Ricciardo retires from Russian Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas at the Russian Grand Prix

Hamilton arrived in Sochi as a two-times victor at the Olympic Park street circuit, a track where only his Mercedes team had won since the first race there in 2014, but he struggled to find his rhythm.

No, it was not a third victory of 2017, but Vettel could take heart from the fact of how much pressure he put Bottas under in the closing stages and that he extended his championship lead over Hamilton to 13 points. "Ferrari are going to be the challenge", Bottas added.

"It took quite a while, more than 80 races for me, but it's definitely worth the wait".

Last year's champion, Nico Rosberg, raced as a German but is the son of 1982 champion Keke.

"This odd opportunity came over the winter to join this team and I have to thank the team for making this possible", he added after meeting Russian president Vladimir Putin before spraying champagne on the podium.

Vettel, who had started on pole, hunted Bottas down in the latter part 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. Big congratulations to Valtteri.

Raikkonen finished third while Red Bull's Max Verstappen completed the top five. Later, he added: "Why is my vehicle overheating, guys?" I think I had the pace to fight with Kimi but the auto was just overheating all the time.

Valtteri Bottas has hinted that his good-natured relationship with Lewis Hamilton could come under threat after he slashed the deficit to his Mercedes team-mate in the championship.

The three-time world champion complained consistently that his vehicle was overheating in the first half of the race and after the stops he was unable to catch Raikkonen and ended up a lonely fourth. His win shows it's not clear-cut who's better suited to take the fight to Ferrari.

"I immediately opened the radio 'tell me about the others, tell me about the others!'", he said.

The British driver, who has won two times in Sochi, was having trouble with the soaring temperatures on his Mercedes vehicle. 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. Eighth went to Renault's Nico Hulkenberg, with Massa and Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz claiming the final points.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was the most notable retirement, parking his auto on lap 6 after the right-rear brakes caught fire.

The race was then neutralized shortly after when the safety auto was deployed following Romain Grosjean and Jolyon Palmer's collision at Turn 2.

Hamilton finished over 30 seconds behind his team-mate and race victor Valtteri Bottas as he struggled with the balance of the W08 all weekend. It's going to be close between both of the Ferraris and both of the Mercedes drivers this year, so it will be exciting - but unfortunately a lot of times it will depend on what happens on the first lap.

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