Bottas beats Vettel to 1st F1 win in Russia


SOCHI, Russia, April 30 Lewis Hamilton was left puzzling a "very odd weekend" after struggling to fourth place in Sunday's Russian Grand Prix while Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas celebrated his first Formula One victory.

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. "I thought there would be an opportunity on the back straight", said Vettel, victor of two of the first three races for his resurgent Italian team.

"It [the win] took quick a while, more than 80 races for me, but it was definitely worth the wait and definitely worth the learning curve. This unusual opportunity came to me in the winter to join this team and they made it possible today, so I really want to thank to the team, without them it wouldn't be possible, so feels wonderful".

"I have not had that for, I don't remember the last time we had that", he said. That is the plan.

It was not such a great weekend for team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who finished fourth - giving Sebastian Vettel a 13 point lead in the Drivers' Championship. I'm sure we'll go back to the drawing board and try to figure it out. That was the plan.

"I think I could kind of match those times at the front maybe, but whether I would have lasted as long. probably not with the set-up that I had".

"That was a bit of a shame".

"If you think that you are not able to win, then definitely you should stay at home". So, well done [to him]. "That is where he won the race". "He then had an unbelievable first stint - and I couldn't stay with him". "This is the man of the race today, big congrats to Valtteri".

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The Sochi Autodrom has known nothing but Mercedes victories since it began hosting the Russian Grand Prix in 2014. "It is his day". Bottas is in third with 63 points.

"I thought there would be an opportunity on the back straight". We lost out off the start and then not much happened after that.

"For me, once I got around the first couple of laps I was basically stuck where I was".

"First win and hopefully first of many.it's a good feeling".

When asked if he can take any comfort from Mercedes winning the race ahead of Ferrari, Hamilton replied: "Of course". The Briton finished 25.3secs off the final rostrum position.

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.

Canadian rookie Lance Stroll finally reached the finish line after three retirements in a row and took 11th place for Williams.

Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso didn't manage to finish even the formation lap before his Honda engine gave up.