Bottas edges Vettel; wins maiden Grand Prix

Vettel was runner-up to increase his lead in the world championship standings from Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, who never really threatened to rise from fourth on the grid.

So far success has alternated between the two teams, with Vettel winning the opener in Australia, Hamilton in China, Vettel again in Bahrain and Valtteri Bottas taking his career first success in Russian Federation for the team he joined in January.

The Finnish Formula One racer, who joined Mercedes as replacement for world champion Nico Rosberg at the beginning of 2017 season, had two wait for 82 races ever since he made his debut with Williams in 2013 to win a race. I had cars outside me.

"And getting that first win, it definitely gives me confidence that I can do it even though I've always knew I had the ability".

So far Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen have been unable to properly challenge Ferrari and Mercedes for leading positions in 2017, with Verstappen's third place in China Red Bull's only podium of the year.

Hamilton said, however, that he was still hopeful of a four-way battle.

Valtteri Bottas muscled past both the Ferrari drivers off the line in Sochi to take the lead of the race.

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With the European season proper starting in Spain next week, and teams promising upgrades and a faster pace of development, the two frontrunners return to their factories with two wins apiece.

He was congratulated by Hamilton, Vettel and his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen after the victory but while relations between them are still friendly he does not envision any quarter being given while racing. Lewis Hamilton took fourth place. Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived midway through the race before taking his seat in an awkward sandwich between Bernie Ecclestone and Chase Carey, the American who deposed him as the sport's chairman. Max Verstappen was fifth home for the Austrian team, but more than a minute behind race victor Bottas.

"Amazing", Bottas said as he reflected on becoming only the fifth Finn to win a grand prix.

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

"There was this odd opportunity that happened in the winter that made this possible", Bottas said.

"We tried everything but we lost the race at the start. That is where he won the race".

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