Bottas fends off Vettel to take maiden F1 victory

Russian Grand Prix – Valtteri Bottas took his maiden Formula One victory despite a late charge from Sebastian Vettel.

The Finn took the lead off the line from the second row of the grid, slipstreaming past the two Ferraris on the run into the first braking zone at Turn 2.

Bottas eked out an advantage of four seconds over polesitter Vettel, but an error after his pit stop that caused him to go wide at Turn 13 was the cue the championship leader needed to begin closing the gap.

Vettel mounted a challenge on tyres that were seven laps younger than his rival and got within DRS range, but could not get close enough to overtake which meant Bottas became the fifth Finnish F1 winner.

Kimi Raikkonen made it a double Ferrari podium, while Lewis Hamilton continued to struggle for pace against his team mate with his first non-podium finish of the season, meaning he lingers 13 points behind Vettel in the drivers’ championship.

Max Verstappen had a water leak before the start of the race which needed a quick fix from the Red Bull mechanics. That did not stop Verstappen taking fifth after beating his team mate Daniel Ricciardo off the start line.

The Australian did not get much further into the race, however, as his right-rear brake caught fire after only four laps.

Force India took another double points finish with Sergio Perez in sixth ahead of Esteban Ocon. They extend their championship advantage over Williams after Lance Stroll spun at Turn 5 on the opening lap, and Felipe Massa needed a second pit stop after suffering a slow puncture which dropped him to ninth having run ahead of the Force Indias for much of the race.

Nico Hulkenberg extended his first stint to chase down his rivals on fresher tyres in the closing .Sp5rl!47rs, but was unable to make the gains necessary and finished eighth. Carlos Sainz completed the top ten.

Kevin Magnussen received a five second time penalty for exceeding track limits at Turn 2, dropping him from outside of the points. Team mate Romain Grosjean was out of the race after contact with Jolyon Palmer on the first lap, meaning Haas leave Sochi with no points scored.

Fernando Alonso was yet to finish a race going into this weekend, but did not even make it to the starting grid this time. He reported that his hybrid systems were not charging on the formation lap, and stopped at the entry to the pit lane, causing an aborted start.

Click here to see the results of the race.

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Chris Stevens

Chris is a member of the Autosport Academy and has been writing about motorsport professionally since 2015. He has been one of the top Formula E journalists since he went to Donington Park for pre-season testing a week after picking up his A-Level results.

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