Cars / F1

F1 Grand Prix, Sochi: Mercedes AMG’s Valtteri Bottas, celebrates first trophy win

There was sheer jubilance in the Mercedes paddock as Valtteri Bottas drove a perfect race to lift his first ever winners trophy as Bernie Ecclestone confirms the continuance of the Singapore Grand Prix

May 01, 2017 | By Sanesh Balasingam

Image courtesy of Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile

The beautiful resort town of Sochi hosted the fourth round of the Formula 1 Grand Prix and what a stellar race it was! Valtteri Bottas won his first ever Grand Prix against the backdrop of the Russian resort town, located on the coast of the Black Sea. Bottas managed to keep his calm, even under immense pressure from four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, to lead his number 77 Silver Arrow to victory.

Vettel, who is frequently more active than other drivers in letting his opinions fly on team radio during the race, was heard complaining about Felipe Massa’s delay in letting him pass on the penultimate lap of the Russian Grand Prix, alluding to the fact that it might have made the former less competitive in overtaking Bottas. Massa later expertly — albeit sarcastically — handled Vettel’s comments adding that he was genuinely happy for his former teammate, Bottas.

Valtteri, however, was definitely the man of the hour and showed immense potential by emerging as a real challenger to Lewis Hamilton and the Ferrari’s of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.

Image courtesy of Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile

The night undoubtedly brought great cause for celebration among Finnish racing fans as it was the first time in a long time there was not one but two Finns on the podium. It was a long-awaited victory, that certainly left many fans with a reason to celebrate. ‘The Ice Man’ who came in third said he was “very happy” for his compatriot and is looking forward to the season.

Lewis Hamilton showed his more mature and gentlemanly side, by congratulating Bottas on almost every platform from on camera to social media, reflecting how far Hamilton has come in racing. This was truly fantastic sportsmanship from the Brit, all while taking his fourth place finish on the chin.

The race started in dramatic style with Fernando Alonso causing an extra formation lap, after being unable to get his Honda-powered McLaren through the initial formation lap. For those curious, he is now four for four in not completing a single race in the 2017 season. It’s no wonder he decided to chase his triple crown, skipping the Monaco Grand Prix to race in the Indy 500. It would be truly impressive if Jenson Button is able to complete a race in the same car when he fills in for Alonso in Monaco.

Valtteri Bottas celebrating his win. Image courtesy of Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile

Elsewhere during the race, Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived during lap 36 of the 52 lap race and was greeted with a warm handshake by both Mr Chase Carey and Mr Bernie Ecclestone. Later, the three men were seen in the drivers cool-down room with the podium finishers where they shared a conversation. President Putin, through his interpreter, stated proudly that the Formula 1 and its fan base has grown significantly in Russia and all the hotels in Sochi were fully booked. A good end to a great weekend of racing.

Another piece of big news from Sochi is that the Singapore Grand Prix is set to go ahead past 2017. With Malaysia confirmed to be dropping out at the end of this season, this could only work in the Republic’s favour both in terms of ticket sales and viewership. Singapore hosts one of the most beautiful races on the calendar under the night sky and it has been referred to as the “Crown Jewel” by Mr Ecclestone.

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