F1: Vettel stretches lead over Hamilton

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 3, 2017

But the 27-year-old, who was plucked from Williams to fill Rosberg's championship-winning seat only in January, responded in exemplary fashion and must now be considered as a real threat, not only to Hamilton and his de facto number one status at Mercedes, but perhaps Vettel, for this year's title, too.

The Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen both out-qualified Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

"First of all, he handed a very pleasant tow to Valtteri on the last lap, and I was in the DRS, which was tough enough to do.And then he let him by and I don't know if he knew there was another auto coming".

"It was definitely one of my best races ever, so it's a good feeling and I am happy".

Kimi Raikkonen had his best performance of the season last weekend in Russian Federation, scoring his first podium finish of 2017, closing on Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel in the second part of the Sochi race, after just missing out on his first pole position to his team mate.

"Hearing the Finnish national anthem is something quite special for me", he said.

After a six-minute stoppage, Bottas was sharpest at the re-start when the Safety Car pulled in and he dominated, pulling 3.1 seconds clear of Vettel by lap 10 as Hamilton, back in fourth, struggled with intermittent power and over-heating problems. In his fifth Formula One season, Bottas now has a auto capable of fighting for regular wins and hopes Sunday will prove "the first of many".

"I was ready to go, I don't know why there was a delay so I didn't get a proper read of how the grip was".

Bottas believes he will get a boost in confidence from confirming he has the ability to win grands prix.

"And, yes, I did ask for radio silence from the pit-wall for me to get on it and get focused".

"This unusual opportunity came to me in the winter to join the team - and they made it possible". Of those, seven have made the podium at least once, five have won a race and three - Keke Rosberg, Mika Hakkinen and Raikkonen - became world champions. The direction he was able to go I wasn't able to go, basically. Once handing him a pleasant tow and then he cost me a bit of time. "I can't remember having as hard a weekend as this for a while - the last time I remember was probably Baku past year".

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