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Superb Bottas fights off Vettel to take maiden victory in Russia GP


Valtteri Bottas held his nerve to claim the first victory of his Formula One career as a frustrated Lewis Hamilton finished only fourth at the Russian Grand Prix yesterday.

Bottas led virtually every lap at the Sochi Autodrom after passing pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel at the start before holding off a late charge from the Ferrari driver in the closing stages.

Vettel crossed the line less than one second behind Bottas to extend his lead over Hamilton to 13 points.

Kimi Raikkonen completed the podium places while Hamilton, who was off colour all weekend, ended up a mammoth 36 seconds behind his team-mate. Vettel was the overwhelming favourite to claim his third win after securing his first pole position in nearly two years, and with Raikkonen alongside him, Ferrari's first front-row lockout since France in 2008.

"Amazing," Bottas said as he reflected on becoming only the fifth Finn to win a grand prix. "It took quite a while - more than 80 races - but it is definitely worth the wait and definitely worth the learning curve.

"The strange opportunity to join this team came in the winter and they made it possible so thanks to them."

Vettel added: "I tried everything to catch Valtteri and I thought there may be an opportunity, but it doesn't matter. This is the man of the race and a big congrats to Valtteri. It is his day."

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