Hamilton could become rival - Bottas

Lynette Rowe
May 13, 2017

Vettel was the overwhelming favourite to claim his third win from the opening four races after securing his first pole position in almost two years, and with Raikkonen alongside him, Ferrari's first front-row lockout since France in 2008. The duo delivered an enthralling race after Bottas took the lead on the first lap.In a spectacular opening lap, Mercedes pilot Valtteri Bottas got off to the ideal start to take an immediate lead. Now I just want to do it again.

Team orders weren't a factor among the Mercedes camp at the end of Sunday's Formula One Russian Grand Prix, with teammate Lewis Hamilton almost half a minute back from leader Valtteri Bottas in fourth. Third place on the podium went to Kimi Raikkonen. Raikkonen has always been nicknamed "The Iceman" for his cool demeanor, but Bottas showed he can be just as chilled.

The Finn further hoped that he can now kick on and become a regular contender for the top step of the podium. He was out-paced by Bottas in qualifying and was never a factor in the race at the front as he fell behind his teammate and the Ferraris. I don't know whether I would have been able to make a big difference moving forwards or not.

Just like Raikkonen, Bottas can occasionally get irritated by well-meaning advice from his team over the radio, and that happened Sunday.

"A fantastic first win for Valtteri this afternoon and an wonderful day for him", said Wolff. "Nice and quiet, and that helped".

Bottas joined Mercedes over the winter following the retirement of world champion Nico Rosberg.

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Last year's champion, Nico Rosberg, raced as a German but is the son of 1982 champion Keke.

The victory also maintains the Mercedes stranglehold on Sochi: they remain the only team to have won the race since it was first held in 2014. 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.

"To win the first grand prix.is always the most hard one", Lauda told reporters.

The Prancing Horse has set itself up very well for a great result in the Russian Formula 1 this weekend at the Sochi Autodrom.

This year's victor of the Russian F1 GP is Valtteri Bottas, who joined Mercedes this season coming from Williams.

Vettel retained hope of catching and overtaking Bottas right until the last lap, but Bottas' former Williams team-mate Massa refused to let the four-time world champion past, with contact between the two effectively ensuring a maiden F1 victory for the Finn.

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