Hamilton puzzled by Sochi weekend

Raikkonen made it two Finns in the top three with Britain's Lewis Hamilton, Vettel's closest rival, struggling to match the leaders' pace and finishing fourth for Mercedes.

Vettel was chasing Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages as the pair went through traffic, and he lost crucial momentum behind Massa. "Lewis was one of the first to congratulate Valtteri on his first race victory and that shows the respect they have towards each other".

The Sochi Autodrom has known nothing but Mercedes victories since it began hosting the Russian Grand Prix in 2014. Max Verstappen was fifth home for the Austrian team, but more than a minute behind race victor Bottas. It was a unusual opportunity for me to join this team and they (Mercedes) made it possible, so I would like to thank them and the team, it would have not been possible.

Bottas's first F1 victory in last weekend's Russian Grand Prix prompted warm congratulations from other drivers, but he expects the pleasantries will be shortlived. Tell us in the comment section below. "I'm just keen to prove more in the next few races", he added.

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Hamilton slipped to 13 points behind Vettel in the championship, with Bottas now only 10 adrift of the British three-time champion.

"I don't remember the last time we had that [overheating]", Hamilton said.

Fifth place went to Max Verstappen, followed by Sergio Perez in sixth and Esteban Ocon in seventh.

Having replaced retired champion Nico Rosberg in a late move ahead of the 2017 campaign, Bottas had been expected to play second fiddle to Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton this season, and had entered the week fighting off questions about team orders going against him.

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For Mercedes, the win is a strong response to Ferrari's good early-season pace following its winless 2016.

Bottas was the first of the leading pack to pit on lap 27 and Vettel tried to pull clear by staying out to lap 34.

In the end, Bottas managed to cross the line just 0.617 seconds after Vettel.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was the most notable retirement, parking his vehicle on lap 6 after the right-rear brakes caught fire.

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The safety vehicle was then deployed after a collision between Renault's Jolyon Palmer and Haas's Romain Grosjean put both out, and the race settled down into a procession before the nail-biting finale.

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