Mercedes AMG's Valtteri Bottas at the 2017 Formula One Russian Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
Mercedes AMG’s new driver Valtteri Bottas overcame the odds to secure victory on Sunday at the 2017 Formula One Russian Grand Prix.
With Sebastian Vettel on pole and his teammate, Kimi Räikkönen, starting next to him, many predicted a Ferrari win. However, a brilliant overtaking move saw Bottas jump into the lead on the first lap. He stayed in the lead through most of the race, only falling back briefly during pit stops.
In the end, Bottas managed to cross the line just 0.617 seconds after Vettel. Behind them was Räikkönen, who finished 11 seconds back. Mercedes’ other driver, Lewis Hamilton, started the race in fourth but couldn’t follow his teammate through the red wall. He finished a distant fourth after suffering from overheating throughout the race.
It was no walk in the park for Bottas, with the competition really heating up towards the end of the race. Faced with traffic ahead from lapped cars as well as a locked left front about 15 laps from the end of the race, Bottas suddenly saw a decent gap with Vettel reduced to just 2.2 seconds. The gap dropped even further in the closing slaps as Vettel started putting in some blistering lap times. Bottas, however, kept his cool to the end.
There was plenty of action early on, too. During the formation lap prior to the race, Fernando Alonso’s McLaren ran into trouble and came to a halt which in turn delayed the start of the race and reduced the number of laps by one.
2017 Formula One Russian Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
And during the initial laps, Williams driver Lance Stroll lost control of his car after coming into contact with the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg, though both survived. However, further back, Haas driver Romain Grosjean’s car made contact with the Renault of Jolyon Palmer, ending the race for both. This brought out the safety car which lasted until the end of the third lap. Once the race was on again, positions at the front remained unchanged.
Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen finished fifth a full minute behind the winner, though sadly for his teammate Daniel Ricciardo some brake trouble meant retirement early on. Sixth and seventh places went to Force India drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, respectively. Hulkenberg claimed eighth place, and then it was Williams’ Felipe Massa in ninth and Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz in tenth to claim the final points.
Thanks to his consistently strong performance, Vettel’s lead has grown in the 2017 Drivers’ Championship. He sits on 86 points versus the 73 of second-placed Hamilton. Bottas is in third with 63 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes has the lead with 136 points though Ferrari is a close second with 135 points. Red Bull is a distant third with 57 points. The next race is the Spanish Grand Prix which takes place in a fortnight.
In other F1 news, it’s been confirmed that Sauber will switch from Ferrari to Honda for supply of its power units starting from the 2018 season. McLaren, despite the woeful performance it's suffered since teaming up with Honda for the 2015 season, will also stick with the Japanese firm’s power units in 2018. With two teams running the power units, Honda will have significantly more data to rely on for improvements to the design.
Hit the next page for the full results of the 2017 Formula One Russian Grand Prix.