Mercedes Valtteri Bottas has taken his first Grand Prix victory after withstanding the pressure from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the closing stages of the Russian Grand Prix.
The Finn who started third got the jump on the Ferrari’s following an aborted start to lead before the safety car came out following a contact between Renault’s Jolyon Palmer and Haas’s Romain Grosjean. The Frenchman tried to get down the inside of Palmer when he had already committed to the corner.
The crash will be investigated after the race but the stewards decided not to take any further action, but Grosjean’s censored radio message after the incident made it clear where the Frenchman believed who was to blame.
But that didn’t phase Bottas who was under pressure at the start, he clearly showed that he was in control. Ferrari and Mercedes were once again, close with Sebastian Vettel second and Kimi Raikkonen third. The three drivers had a clear lead from Lewis Hamilton in fourth.
Bottas said “It took quite a while, more than 80 races for me, but it was definitely worth the wait. It feels a bit surreal. Hopefully it’s the first of many. It was definitely one of my best races personally ever.”
The three times champion, hasn’t had a great weekend, he has been off his regular pace. There will be questions for Hamilton and Ferrari about the way the team handle the race.
Hamilton looked to have struggle following his tyres in the second stint and complained his car was over heating during the first half of the race. He was unable to catch Raikkonen, but was clearly ahead of the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.
It was a fairly lonely afternoon for the Dutch teenager, his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo retired early on with a break problem. Images showed his rear break glowing hot as Red Bull asked him to immediately return to the pits to retire the car.
Verstappen himself, nearly missed the start because of a water leak. But, at least he made the start unlike McLaren’s Fernando Alonso. There dismal season continued, as Alonso encountered an issue on the formation lap.
The Spaniard ground to a halt at the entry to the pits as he tried to get the car back to the garage.
Alonso has retired from all the races this season and said he was “sad” and added that the team needed to make progress fast with the recurring reliability problems
He told BBC News “Obviously frustrating – fourth race of the championship, four DNFs, this time we did not even make the start. That’s sad but nothing we can do now. We come here, I drive as fast as I can, and hopefully the next one will be a little bit better.”
Force India confirmed their place as the best of the rest with Sergio Perez sixth and Esteban Ocon seventh. The British-based team, has begun to show they are the best of the rest.
Williams’s Lance Stroll finished his first grand prix in eleventh despite a first lap spin.
Daniil Kvyat finished twelve in his Toro Rosso, he lost a place because of five-second pit stop penalty for exceeding track limits early in the race
McLaren Stoffel Vandoorne was fourteenth, ahead of the two Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein
- NOTEBOOK – Russian Qualifying
- RUSSIAN GP – Qualifying Result
- RUSSIAN GP – Ferrari beat Mercedes to get first front row lock out since June 2008
- NOTEBOOK – Russian Practice
- RUSSIAN GP – Vettel fastest in second practice by a quarter of a second from Raikkonen and Bottas
- RUSSIAN GP – Raikkonen fastest in first practice edging out Bottas by four hundredths of a second
- TFTV – 2014 Russian Grand Prix
- Data Profile – Russian Grand Prix
- Preview – Russian Grand Prix