Bottas claims Russian Grand Prix win after Hamilton penalty

Valtteri BottasValtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas
The Finn closes the gap in the championship to 44 points

Valtteri Bottas fired back at his critics as he claimed victory at the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi on Sunday.

Bottas took the lead when teammate Lewis Hamilton was handed a 10-second penalty for pre-race start infringements, and never looked back as he cruised to his second win in Sochi.

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Hamilton recovered to claim third, behind Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen, who reversed a run of two DNFs to return to the podium.

Max VerstappenMax Verstappen
Max Verstappen

Bottas said: "A big Bee hit my visor at the start and made me go wide! But Lewis got the penalty and once I was in front, I could control the pace and it was awesome!

"It's nice to win again, it has been a while, so I need to maintain the momentum to close the gap to Lewis."

Verstappen said: "The start cost me a bit but after that, I think we were slower than the Mercedes on the mediums. But to split the Mercedes cars today we have to be happy with that. I was trying to do my own race, we managed it well and we did all we could.

"I'm very happy with second after two DNFs."

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Lewis HamiltonLewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton addee: "It's not the greatest day. I'll take the points we got and move on. I didn't have to do much, just hold my position. Congratulations to Valtteri."

Sergio Perez did a fine job to come home fourth for Racing Point, after teammate Lance Stroll was pitched into the wall on the first lap by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth, ahead of Leclerc in sixth, with Esteban Ocon holding off home-crowd hero Daniil Kvyat in the Alpha Tauri.

Pierre Gasly was ninth, beating Alex Albon with a late move on the Red Bull man, who survived a five-second penalty for corner cutting in the closing stages.