The first win is the hardest, Lauda tells Bottas

Bottas' team-mate Lewis Hamilton capped a hard weekend with a race to forget and finished only fourth behind Raikkonen. Starting from third on the grid, Bottas made a storming start at the Sochi Autodrom and delivered a powerful opening stint to stay clear of four-time champion Vettel's Ferrari, the German admitting he could not live with the Finn's pace at that time. We have had a tricky beginning of the year, and today it was very close. Eventually he pulled away, got past the Felipe Massa, who he lapped, and headed straight for the chequered flag.

It was Valtteri Bottas who was the victor in Sochi, but it was an interesting day for the other protagonists at the front as Sebastian Vettel took second while Lewis Hamilton toiled.

They are both chasing Sebastian Vettel, the championship leader, who has already amassed 86 points, a lead of 37 points from fellow Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, who is in fourth.

It's fair to say that, though rare, when Lewis Hamilton has an "off" weekend, it is totally off, think Baku a year ago or Singapore 2015. I slowed before corner four and he didn't want to go.

"I think I had the pace to fight with Kimi but the vehicle was just overheating the whole the time". We keep trying and keep improving and I'm sure we'll get there, but all the small details have to be exactly there and then you will get the first place. He went on to win 20 races, as has countryman Kimi Raikkonen.

The two battled for the title three-time - with Hamilton winning in 2014 and 2015, while Rosberg came out on top in 2016.

"He is a very good replacement for Nico, I have to say". Speed wise, I think I know where it is, so I'll just try and fix for the next one. But it's nice to get confirmation that the results are possible.

He pitted on lap 31 but continued to struggle for pace, eventually finishing 36 seconds behind race victor - and team-mate - Valtteri Bottas. "This unusual opportunity came to me in the winter to join this team and they made it possible today".

The result left Hamilton 13 points behind title rival Vettel in the championship.

"I immediately opened the radio 'tell me about the others, tell me about the others!'", he said. He has proven that he can win. The Finn becomes the sport's 107th different victor since 1950 and the first since Max Verstappen in Spain a year ago.