Bottas wins in Russia for his first F1 victory

2017 Russian Formula 1 qualifying results

It was a odd opportunity for me to join this team and they (Mercedes) made it possible, so I would like to thank them and the team, it would have not been possible.

And retired three-time title victor Lauda believes Bottas can now push on in search of further wins, having taken his first chequered flag in just his fourth race for Mercedes. "This odd opportunity came to me in the winter to join the team and they made it possible, so I want to thank them".

However, the three-time world champion, who suffered with mechanical failures previous year when he lost the title to Rosberg, did not believe the issues were fundamental to the auto.

Bottas believes he will get a boost in confidence from confirming he has the ability to win grands prix.

Vettel crossed the line a mere 0.6 seconds behind Bottas, who joined Mercedes from Williams in January as replacement for retired 2016 champion Nico Rosberg and was finally a victor after 81 starts.

Bottas moves into third place in the championship, 23 points behind Vettel and 10 behind Hamilton.

By contrast to Bottas' stellar drive on Sunday, teammate Lewis Hamilton had an uncharacteristically messy weekend, having struggled with the handling of his auto from the start of Friday practice.

Lewis Hamilton said: "Valtteri did an exceptional job and he really deserves it". "I can't explain it right now, but I will do some work over this week to fully understand it", said Hamilton.

It was a day to forget for Hamilton and yet another one for Fernando Alonso and his red-faced McLaren team. "We will see in Barcelona and practice and then the race", added the Austrian.

It was a miserable weekend for McLaren, with Fernando Alonso failing to start the race after stopping his vehicle at the entry to the pits on the formation lap.

"For f**** sake, I am out", Palmer fumed on the radio. "I had cars outside me".

He was certainly out of contention for the victory, and despite getting to within two seconds of Raikkonen, never threatened the Ferrari driver for the final place on the podium. He went on to win 20 races, as has countryman Kimi Raikkonen.

"It was OK, the main thing was the lapped cars, trying to get past those", said Bottas when asked about the pressure.

Vettel said: "I tried everything to catch Valtteri and I thought there may be an opportunity, but it doesn't matter".

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.



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