F1 Russian Grand Prix - Race Results

Bottas had started in third on the grid behind Vettel and Raikkonen, but had the lead by turn two. "This is the man of the race today, big congrats to Valtteri". He drove better than the rest of us so he deserved to win. "He's been fast all weekend, so exceptional and great for the team".

"The relationship between the two is very intact, Lewis was one of the first to congratulate Valtteri on his first race victory and I think that shows the respect that they have towards each other".

After four evenly-contested opening "away" races, Formula One returns to its European homeland, with Ferrari revived and champions Mercedes battling to retain their crown, making for a fiercely-competitive season in prospect. "It's going to be a long year, with a lot of fighting", he said.

Vettel's second place meant the German extended his standings lead to 13 points over Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who trailed in fourth after suffering overheating trouble.

Bottas had a mixed start to the season, having been recruited by Mercedes from Williams in January to replace the world champion Nico Rosberg who retired after wining the title a year ago. "I can't explain it right now, but I will do some work over this week to fully understand it", said Hamilton.

"I think I had the pace to fight with Kimi but the vehicle was just overheating the whole the time".

"I have some feelings about how it felt in the race and qualifying, I have some ideas", he continued, referring to his vehicle.

Wolff, the Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, felt Bottas controlled the race perfectly despite not having the pace advantage in the second half of the race when the switch was made from the Ultrasoft to the Supersoft tyre.

He started on pole and did not win, but Vettel was still smiling on the podium.

The triple world champion's auto finally cooled down in the closing stages, though he crossed the line a distant fourth, a whopping 36s down on race-winner Bottas.

The Mercedes drivers ended up in third and fourth, respectively, with a lap time of 1:33.289 for Bottas and 1.33:767 for Hamilton.

He added: "I always knew I could get good results if everything goes right and I always trust in my ability".

It was a not-so-happy Vettel who took second, ranting over the radio about Massa holding him up.

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

Bottas held his nerve in a nail-biting ending at the Sochi Autodrome - with Vettel crossing the line just 0.6 seconds behind the Finnish driver - to move to within 10 points of Hamilton, and in doing so, firmly throw his crash helmet into the championship ring.

  • Leroy Wright