Russian Grand Prix 2017: Valtteri Bottas wins his first F1 race ahead of Sebastian Vettel

Natasha Henry
Valtteri Bottas (centre) celebrates his first Grand Prix win with Sebastian Vettel (left) and Kimi Raikkonen (right) - Rex Features

Valtteri Bottas held his nerve to claim the first victory of his Formula One career as a frustrated Lewis Hamilton finished only fourth at the Russian Grand Prix.

Bottas led virtually every lap at the Sochi Autodrom after passing pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel at the start before holding off a late charge from the Ferrari driver in the closing stages.

Vettel crossed the line less than one second behind Bottas to extend his lead over Hamilton to 13 points.

Kimi Raikkonen completed the podium places while Hamilton, who has been mysteriously off colour all weekend, ended up a mammoth 36 seconds behind his team-mate.

Vettel was the overwhelming favourite to claim his third win from the opening four races after securing his first pole position in nearly two years, and with Raikkonen alongside him, Ferrari's first front-row lockout since France in 2008.

But it was Bottas, the Finnish driver who has replaced defending champion Nico Rosberg at Mercedes this year, fastest out of the blocks when the lights turned green.

Results | Russian Grand Prix

Bottas starting from third immediately pulled alongside Raikkonen before using the tow off Vettel's Ferrari to take the lead on the 220mph run down to turn two.

It was just what the doctor ordered after Bottas' disappointing showing in Bahrain a fortnight ago where he started from pole position but was ordered to move out of Hamilton's way before finishing a distant third.

For Hamilton, he started well, but was caught up in a Raikkonen-Daniel Ricciardo sandwich and had to settle for fourth in the opening exchanges. Indeed that is where he would finish on a desperately disappointing day for Britain's triple world champion.

It was a bad day again for Fernando Alonso - who failed to even start the race after his Honda engine packed up as the Spaniard made his way to the grid. And Britain's Jolyon Palmer had another day to forget.

Palmer, who crashed out of qualifying on Saturday, was in the wall at turn two, although it looked as though Romain Grosjean was at fault.

Valtteri Bottas wins his first Grand Prix ahead of Sebastian Vettel Credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images Europe

The Haas driver bumped into Palmer, who lost control of his Renault and then inadvertently took both he, and Grosjean out of the race.

"For f*** sake, I am out," Palmer bemoaned on the radio. "He [Grosjean] was too ambitious," Palmer added. "If you come in from the inside, it always bunches on the apex. I had cars outside me. I had to turn the corner and hope he used his brain."

The safety car was instantly deployed before returning to the pit lane at the end of lap three.

From there Bottas took charge, but Hamilton, in the sister Mercedes, was having a race to forget. The British driver, who has won two times in Sochi, was having trouble with the soaring temperatures on his Mercedes car.

"There's something wrong, I keep getting vibrations," Hamilton said. Later, he added: "Why is my car overheating, guys? I am out of the race now."

He was certainly out of contention for the victory, and despite getting to within two seconds of Raikkonen, never threatened the Ferrari driver for the final place on the podium. He finished 25.3 seconds behind the Finn.

At the front, Vettel stopped seven laps later than Bottas, in an attempt to leapfrog the Mercedes man. But despite ending the race on fresher tyres he was unable to get close enough to Bottas to prevent him from winning the first race of his grand prix career. Bottas is now just 10 points behind Hamilton in third place in the championship.

Max Verstappen finished fifth for Red Bull with Sergio Perez sixth. Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived midway through the race before taking his seat in an awkward sandwich between Bernie Ecclestone and Chase Carey, the American who deposed him as the sport's chairman.

Russian Grand Prix Results

 

3:18PM

A new winner

It may not be the result many expected but it paints a different picture on the season ahead of Spain and that's no bad thing. 

3:07PM

Look at the Mercedes bromance

Lewis Hamilton (right) congratulates Valtteri Bottas (left) Credit: Dunbar/LAT/REX/Shutterstock /Rex Features

3:02PM

The results are in

Russian Grand Prix Results 2:54PM

Congratulations Valtteri

It was great to see Lewis Hamilton go straight over and and congratulate his teammate at the earliest opportunity. Mercedes is clearly a happy home these days...

But this is Bottas' moment. Look at that smile! 

