MAIDEN WIN FOR BOT­TAS

New Mercedes driver fin­ishes ahead of team­mate Hamil­ton and Fer­rari’s Vet­tel

New Straits Times - - Sport -

VALT­TERI Bot­tas claimed his maiden For­mula One vic­tory yes­ter­day when he re­sisted in­tense pres­sure from cham­pi­onship leader Se­bas­tian Vet­tel to tri­umph for Mercedes in a tense Rus­sian Grand Prix.

The Fin­nish driver, start­ing from third place on the grid, grabbed the ini­tia­tive at the start by pow­er­ing past both Fer­raris and into the lead while his Mercedes team­mate Lewis Hamil­ton strug­gled home fourth.

Four-time cham­pion Vet­tel fin­ished sec­ond ahead of Fer­rari team­mate Kimi Raikko­nen who claimed his first podium finish since last year’s Aus­trian Grand Prix.

The pop­u­lar Bot­tas’s first win was warmly re­ceived by his fel­low driv­ers and the pad­dock, Hamil­ton hug­ging him af­ter he had jumped into the arms of his crew and Vet­tel join­ing the re­cep­tion, Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin also present for congratulations and prize giv­ing.

“Worth the wait!” said the un­flap­pable Bot­tas in typ­i­cal un­der­stated style af­ter com­ing home just six-tenths of a sec­ond ahead of Vet­tel at the flag.

Bot­tas be­came Fin­land’s fifth For­mula One race win­ner fol­low­ing Keke Ros­berg, Mika Hakki­nen, Kimi Raikko­nen and Heikki Ko­valainen, who was the last from the Nordic coun­try to tri­umph, at the 2008 Hun­gar­ian Grand Prix.

Vet­tel was seem­ingly as pleased for Bot­tas as if he had won him­self.

“I tried ev­ery­thing to catch him and I thought there would be an op­por­tu­nity on the back straight,” the Ger­man said.

“I thought I could do it, but I wasn’t sure what Felipe Massa would do and I ended up los­ing out. It doesn’t mat­ter though. Big congratulations to Valt­teri. This is his day.”

Raikko­nen said: “I have had a bit of a rough start to the sea­son, but this week has been a step for­ward, but we still only fin­ished third. So, we’ll keep try­ing.” AFP

AP PIC

Mercedes’ Valt­teri Bot­tas takes a cor­ner fol­lowed by Fer­rari driver Se­bas­tian Vet­tel in the Rus­sian Grand Prix yes­ter­day.

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