.
The top 10 was completed by Esteban Ocon, Nico Hülkenberg, Felipe Massa and Carlos Sainz in a race of few overtakes and a little incident.
Jolyon Palmer and Romain Grosjean collided on the second corner, forcing both to retire and the early deployment of a safety car. Yet the remainder of the race passed without any further drama, allowing Bottas to ease to victory.
"It's difficult to explain the feeling – it's a little bit surreal," said Bottas. "It is the first one, and all the work that has gone into achieving this is amazing. Now I have my first, hopefully, it is the first of many in F1 now that I know how to do it – I think today I proved I can win to the team and also myself.
"I never doubted my skills, but it gives me a lot of confidence, so I'm only expecting better races from here. I'm just keen to prove more in the next few races. "It was a tough race again today with Ferrari, but we managed to stay in front," Bottas added. "Ferrari are going to be the challenge.
"The last 10 laps I was asking for radio silence – that helped as I could focus on the driving itself. I was just trying to get the most out of every lap, and the main thing was the backmarkers really – getting through the traffic, not losing too much time or having accidents with them."
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