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Valtteri Bottas wins his first Formula One Grand Prix

11 May 2017

In his fifth Formula One season, Bottas now has a auto capable of fighting for regular wins and hopes Sunday will prove "the first of many". The Finnish Mercedes driver was joined on the podium by the two Ferrari rivals - Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Mercedes' other driver, Lewis Hamilton, started the race in fourth but couldn't follow his teammate through the red wall.

Hamilton and former team-mate Nico Rosberg had a fractious relationship during their four years together at Mercedes, with the last three of those spent engaged in a private duel for the title.

The Finn won his first grand prix on Sunday in Russian Federation and is now in third place on 63 points, 10 behind Lewis Hamilton, his Mercedes team-mate.

The Finn looked on course for a straightforward win until a rare slip saw him damage a tire. Raikkonen took third, 10.3 seconds further back.

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

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

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"This unusual opportunity came to me over the winter and I have to thank the team for making this possible". "You never know in life what's going to happen and it was a great opportunity".

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. Splitting the colleagues is Felipe Massa's Williams vehicle which came in at 1:35.110.

Raikkonen said: "I have had a bit of a rough start to the season, but this week has been a step forward, but we still only finished third". Big congratulations to Valtteri.

It was a lonely race for Hamilton, who had large gaps with Raikkonen ahead and Max Verstappen behind.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner admitted that his team's situation was not an easy one, but is optimistic Barcelona will be the turning point.

"He said: "[Winning the title] has always been the only goal for me in my career but I have not had the chance to prove it.

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"But the sooner, the more exciting it will be for us".

This year's victor of the Russian F1 GP is Valtteri Bottas, who joined Mercedes this season coming from Williams.

After 81 races, and four seasons with Williams before getting the call from Mercedes, Bottas had added victory to the pole position and fastest lap he already had on his resume. His win shows it's not clear-cut who's better suited to take the fight to Ferrari. It was the fourth race in the history of the sport to feature no on-track overtakes of any kind after the first lap, which should strongly suggest to the FIA that it may want to revisit its decision not to alter the DRS system.

"People didn't see the level he was [at Williams], but I said straight away he'd do a good job for Mercedes".

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. Ricciardo retired with an overheating right rear brake that caught fire.

There was a safety-car stoppage after barely half a lap when Romain Grosjean's Haas hit the Renault of Jolyon Palmer on the inside of a right-hand bend, putting both cars into the wall.

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Bottas held on to the lead in a dramatic end to the race. The McLaren-Honda driver had a malfunction with his Hybrid system on the formation lap.