Bottas joins F1 Finnish stars with Russian GP win

Getty Images

Getty Images

The Briton struggled throughout, qualifying half a second down on team mate Valtteri Bottas and coming home a distant fourth, 36s down on the Finn - the first time in nine races that the two-time world champion hasn't finished on the podium.

The former Williams man claimed his maiden Formula One victory last weekend after taking the chequered flag at the Russian Grand Prix and he is eyeing further success this term.

While the Bottas-Vettel duel was fun it overshadowed the actual lack of track action with virtually no overtaking following the first lap.

Massa was sixth for much of the race but had to make a second stop on lap 41 due to a slow puncture.

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

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"First win and hopefully first of's a good feeling".

Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, has not been on the podium since July a year ago and Saturday was the first time the Finn had qualified on the front row since Ferrari's home Italian Grand Prix in September 2015. Three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton sadly fell in the fourth place, failing to overtake the veteran and 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari.

Vettel, on 86 points, leads Hamilton by 13 but Bottas is only 10 behind his team-mate on 63 and while discussion before Russian Federation centered on whether team orders would be imposed to favour Hamilton, the win has only strengthened Bottas's resolve to pursue the title.

Bottas concedes that the first win has take a while, but he is now looking forward to more as he has learnt the trick.

He then held off Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari's championship leader, in the closing laps to cross the line with a 0.6-second advantage.

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So far, there have been few signs of that situation repeating itself, with Hamilton having said pre-season working with Bottas is already his best team-mate relationship in F1.

The next race is in Barcelona on May 14, which marks the start of the European phase of the season.

"I tried everything to catch Valtteri". "I'm out of the race (to win) now", he added, with about two-thirds of the distance remaining.

"It doesn't matter, though".

"A big congratulations to Valtteri, he did an exceptional job all weekend - he was quickest. It is his day".

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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.

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