Valtteri Bottas has become the 107th different winner in Formula 1 today after winning the Russian Grand Prix 2017. This was his first ever F1 win, and a victory to his new camp, Mercedes-AMG. Vettel started from pole but lost the position almost immediately, the Ferrari finished second, leading the other Ferrari of Raikkonen.
Russian GP 2017 Top Ten Results
1. Bottas – Mercedes
2. Vettel – Ferrari
3. Raikkonen – Ferrari
4. Hamilton – Mercedes
5. Verstappen – Red Bull
6. Perez – Force India
7. Ocon – Force India
8. Hulkenberg – Renault
9. Massa – Williams
10. Sainz – Toro Rosso
The Ferraris started from the front row today, with Vettel in P1 and Raikkonen in P2, first front row lockout by Ferrari since 2008. Bottas and Hamilton started from the second row. Soon as the formation lap got underway, Alonso stopped on the track, the McLaren driver was out of the race even before it started. His first DNS since 2005 United States GP.
In the meantime, when the lights went out, Vettel held the lead for a moment before Bottas snatched it from him, and the Mercedes man led the field away from Vettel, Raikkonen and Hamilton after lap 1. The safety car was unleashed on lap two after Grosjean and Palmer crashed out, Lance Stroll also spun his Williams on turn 4 exit.
LAP 1/52: YELLOW FLAG
GRO and PAL collide at Turn 2 and both are OUT
Meanwhile BOT has moved ahead of VET and RAI into P1
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 30, 2017
The race got underway in no time but another problem emerged this time from the Red Bull camp. While pushing hard on lap 5, Ricciardo’s car began to smoke from the right rear, and the team confirmed a problem with the brakes forcing the Australian to pull over. After 7 laps, Bottas led the race away from Vettel, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Verstappen, Massa, Perez, Ocon, Hulkenberg and Magnussen.
After 11 laps, the list of retired drivers included Alonso, Palmer, Grosjean and now Ricciardo. Elsewhere, Bottas was only edging away from the Ferrari drivers, a 3.4s over Vettel and the only driver lapping in the 1m38s region. Hamilton was warned against temperatures on lap 17 though the team confirmed that it was a problem with all the drivers.
Fastest lap for #Seb5 1:38.629 keep pushing!! #RussianGP #ForzaFerrari pic.twitter.com/pwUhwe8Xt9
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) April 30, 2017
Responding to a series of fastest lap times by Vettel, Bottas set one of his own on 1m38.404s to set the new pace. Pirelli did confirm about low degradation on the tires, and that teams were free to choose when to stop.
First stops began on lap 21 with Wehrlein opting for a fresh set of ultrasofts, Massa came in too and switched into supersofts. Magnussen also stopped and served his five seconds penalty, the leaders were yet to make a stop.
Vettel’s pace began to shoot up, the Ferrari man was now 2.6s behind Bottas on lap 26. But the Mercedes man pitted from the lead abruptly, the first of the front runners to pit.
Half race distance and Max is a lone ranger in P5, 21s behind HAM and 16s ahead of PER. #RussianGP #F1 #ГранПриРоссии pic.twitter.com/lWbzjJlaC9
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) April 30, 2017
Bottas emerged in fourth after a 2.5s stop, Vettel was urged to push harder in order to build up more lead time enough to pit and come out while still in P1. Raikkonen followed into the pits on lap 29, Vettel was calling out for the blue flags on Stroll at the moment. A new fastest time for Bottas on 1m38.171s brought him 19s closer to the lead.
Raikkonen set a new fastest lap after rejoining the race on 1m37.372s, and Hamilton also made his stop but Vettel opted to stay out as advised by the team. After 32 laps, Vettel led the race away from Bottas, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Massa, Perez, Ocon and Sainz.
Vettel stopped on lap 35 and later emerged behind Bottas, the Ferrari was on attack mode chipping away Bottas’ lead lap by lap. Same could not be said about Hamilton who after 41 laps was in a lone race in fourth, 15s behind Raikkonen. Hulkenberg pitted on lap 41…the longest stint of the race and rejoined in ninth. The Renault was pushed back up in eighth after Massa was forced to pit with a slow puncture.
"We are behind BOT, Kimi"
"How did that happen? Why didn't we box earlier?"
"He was leading the race, Kimi" #RussianGP pic.twitter.com/WgiO0FkdXH
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 30, 2017
The final laps were pretty much tense between Vettel and Bottas, the Ferrari even got within DRS range of the Mercedes but traffic ahead was not doing them any good. The gap fell to as low as 0.7s but Bottas managed to pull out and win his first ever F1 Grand Prix. Vettel and Raikkonen came in second and third for a double prancing horse podium.