Valtteri Bottas lifts his first winner's trophy  Credit: Sky Sports F1

2:50PM

I think everyone is happy for him

 Is there a more universally liked driver on the circuit?

2:44PM

Here is your podium

Results | Russian Grand Prix 2:35PM

We have our winner!

Valtteri Bottas wins the Russian Grand Prix ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.

He becomes the 107th different winner in Formula One. 

Congratulations to the Finn. 

2:34PM

Lap 52 of 52

Massa is in between Bottas and Vettel and the Ferrari driver is not happy! 

"What was that?"

2:33PM

Lap 51 of 52

Bottas needs to get past Massa who is hoplding him up as he attempts to get away from the Ferrari of Vettel. 

2:32PM

Lap 51 of 52

The German gets the DRS open. Bottas needs to keep his calm to get his first win. He is closing in on the Mercedes, but wouldn't it be better for the Championship to see a different winner. 

2:31PM

Lap 50 of 52

Vettel can't seem to get in the DRS zone but he is cutting that gap as quickly as he can. 

Will it be the young upstart or the veteran standing on the top step at the end of the day. 

2:29PM

Lap 49 of 52

Vettel cuts the gap to 1.2s and you have to wonder how much that late stop wlll give the Ferrari the advantage. 

There is something on the track at turn five.  will this decide the race for them or will there be more drama? 

2:25PM

Lap 46 of 52

Bottas is remaining calm as we get into the last six laps of the race. Vettel is closing the gap but not within that 1s window to use his DRS. 

Bottas leads from Vettel, Raikkonen, Hamilton and Vertsappen. Perez, Ocon, Hulkenberg, Massa and Sainz make up the top ten. 

Stroll remains in 11th, followed by Kvyat, Magnusson, Vandoorne, Ericsson and Wehrlein. 

2:22PM

Lap 44 of 52

Is Bottas going to win his first ever Grand Prix? 

His Mercedes teammate is protecting the car. I never thought I'd see the day Hamilton would be settly for fourth. 

Massa has dropped down to ninth after a slow puncture and it's disappointing for the Williams driver who was comfortable in sixth. 

2:19PM

Lap 42 of 52

Vettel is now just 1.691 behind Bottas. Is the Mercedes in trouble or can he hold on?

2:18PM

Lap 41 of 52

Clearly Vettel feels like his fresher tyre's are going to give him the adavantage as we have just 11 laps left. 

It feels like the podium is confirmed, with Hamilton over 13s behind Raikkonen in fourth. 

This track isn't known for its overtaking, so it's hard to see ,much changing between now and then.

2:15PM

Lap 39 of 52

Vettel is closing down on Bottas with those fresh tyres and the gap is down to 2.385s. 

The Ferrari driver is not looking to give the race win up without a fight. 

Hulkenberg is the only driver that hasn't stopped as we near lap 40. I'm not sure if it's smart of silly...

2:12PM

Lap 38 of 52

Can't help but feel this is a straight shoot-out between Bottas and Vettel with Raikkonen 6.3s behind his teammate. 

I did predict only one Mercedes would make the podium this week, I just picked the wrong one. 

But this is F1, anything could happen. 

2:10PM

Lap 36 of 52

It feels like Hamilton is out of the podium race today as he's 22.765s behind his teammate who leads the race. 

I think we should send our prayers to Bono, his race engineer. 

Russian Grand Prix at lap 36 Credit: formula1.com

2:07PM

Lap 35 of 52

Vettel pits this time and Bottas regains the lead. Somehow he comes out ahead of his teammate and he is gunning for the Mercedes. 

Bottas leads from Vettel, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Vertsappen, Hulkenberg, Massa, Perez, Ocon and Sainz.

Stroll is 11th with Kvyat, Magnusson, Vandoorne, Ericsson and Wehrlein making up the 16 cars still involved. 

2:04PM

Lap 34 of 52

No he is not. Vettel is still out on track. 

If this doesn't work, well...

2:03PM

Lap 33 of 52

Remember that Vettel has to pit because they have to use two different tyre's. 

Raikkonen didn't realise that it was Bottas leading the race and not Hamilton which says a lot about the way things normally are. 

Vettel is coming in....

