F1: Bottas Wins Russian Grand Prix After Hamilton Penalty

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Valtteri Bottas rejoicing with his Mercedes team after claiming his second win of 2020 in Sochi. Image sourced from @MercedesAMGF1 via Twitter.

The Flying Finn Victorious In Russia.

From Russia With Love

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas claimed a ninth career victory at the Russian Grand Prix.

A repeat of the Finn’s maiden win at the Sochi Autodrom in 2017, where he also won from third on the grid.

Bottas addressed his doubters during his post race radio, saying, “A message to my critics. To whom it may concern, f**k you.”

Bottas: “Once I was in clean air I felt that the pace was pretty awesome and that I could control everything.”

“It’s a good day. It’s nice to get another win as it’s been a while and I now need to keep the momentum going.”

“Never give up.”

Redemption

In second came Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who held his grid position to the flag, splitting both Mercedes.

The Dutchman securing his first points finish since the Belgian Grand Prix.

Verstappen: “To be able to split the Mercedes cars we can be pleased with that.”

“I was just trying to do my own race. I’m very happy with second after two DNF’s.”

Bottas challenged Hamilton off the line, nearly passing through Turn 2 but ultimately had to settle for second.

However, a ten second time penalty for Lewis Hamilton for a practice start violation pre-race saw Bottas inherit the lead, where he would then finish.

The Brit was also awarded two penalty points on his super licence for the infringement, his total currently rests at ten, just two off a race ban.

When questioned by Sky Sports F1 post race regarding his penalty, Hamilton stated.

“I didn’t put anyone in danger. I’ve done this at a million tracks over the years and never been questioned on it. But it is what it is.”

“It’s to be expected, they are trying to stop me.”

Sochi Smash

Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. both suffered heavy impacts on the opening lap, resulting in an early safety car.

Despite a good start, Sainz hit the barrier while attempting to rejoin the track after going wide at Turn 2.

The Spaniard was sent careering across the track as a result, narrowly avoiding additional contact.

“First of all, apologies to the entire team. I went too deep and left the track, so I decided to run over the kerb and go around the bollards to avoid the penalty.”

“It was a quick decision, the angle was very tight and I simply misjudged my speed.”

Moreover, the incident compromised team-mate Lando Norris who had to circumvent Sainz, subsequently dropping him down the order.

Norris never fully recovered, suffering with steering issues for the majority of the grand prix, ultimately crossing the line in fifteenth.

“The incident ahead that involved Carlos, I had to avoid. I think it damaged some bits on the car and made it a lot trickier to finish the race.”

In the proceeding moments of the crash, Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari understeered into Stroll at the exit of Turn 4, pitching the Canadian into the wall.

Leclerc escaped damage and a penalty, while Stroll suffered his second consecutive DNF.

Stroll: “I’m dissapointed that such a careless move cost us a potentially good result.”

“What’s done is done, and I’m ready to focus on coming back stronger.”

Sergio Pérez in the sister Racing Point recovered from a poor start to finish in fourth place.

Despite Sergio Pérez not using the updated RP20 package, that didn’t stop the Mexican from producing. Image sourced from @RacingPointF1 via Twitter.

Checo performed a stunning overtake on Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo during his recovery.

Passing the Australian through the long left hander of Turn 3.

Ricciardo who ultimately crossed the line in fifth was jumped by team-mate Ocon in the early stages of the grand prix.

As the race progressed, Renault asked Ocon to let his team-mate by.

Although, it didn’t go according to plan as Daniel locked up during the swap, caught out by Ocon’s car placement.

Being awarded a five second penalty for not rejoining correctly after his mistake, similar to the investigations after qualifying yesterday.

When informed about the penalty by his race engineer, the ‘Honey Badger’ replied with, “Ok, I’ll drive faster.”

Luckily for Renault he did overcome the deficit, finishing over five seconds ahead of Leclerc in sixth and Ocon in seventh.

Leclerc: “It was a surprise for us to be competitive in the race. We have to understand why, but it’s positive.”

“We are more competitive than other cars. At Mugello it was difficult. But here we took a step forward.”

Home Hero

Russian native Daniil Kvyat pulled off an alternative one-stop strategy, bringing home his AlphaTauri in eight place.

Kvyat’s team-mate Pierre Gasly overtook Alexander Albon late on, securing himself ninth position and his first points since his victory at Monza.

In stark contrast to Tuscany where Albon took his maiden podium, the Thai struggled with his RB16 throughout the race.

After such a high in Mugello, Albon found hardship once more, being outclassed by team-mate Verstappen by some margin on Sunday. Image sourced from Getty Images ©

Starting fiftheenth, Albon could only manage tenth place, as well as receiving a five second penalty for not rejoining the track correctly.

Albon: “After the gearbox penalty, today was about damage limitation.”

“We did as much as we could, but it was difficult out there.”

The Veteran

While rumours spool about his future in Formula One beyond 2020, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen matched Rubens Barichello’s all-time record for race starts with 322.

Despite not partaking in the 2010 and  2011 seasons, the Finn will become the most experienced F1 driver next time out at the Nürburgring.

Race Highlights

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