Published: Tue, May 09, 2017
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

Valtteri Bottas: First Formula One win feels 'surreal'

Valtteri Bottas says that Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton could become a rival as the season starts to gather pace.

Bottas doesn't go in for wild celebration, but he radiated calm satisfaction with a job well done. Red Bull is a distant third with 57 points.

The Sochi Autodrom has known nothing but Mercedes victories since it began hosting the Russian Grand Prix in 2014.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton said he was mystified by his lack of pace in the Russian Grand Prix. "More than 80 races but worth the wait. Thanks so much to the team and the factory". Tell us in the comment section below.

Wolff says the troubles that befell Lewis Hamilton in Russian Federation are reason enough for them to work hard in the gap between this weekend and the Spanish Grand Prix in two weeks time in order to see him return to the front of the field. Nevertheless, both are fierce competitors and want to win races and fight for a championship but I don't think it will affect the team and the dynamic like it did with Nico. His win shows it's not clear-cut who's better suited to take the fight to Ferrari.

As a result, although Mercedes holds a one-point lead in the constructors' championship, Vettel leads Hamilton by 13 in the drivers' title race as the teams prepare for the introduction of major upgrade packages at the Spanish Grand Prix on May 14.

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As the checkered flag loomed, so did Vettel in the Finn's rearview mirrors, but lapped traffic on the final lap got in the way of the four-time World Champion and spoiled any chance at overtaking-though he later admitted it likely never would have come.

The British driver, who has won two times in Sochi, was having trouble with the soaring temperatures on his Mercedes auto.

Max Verstappen was out on his own, too, in fifth, well adrift of the leading quartet but comfortably ahead of Force India's Sergio Perez.

The safety auto was then deployed after a collision between Renault's Jolyon Palmer and Haas's Romain Grosjean put both out, and the race settled down into a procession before the nail-biting finale.

McLaren's Fernando Alonso is still yet to reach the checkered flag this season after his vehicle broke down on the formation lap.

Hamilton and the Ferrari drivers were quick to congratulate the 27-year-old on his maiden victory, with Vettel describing him as the "man of the race".

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