2:00PM

Lap 31 of 52

Vettel has been told to stay out by his engineer. The German driver has to maintain these speeds if it is going to work to his advantage with a 19.573s gap between him and Bottas. 

1:59PM

It's Hammer time

The Brit is on his way into the pits and that leaves Vettel as the only car of the top four not to change yet. 

1:57PM

Lap 30 of 52

Raikkonen is in the pits which is a surprise because the driver that leads normally comes in first. 

Vettel and Hamilton are still yet to stop. 

1:56PM

Lap 29 of 52

Verstappen sits in fifth with Hulkenberg, Massa, Perez, Ocon and Sainz making up the top ten. 

Then we have Stroll, Kvyat, Magnusson, Vandoorne, Ericsson and Wehrlein. 

1:55PM

Lap 28 of 52

Ferrari are trying to take advantage of Bottas' pit-stop but he has the back-markers to get around. 

Vettel leads from Raikkonen, Hamilton and Bottas.

1:53PM

Lap 27 of 52

Ocon is in the pits and the supersoft tyres are the boots of choice. 

Bottas is pitting.

1:52PM

Who will jump first?

None of the top four have pitted and you have to wonder who will take the initiative and possibly, the advantage. 

1:51PM

Ricciardo's brakes

This picture explains why his race is over. 

Ricciardo's burning brakes Credit: Sky Sports F1

1:50PM

Lap 25 of 52

Hamilton is extremely chatty today. 

Bottas is being held up by the back markers who eventually move out of the way. 

1:48PM

Lap 24 to 52

It seems that Hamilton's problems are less of a problem. Vettel's lap times are improving, is he getting ready to pit or are his tyres in better condition than the others. 

Also, it seems like everyone has blisters. 

1:47PM

It's pit time

We wait to see who will take the best advantage of their rivals stopping. 

Perez and Ocon are now up to sixth and seventh. 

 

1:46PM

Provisional places

1:45PM

Lap 22 of 52

Verstappen is having problems with blisters on his tyres so we can expect him to pit soon before it becomes a problem. 

Vettel has also admitted to having the same problem. 

Massa stops and rejoins the race in 10th.

1:43PM

Lap 21 of 52

Mercedes tell Hamilton that Bottas is also having the same issues but he has the benefit of being in free air as the Finn leads Vettel by 5.6s at the end of lap 20. 

 

1:40PM

Pirelli latest

Complete choice of when to stop means the teams are in far more control nd we may see who are the master tacticians. 

1:39PM

Lap 18 of 52

There is a gap of 14s between Hamilton in fourth and Verstappen in fifth. 

The top four looks decided already, but there are still plenty of points to race for. 

1:37PM

Lap 17 of 52

Bottas is now 4.519s ahead of Vettel, but the Ferrari man has just set the fastest lap. 

If it stays like this it could blow the Championship race wide open. 

Raikkonen is a further 4.5s behind his teammate and Hamilton a further 4s back. 

1:35PM

Mercedes problems

Engineers: "Okay Lewis, we are hot on temps."

Hamilton: "Why is my car overheating guys? I'm out of this race..."

I can tell you that his tone is not a happy one and he is now 12.570s behind his teammate and race leader. 

1:32PM

Lap 14 of 52

Despite the Ferrari being so much faster for most of the weekend, they can't seem to close the gap to Bottas. 

The Finn leads from Vettel, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Verstappen, , Massa, Perez, Ocon, Hulkenberg and Magnusson. 

Sainz is 11th and followed by Kvyat, Stroll, Vandoorne, Wehrlein and Ericsson.

1:30PM

Out so far

At lap 13 we've already lost Alonso - who didn't start, Ricciardo, Palmer and Grosjean.

1:30PM

Palmer is not happy

After failing to complete another race he feels he wasn't at fault.

1:28PM

Lap 12 of 52

Hamilton not happy with his P4 as this power issue continues and he's now 9.566s behind Bottas. 

1:27PM

Lap 11 of 52

Magnusson: "Did you talk to Charlie [Whiting]? It cannot be right!"

The Haas driver is referring to a 5s penalty for breaking the track limit rules. 

His team basically tell him to deal with it. In the nicest way possible. 

Vandoorne also has one for the same discrepancy. 

1:25PM

Mercedes winning the social media game at the moment

1:24PM

Lap 9 of 52

Bottas continues to increase his lead and he is now 3.147s ahead of Vettel. 

