Valtteri Bottas earned his first victory in Formula One with a sensational display at the 2017 Russian Grand Prix in Sochi. The Finn got off to a flying start to leapfrog Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, and never looked back.
Valtteri hardly put a wheel wrong all race, and held his nerve to keep a hard charging Vettel at bay over the thrilling final three laps in the Russian Grand Prix. It was a great result for Valtteri, who was only racing in his fourth Grand Prix for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Team since joining the Silver Arrows squad in the winter from former team Williams F1.
It was the Finn’s first win in 81 starts in F1, and his first victory since winning in the GP3 series in Monza in 2011. No wonder then that this win will take a little to hit home. Valtteri said:
"It's going to take a while to sink in. Normally I'm not that emotional but hearing the Finnish national anthem was very special for me. It's all a bit surreal, the first win and hopefully the first of many. It was definitely one of my best races ever.
"The pressure from Sebastian wasn't too bad; the main issue was with the lapped cars, trying to get past those. It was tricky to pass them without losing time. I also had a lock-up with about 15 laps to go that hurt the pace, but it was manageable. I asked for a bit of radio silence just to get on it, and focus. I'm sure this victory will give me lots of confidence going forward. I knew I could do these results, I always trusted my ability, but this result confirms it."
His Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who finished fourth, was quick to praise Valtteri's achievement. He said:
"Big congratulations to Valtteri; He did an exceptional job today and he really deserves it. He's been fast all weekend and he's done such a good job for the team. He's a fantastic teammate to work with and it's such an amazing feeling winning your first Grand Prix.
"For me, once I got round first couple of laps, I got stuck where I was. I don't know if I would have been able to make a difference moving forward, but I think I had the pace to stay on the back, but ultimately position was everything. I said congratulations to him; you deserve it, great job. It is great we have had success here in Russia over the years and wish I could have backed him up with some more points, but I just did the best with what I had."
Lewis won’t have to wait long to strike back though, next up is the sun-soaked Spanish Grand Prix at the legendary Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on the 14th May. Stay tuned.
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1h28m08.743s
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.617s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 11.000s
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 36.320s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m00.416s
6 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m26.788s
7 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m35.004s
8 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m36.188s
9 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes +1 Lap
10 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Renault +1 Lap
11 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes +1 Lap
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Renault +1 Lap
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari +1 Lap
14 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Honda +1 Lap
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari +1 Lap
16 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber/Ferrari +2 Laps
- Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault DNF / Brakes
- Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari DNF / Collision
- Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda DNF / Not started
- Jolyon Palmer Renault DNF / Collision