F1 round-up: Bottas claims Russian GP for his first ever win

Sport360 staff 30/04/2017

Valtteri Bottas held his nerve to claim the first victory of his Formula One career as a frustrated Lewis Hamilton finished only fourth at the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Bottas led virtually every lap at the Sochi Autodrom after passing pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel at the start before holding off a late charge from the Ferrari driver in the closing stages.

Vettel crossed the line less than one second behind Bottas to extend his lead over Hamilton to 13 points.

Kimi Raikkonen completed the podium places while Hamilton, who has been mysteriously off colour all weekend, ended up a mammoth 36 seconds behind his team-mate.


Valtteri Bottas put in an inspiring performance to win his maiden F1 race after 82 attempts.

Starting from P3, the Finn overtook the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen on the first corner to sail into an early lead that never looked under threat until 10 laps from the end.

With Vettel breathing down his neck, Bottas stayed composed to seal a win for Mercedes.


Kimi Raikkonen had a majestic weekend in Sochi, finishing on the podium for the first time since last year’s Austrian Grand Prix before clocking the fastest lap of 1:36.844 on lap 49.

Vettel’s 1:37.312 on lap 49 proved the second-fastest, with Bottas’ 1:37.367 on 49 coming in third as he tried to push away from the chasing German.


Lewis Hamilton finished fourth, struggling with intermittent power and over-heating problems that prevented him from challenging the Ferraris for a place on the podium.

The Briton is now 13 points off Vettel in the championship, with Bottas only 10 points behind the four-time world champion.

Lewis Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton.


It’s only the first time he’s finished a race – crashing out in three other GPs – but Lance Stroll produced a solid display to finish 11th.

The rookie Williams driver had a few blips when he spun exiting turn four on lap 4, and also earned a 5sec time penalty but he redeemed himself to finish just outside the points.

Lance Stroll.

Lance Stroll.

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IN PICS: Vettel secures pole at Russian GP

Sport360 staff 29/04/2017
Ferrari on pole.

Lewis Hamilton will have it all to do to win Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix as he qualified only fourth while title rival Sebastian Vettel secured his first pole position in nearly two years.

Championship leader Vettel, who heads Hamilton by seven points in the title race, ended Mercedes’ streak of 18 consecutive poles with a brilliant final lap following a nail-biting session here at the Sochi Autodrom.

Vettel heads an all- Ferrari front row with Kimi Raikkonen second on the grid and Valtteri Bottas third. Hamilton, mysteriously off-colour for much of the weekend here, was more than half a second behind Vettel, who celebrated his pole in raucous fashion over the team radio.

The last time Vettel started from pole was at the Singapore Grand Prix back in 2015, but his and Ferrari’s pace in Russia so far this weekend would appear to point towards a changing of the guard, with Hamilton’s Mercedes team having dominated the sport for the past three seasons.

Indeed Mercedes have a great record in these parts having won all of the three grands prix staged here while leading every lap. But they, and in particular Hamilton, have struggled for form, with Ferrari now only cementing their status as real challengers for both the drivers’ and constructors’ crown.

Hamilton was nearly six tenths of a second behind Vettel, and almost half-a-second down on Bottas. His sluggish pace was greeted by crossed arms from Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda in the Mercedes garage, with the latter puffing out his cheeks and shaking his head.
For Vettel he was jubilant to seal his 47th career pole.

“It is a very good result and I am sure everyone is happy and very proud,” he said.

“The car was phenomenal this afternoon and it was a real pleasure to take the car around on low fuel and drive it to the limit.”

British driver Jolyon Palmer is in desperate need of a strong weekend after a troubled start to the new season, but he had another day to forget here.

Palmer’s Renault mechanics worked through the night to replace his chassis after an exhaust issue was detected in practice on Friday. He then completed just four laps this morning following an engine failure, before he crashed out of qualifying to complete a torrid 24 hours.

The 26-year-old from Horsham, bidding to haul his car into Q2, ran over the kerbs on the entry to turn four before he lost control of his car and thudded the tyre barrier on the opposing side of the circuit.

Palmer walked away from the incident and is set to start 16th, but his Renault team face yet another repair job following the damage sustained to the front of his car.

And to make matters worse for Palmer his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, new to Renault this year, qualified an impressive eighth.

Elsewhere, Daniel Ricciardo will line up in fifth for Red Bull, with Williams driver Felipe Massa sixth. Fernando Alonso, yet to make it to the end of a race this season, is only a lowly 15th, while his McLaren team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne is two spots further back on the grid.

Bernie Ecclestone, integral in bringing Formula One to Russia, was back in the paddock for the second race in succession in his so-called role as chairman emeritus. The 86-year-old, here with his wife Fabiana, watched qualifying with Russian dignitaries. Ecclestone wore a white jacket with the Russian flag on one arm and his name embroided on the other.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will be a guest of honour for Sunday’s race.

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IN PICS: Ferrari fastest in FP2 as Vettel leads Raikkonen

F1i 28/04/2017

Ferrari were in sparkling form on Friday afternoon, with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen comfortably fastest in FP2 ahead of the strangely subdued Mercedes drivers.

Top honours went to Vettel, who ended the session fastest with a best lap time of 1:34.120s, over quarter of a second faster than his team-mate.

Having topped the morning times, it was Raikkonen who had been quickly up to speed in the afternoon practice.

The first driver to try ultrasofts, he displaced Lewis Hamilton from the top of the timesheets just before the half hour mark. His time of 1:34.721s was a second faster than Hamilton’s earlier effort, and already a new track record for Sochi Autodrom.

Both Raikkonen and Vettel further improved their times on subsequent laps, proving the ultrasoft’s durability in Russia. Vettel eventually came out of this private battle on top, and his flying lap was to remain the fastest of the day.

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did close the gap a little, but both Mercedes remained around seven tenths off Vettel’s benchmark.

The two Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were almost a further second in arrears in fifth and sixth, with Williams’ Felipe Massa a distant seventh.

Attention subsequently turned to long-run simulations as teams concentrated on gathering further data on tyre durability.

The Sochi circuit continued to catch out several drivers, with both Mercedes drivers among those to run wide and off-track at turn two.

Verstappen had a scare at turn five midway through the 90-minute session, running very wide and lucky not to graze the wall.

There were plenty of further lock-ups resulting in flat-spotted tyres. Daniil Kvyat spun at turn 13 early in the session, with Romain Grosjean going likewise at the last corner in the final half hour. Both cars were able to recover and get going again.

Less fortunate was Verstappen, whose car lost power with 20 minutes remaining in the session. He came to a halt exiting turn 16 just before pit entry, resulting in local waved yellows while the marshalls recovered the RB13.

Stoffel Vandoorne also lost time at the start of FP2 while McLaren fitted another new Honda engine. He has a 15 place grid penalty for Sunday’s race as a result of taking his fifth MGU-H and turbocharger of 2017.

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