Valtteri Bottas wins his first Formula One Grand Prix

Bottas' team-mate Lewis Hamilton capped a hard weekend with a race to forget and finished only fourth behind Raikkonen.

As a result, although Mercedes hold a one-point lead in the constructors' championship, Vettel leads Hamilton by 13 in the drivers' title race as the teams prepare for the introduction of major upgrade packages at the Spanish Grand Prix on May 14.

With Sebastian Vettel on pole and his teammate, Kimi Räikkönen, starting next to him, many predicted a Ferrari win. Sebastian Vettel went on to win that year with Red Bull.

"At some point it might get a bit more tricky and tight".

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland, right, shakes hands with three-time world champion Niki Lauda after winning the Formula One Russian Grand Prix at the ‘Sochi Autodrom circuit, in Sochi, Russia, Sunday, April. The Finn was third in Australia, sixth in China and third in Bahrain in the opening three meetings of the season. The subsequent win gives him further impetus to achieve more, he believes. Last year, the team won 19 of the 21 races.

"I don't know if I would have been able to make a big difference moving forwards or not but I think I definitely had the pace to be with the pack".

"Ultimately I just was not quick enough. It's not going to that simple this year, it's going to be a massive fight".

He has been mysteriously off colour all weekend and struggled for balance throughout Sunday's race. He struggled to bring the tyres into their operating window during practice, could not find the balance in qualifying and suffered from engine overheating during the race.

"With the backing off for the temperature, it was losing seven tenths, maybe a second a lap".

Statisticians would have to thumb back to the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix, 31 races ago, to find the last time Mercedes had no vehicle on the front row. "But this weekend has been a step forward", said Raikkonen. "It was pure pace on the vehicle - the tyres, tyre temperatures, being comfortable in the auto".

"There's something wrong, I keep getting vibrations", Hamilton said.

His problems were exacerbated by Bottas, who had tuned in his auto over the weekend to perfection.

He said: "Lewis said he was happy for me which was very nice from him. I have some feelings and some ideas but lots of work will be done to figure it out".

Last season the relationship between Rosberg and Hamilton became increasingly fractious and Mercedes have since admitted it was detrimental to the team.

"The relationship between the two is very intact", he said.

A dejected Lewis Hamilton admitted on Sunday night that he needs to rediscover his speed after an abject display in Russian Federation saw him fall further behind rival Sebastian Vettel in the championship race. I was nearly eight seconds in front of Checo [Perez] and I had a lot more pace in the auto.

  • Arturo Norris