Bottas holds off Vettel to claim breakthrough win

Tom Howard

Sunday 30th April, 2017 - 11:52pm

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Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas held his nerve under immense pressure to see off a charging Sebastian Vettel to score his maiden Formula 1 race victory at the Russian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver controlled the majority of the encounter having jumped from third to first on the run to the first corner.

Bottas briefly lost the lead mid-race to the pole-sitting Ferrari of Vettel who elected to run a longer first stint in a bid to overcut the Finn.

The strategy provided a grandstand finish as Vettel, on fresher super-soft rubber, reeled in Bottas in the final laps.

Despite Vettel closing in, Bottas kept his cool to lead the four-time world champion to the chequered flag for a breakthrough win.

Vettel was left to rue having to navigate lapped traffic in final two laps.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen completed the podium in third while Lewis Hamilton struggled with overheating issues that restricted the Mercedes driver to fourth.

As a result, Vettel has opened up his championship lead over Hamilton to 13 points with Bottas 10 points further back in third.

Meanwhile, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen capitalised on a strong start to leap from seventh to fifth at the first at the corner, which he held throughout the 52 lap journey.

The result came after his crew had to fix a water leak on his RB13 prior to the race.

However, team-mate Daniel Ricciardo suffered his second retirement of the season when a rear brake issue forced him out of the race in the early laps while in seventh position.

Force India enjoyed another solid performance with Sergio Perez finishing sixth ahead of team-mate Esteban Ocon.

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg also elected to run a long stint, which helped him to eighth ahead of Williams’ Felipe Massa, who sacrificed a likely sixth place finish after incurring a slow puncture.

Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz rounded out the top 10 ahead of rookie Lance Stroll (Williams), who scored his first race finish in F1.

It proved to be yet another woeful raceday for McLaren with Fernando Alonso coming to a halt on the formation lap after an ERS issue. The situation prompted an aborted start.

Team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne managed to bring his McLaren home in 14th position.

Renault’s Jolyon Palmer and Romain Grosjean (Haas F1) joined Alonso on the list of retirements.

The pair collided at the opening corner, following the start, resulting in damage on both cars.

The incident, which brought out the Safety Car, was set to be investigated by the stewards after the race.

Result: Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix

Position Driver Car Gap
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 52 laps
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.617s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 11.000s
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 36.320s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1:00.416s
6 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1:26.788s
7 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1:35.004s
8 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:36.188s
9 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1 Lap
10 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Renault 1 Lap
11 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1 Lap
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Renault 1 Lap
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1 Lap
14 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Honda 1 Lap
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1 Lap
16 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber/Ferrari 1 Lap
DNF Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault Brakes
DNF Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari Collision
DNS Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda Not started
DNF Jolyon Palmer Renault Collision

Championship Standings

Position Driver Points
1 Sebastian Vettel 86
2 Lewis Hamilton 73
3 Valtteri Bottas 63
4 Kimi Raikkonen 49
5 Max Verstappen 35
6 Daniel Ricciardo 22
7 Sergio Perez 22
8 Felipe Massa 18
9 Carlos Sainz 11
10 Esteban Ocon 9
11 Nico Hulkenberg 6
12 Romain Grosjean 4
13 Kevin Magnussen 4
14 Daniil Kvyat 2
15 Pascal Wehrlein 0
16 Lance Stroll 0
17 Antonio Giovinazzi 0
18 Jolyon Palmer 0
19 Stoffel Vandoorne 0
20 Fernando Alonso 0
21 Marcus Ericsson 0