Great race for Force India so far with Perez and Ocon in seventh and eighth, respectively. 

Local boy Kvyat is down in 12th.

1:23PM

Ham in trouble

Hamilton seems to be having problems with his power unit. they're asking him to cool the car which obviously means less power. 

He is already 7.818s behind his teammate who leads the race. 

1:22PM

Lap 8 of 52

There will be no further action regarding Stroll and Hulkenberg. 

1:19PM

Ricciardo is out!

The Red Bull  mechanics tell the Australian that it is terminal. 

1:19PM

Lap 6 of 52

Here is how they look at the start of lap six. 

Lap six standings Credit: formula1.com

1:16PM

Lap 5 of 52

Ricciardo has a problem! His right rear brake is on fire. 

That will likely be the end of his race as he limps back to the garage. 

1:15PM

Another investigation

The incident involving Stroll and Hulkenberg will be looked at.

1:15PM

Lap 4 of 52

There are the green flags and Bottas took advantage of the clean side of the track at the start. Although it was surprising to see Vettel's weak fight to hold onto his lead. 

1:14PM

Safety car

It will be coming in now. Lap 3

1:13PM

Watching the replay

Hamilton was basically the filling in a triple-decker sandwich with Red Bull and Ferrari the break or gluten-free substitute. 

1:11PM

Lap 3 of 52

We have a safety car and the incidents at turn two are under investigation. 

Btw, we should thank Palmer for answering my question so early. 

Stroll also spun on the track but looks like he will continue his race. 

Bottas leads from Vettel, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Verstappen and Massa. This restart is going to be fun. 

1:10PM

What a start

We only have 17 cars on the track, Alonso didn't start. 

Hamilton and Bottas were all over Raikkonen, the Finn in the Mercedes took the lead at turn two but Hamilton couldn't get the jump on his rivals. 

Palmer and Grosjean are out after the Brit crashed into the Haas.

It is all going on. 

1:08PM

Lap 1 of 52

Bottas is in the lead on the long straight and the Mercedes were on the Ferrari straight away. 

We are getting a safety car after Grosjean and Palmer make contact on the track at turn two. 

1:06PM

LIGHTS OUT

And we are off!

1:04PM

Seriously?

Alonso is already out of his car and we have an extra formation lap. this is getting silly now and you can't help but feel for him. 

Fernando Alonso leaves his stricken McLaren on the track Credit: Sky Sports F1

1:02PM

Some information from Pirelli

This will work for Bottas, in particular...

1:01PM

Formation lap

The cars are off on their formation lap and thankfully everyone - including the McLaren's - get away. Although Alonso is suggesting he already has problems. 

Yes, already!

1:00PM

Oh Fernando!

McLaren mechanic: "Try again Fernando."

Alonso: "I've tried already. Try yourself."

12:59PM

Tyres

Wehrlein, Ericsson and Vandoorne are the only cars on the super softs, everyone is on the ultra and we only expect a one-stop race. 

12:57PM

Massa is ready

12:56PM

Five minutes until lights out

I'm ready. I hope you are. And we all hope the driver's are.

Get comfortable and get excited because we could be in for a cracker. 

12:52PM

Ten minutes to go

I dunno about you but I am ready for the race to start. I have so many questions.

  • Will Vettel win for the first time in Russia?
  • Can the Mercedes take advantage of that long straight at the start?
  • Will Palmer finish a race?
  • Will we see a crash?
  • Will we see something other than a one-stop strategy?
  • will the Red Bull of Verstappen last the race after their patch job?
  • Will Toto Wolff bang another table?

12:40PM

The cars are on the grid

20 minutes until lights out so it may be the perfect time to get your drinks, get your snacks and get comfortable before the fun starts. 

12:32PM

Your starting grid ladies and gentlemen

Here is how the grid will look at the start of the Russian Grand Prix

Starting grid at the Russian GP Credit: Formula1.com

NOTE: Sainz penalised three grid places for causing a collision at the previous round. Vandoorne penalised 15 places for use of additional power unit elements. 

12:30PM

The pitlane is open

This is your 30 minute warning for the fourth race of the 2017 season at Russia's Sochi Autodrom. 

