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Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix 2017

Bottas Celebrates Winning Russian GP 2017

The 2017 Russian Grand Prix brought us a new race winner, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas claims his maiden win on his 81st attempt while his 3-time world champion teammate languished in 4th place. However, it was a generally dull race only spiced up by a late challenge for the win from pole sitter Sebastian Vettel.

McLaren’s woes continue with Fernando Alonso not even taking the start, stopping at the entry to the pitlane at the end of the formation lap, which in turn triggered a second formation lap while Alonso’s McLaren was recovered to the pits. You can see Alonso’s disillusionment and “couldn’t give two f**ks” mood, by saying “I’ll watch the race, eat ice cream and wait for my plane” in a post-retirement interview.

Bottas made an amazing start to move past the two Ferrari’s in front of him to lead the race going into turn 2, Lewis Hamilton made a decent start to get alongside Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari but seemed to back out of the challenge as turn 2 loomed. Max Verstappen made his trademark lightning start to move up from seventh on the grid to fifth and challenged Hamilton and Raikkonen for third in the run to turn 2.

Racing was called off almost immediately because the safety car was deployed to recover the cars of Romain Grosjean and Jolyon Palmer who collided at turn 2. Grosjean dived down the inside of Palmer going into the corner, the two made contact and as Palmer tried to recover, he appeared to lose the rear end of his car and speared into Grosjean, ending both the drivers’ races after just two corners.

Shortly after the restart, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo radioed to the pits that his right rear brake is on fire, which caused him to coast back to the pits to retire his car. This triggered the Red Bull pit wall to radio the sister car of Max Verstappen telling him to push his brake balance forward as far as he could to avoid a similar situation with rear brake failure, which worked as Verstappen finished the race in fifth place.

Then, I (figuratively) fell asleep for an hour as the racing was so dull, absolutely zero change of position outside of pitstops. Which ultimately came back to the same running order after every driver had stopped with the exception of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg who stayed out on his ultra soft tires for 40 laps while running in sixth place, resulting in the German driver finishing in a solid eighth place where he started.

Things got spicier after the only round of pit stops, Vettel stayed out an extra eight laps over Bottas on his initial set of ultra soft tires, which allowed the German to close to within 0.8 seconds of the Finn, but it was to be Bottas’ day, claiming his first F1 win, putting his 3-time world champion teammate, Hamilton in the shade on this day. which is great for F1, four races in and we’ve had three different race winners.

Financially challenged Force India are definitely “punching above their weight” finishing the race with both cars well up in the points in sixth and seventh, Sergio Perez winning the inter-team battle with Esteban Ocon. Williams’ Felipe Massa ended up finishing down three places from where he started in ninth place, while Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz claimed the final points paying position of the race.

The 2017 Russian Grand Prix will not be a race we’ll remember for anything other than Bottas’ first race win in F1. The race was incredibly processional with, well, I don’t remember a single successful on track overtake outside of the few overtakes from the start to turn 2. The race was a damp squib as cars had a hard time following another due to overheating because of the dirty air coming from the leading car.

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