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Bottas stuns Ferrari for maiden F1 victory

dpa logodpa 30/04/2017 Jens Marx

Valtteri Bottas has claimed his maiden Formula One victory at the Russian Grand Prix after getting off to a flying start in Sochi.

Finland's Valtteri Bottas claimed his maiden Formula One victory at the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday with a brilliant start which catapulted him ahead of both Ferraris.

Standings leader Sebastian Vettel held pole with team-mate Kimi Raikkonen second but Bottas flew past them early and held on for a 0.617-second victory at the Sochi Autodrom, his first in more than 80 races.

Vettel was runner-up to increase his lead in the world championship standings from Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, who never really threatened to rise from fourth on the grid.

Raikkonen finished third while Red Bull's Max Verstappen completed the top five.

Australian Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo retired on the fifth lap.

Ricciardo told his team over the radio that "my right rear brake's on fire".

Soon after, he was instructed by his team to drive slowly to the pits, where he was withdrawn from the race.

Ricciardo started from fifth position on the grid at the Sochi circuit on Sunday.

It is the second grand prix of the season the Australian has had to retire during a race after also suffering mechanical problems at the Australian grand prix in Melbourne.

Vettel appeared to get away smoothly from pole, Ferrari's first since late 2015, but Bottas was even better. He left fellow Finn Raikkonen behind and passed the leading German on the outside of turn two.

Hamilton also seemed to have the jump on Raikkonen, briefly edging ahead in the long dash to the first corner, but was squeezed out.

The three-time champion had struggled throughout the weekend and, frequently complaining on the team radio about his car overheating, could not get close to the podium.

Bottas was the first of the leading pack to pit on lap 27 and Vettel tried to pull clear by staying out to lap 34. He returned in second, behind the leader and, with a 4.7-second deficit, attempted to cut into the gap with fresher tyres.

By lap 42 of the 52 trips around the 5.848-kilometre circuit, Bottas' lead was down to 1.1 seconds but Vettel was subsequently held up by backmarkers to ease the pressure.

Vettel continued to chip away, and did close to just under a second at one point, but hampered by Felipe Massa's Williams on the last lap, could not get a chance to overtake.

"I tried everything to catch Valtteri," Vettel said.

"I thought there would be an opportunity on the back straight. I thought there was an opportunity but I was not sure what Felipe Massa would do and ended up losing out.

"It doesn't matter, though. Big congratulations to Valtteri. It is his day."

Bottas saw out the win in 1 hour 28 minutes 8.743 seconds to add a race victory to the first pole of his career from the previous Bahrain GP.

"It took more than 80 races but it was worth it, well worth the learning curve," Bottas said.

"This strange opportunity came to me over the winter and I have to thank the team for making this possible.

"We need to keep pushing, keep finishing with both cars one and two. I'm very happy."

Mercedes have now won every grand prix hosted in Sochi since the Russian race started in 2014.

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