At the moment it is all laughing and joking, handshakes and backslaps between the drivers, but the Formula One season is only four races old and Valtteri Bottas thinks that it could all be very different by the end of the year.
Toto Wolff was overjoyed to see Valtteri Bottas take his first Grand Prix victory as the Finn took the chequered flag first at the Sochi Autodrom on Sunday. His win might have been a long time coming, but when it finally did arrive, it was a commanding one. One that proved that Bottas certainly has what it takes.
Thanks to his consistently strong performance, Vettel's lead has grown in the 2017 Drivers' Championship.
Sebestian Vettel finished second ahead of Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen who claimed his first podium finish since last year's 2017 Austrian Grand Prix.
While Bottas made a great start, leading the pack into the first corner, Hamilton lost out to the Ferraris and over the course of the next 51 laps his frustration was obvious as he queried team instructions about auto temperatures and even strategy.
With Vettel breathing down his neck, Bottas stayed composed to seal a win for Mercedes.
2017 Formula One Russian Grand Prix Enlarge
"So I think we're working well as a team but I'd say also we did today against the Ferrari drivers". On the first lap, Romain Grosjean and Jolyon Palmer collided, knocking both cars out of the race. The two drivers were out of the race, as was Fernando Alonso, whose bad season with McLaren continued.
And former World Champion Fernando Alonso had to pull out of the race before it had even started after his McLaren broke down on the formation lap.
Ricciardo told his team over the radio that his "right rear brake [was] on fire". This meant that Vettel was able to catch up to the Mercedes driver, chipping away at his lead. It did not help him, however, as he emerged behind Bottas after the change of tyres. It's going to be close between both of the Ferraris and both of the Mercedes drivers this year, so it will be exciting - but unfortunately a lot of times it will depend on what happens on the first lap.
The three-time champion had struggled throughout the weekend and, frequently complaining on the team radio about his vehicle overheating, could not get close to the podium.
"When I drive, there's not much emotion in there", Bottas said after his win. But the Finn didn't break a sweat.
"I can't explain it", said Hamilton. Kimi Raikkonen too showcased some neat driving this weekend to finish third. He sits on 86 points versus the 73 of second-placed Hamilton. Hulkenberg claimed eighth place, and then it was Williams' Felipe Massa in ninth and Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz in tenth to claim the final points.
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