12:27PM

Toto Wolff on why the Mercedes weren't as fast as the Ferraris

"Because they had the quicker car..." 

"We have a very quick car but she's a bit diff at times, like many of the good ladies. We have all the ingredients to be very strong."

12:18PM

A relaxed Vettel ahead of the race

I wonder if he's listening to 'The Bangles - Walk Like an Egyptian' again....

Will we see more Dad dancing on the podium this weekend?

Sebastian Vettel ahead of the race in Sochi Credit: ANDREJ ISAKOVIC /AFP

12:15PM

Some Sochi info for you

The Sochi Autodrom is holding it fourth post-war race and Mercedes have won the previous three. Hamilton won the first two, before Nico Rosberg led from the front last year. Prior to today, they have led all 159 laps at the circuit.

The race will consist of 53 laps,with 18 turns and two DRS zones.

Rosberg holds the in-race lap record of 1:39.094, which he achieved last year.

Sochi Autodrom circuit Credit: Formula1.com

It's a semi-permanent track and is more like the street circuits of Monaco and the like, with those right-hand turns.

It's fair to say that surviving that long straight and run from turn one to turn two  could set a driver up for a good start to the race. 

12:07PM

Who do you think will win?

There is still time to vote for the driver you think will be smiling at the end of the race

12:05PM

Christian Horner on Verstappen's issue

Horner said: "Unfortunately we got a water leak and hopefully the guys have come up with a fix. they're working hard to make sure it's race fit. It's like getting the car through an MOT..."

"We had to take the engine out last night, which was new for today, so Max has gone back to his old engine..."

It will be interesting to see if Verstappen can drag his car through the Sochi version of an MOT.

11:55AM

F1 fans enjoying their day

Some interesting outfits in Sochi Credit: Dan Istitene /Getty Images Europe 

11:53AM

Predict the podium

There is still time to challenge me and pick your top three for the end of the day. Leave your predictions here.

11:50AM

After three races

Ahead of today, this is how they stand:

11:48AM

Verstappen update

It appears that the leak is being dealt with and they won't have to change the engine which will be a relief for the Red Bull team and the driver, who has admitted he only expects to finish as high as fifth. 

11:39AM

Track parade underway

It looks like Vettel and Hamilton are taking the Joshua and Klitschko stance to competition.

11:37AM

More misery for Max

We've just heard that Max Vertsappen may be facing an engine change after a leak was found. We'll bring you more as we know it. 

It has not been the best start to the season for Red Bull, outside of china when Verstappen came third.

11:34AM

Saturday recap from Sochi

In case you missed it, here's a little reminder of what happened yesterday...

Sebastian Vettel stormed to pole position for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday, ending a run of 18 poles for Mercedes.

Vettel, the Formula One leader, shaved 0.059 seconds off his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen's leading time, claiming his, and Ferrari's, first pole since September 2015.

The German will be looking to claim his third win of the season on Sunday and extend his seven-point standings lead over Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

The Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton qualified third and fourth respectively after failing to dislodge Vettel with their last-lap efforts. In a sign of how far ahead the top two teams are compared to the rest, Hamilton was more than a second faster than fifth-placed Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull.

The Sochi track has previously suited Mercedes, which had been looking to strike back at Ferrari after Vettel won the last race in Bahrain.

Still, Bottas feels he and Hamilton could ambush the Ferraris at the first corner on Sunday.

Vettel suggested on Friday that Mercedes was concealing its true pace after Ferrari led the time charts in practice. Despite failing to make the front row, Bottas and Hamilton did close the gap to Ferrari - with Bottas just .095 off Vettel's time.

Vettel's pole sets the stage for a much more competitive Russian race than any of the previous editions, which were all battles within the dominant Mercedes team.

The driver on pole has won two of the three Russian F1 races so far, the exception being in 2015 when Nico Rosberg retired with a throttle problem, handing victory to Hamilton.

Jolyon Palmer endured a miserable day, qualifying 16th after he lost control on a curb and crashed into the barrier. That was scant reward for his Renault mechanics, who earlier rushed to change the engine on Palmer's car when the previous power unit failed in the third practice.

11:30AM

Good morning

Hello and welcome to the lap-by-lap coverage of the Russian Grand Prix. 

After yesterday's dramatic qualifying I think we could be in for an exciting day. 

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