"Amazing" first stint won Bottas the race - Vettel

Sebastian Vettel says an "amazing" first stint was key to Valtteri Bottas earning his first Formula 1 victory in the Russian Grand Prix.

"Amazing" first stint won Bottas the race - Vettel
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08 and Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Race winner Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1
Podium: race winner Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1, second place Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, third place kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari

Bottas started third in his Mercedes but led into Turn 2 after getting the jump on pole-man Vettel and the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.

After managing an early safety car, Bottas led comfortably in the opening half of the grand prix, growing his lead to 5.5 seconds at one stage and pitting on lap 27 of 52 with a 2.5s advantage.

He then withstood a late charge as Vettel rallied with fresher super-softs to win by 0.6s.

"Our start was probably a match with Valtteri," said Vettel. "Maybe he gained a bit of momentum, he had a massive tow.

"I defended the inside but when we approached the braking zone he was in front and able to shut the door on me. That is where he won the race, he then had an amazing first stint – I couldn't stay with him.

"It was Valtteri's race, he drove an incredible race, he had incredible pace. He deserved to win because he drove better than all of us."

Vettel got within DRS range of the Mercedes late on but was denied any chance of a last-lap move when he got delayed by Felipe Massa's Williams.

Massa move aside on the approach to Turn 4, but Vettel had already had to back off through the flat-out left hand of Turn 3.

He complained to his team over the radio about Massa, but was calmer when asked about the incident on the podium.

"I tried everything to catch Valtteri and I thought there might be some opportunity," said Vettel. "I was sure he [Massa] would lift around Turn 3. But it doesn't matter."

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