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"He is a very good replacement for Nico, I have to say".

Grosjean and Palmer's respective races lasted just two corners, with the former trying a pass at Turn 2 down the inside.

Bottas continued to lead the field once racing got back underway but Vettel began to reel him in, forcing the Mercedes crew to pit him from the lead for fresh Pirelli ultrasoft tires.

Bottas, who became Finland's first victor in F1 since Kimi Raikkonen took victory at the 2013 season-opening Australian Grand Prix, believes the result will give him a boost for the rest of the season.

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.

Kimi Raikkonen had a majestic weekend in Sochi, finishing on the podium for the first time since last year's Austrian Grand Prix before clocking the fastest lap of 1:36.844 on lap 49.

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Hamilton slipped 13 points behind Sebastian Vettel in the standings, who consolidated his lead with second place. It's very very nice of him to be very professional about everything so far and he's been in front of me now... he's done a great job and I think vice versa.

The safety auto 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.

For now, Ferrari and Mercedes each has two wins this season. "And for my first one, it's very special", said Bottas. Eventually it was Bottas who pitted first, and shod his Mercedes with new super-soft tyres. "So many things we have to look at to understand and try to find out how we can optimize the performance of the vehicle because we have a real fight". It's going to be close between both of the Ferraris and both of the Mercedes drivers this year, so it will be exciting - but unfortunately a lot of times it will depend on what happens on the first lap. Despite the huge pressure in the closing stages Bottas held firm to become F1's 107th race victor, something Lauda believes deserves enormous credit.

In the end, Bottas managed to cross the line just 0.617 seconds after Vettel. "It's going to be a fight with four different drivers".

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen claimed fifth, ahead of the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon.


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