The win moved Bottas towards title contention - he is now within 23 points of Ferrari's championship leader Sebastian Vettel and just 10 behind Hamilton.

He was certainly out of contention for the victory, and despite getting to within two seconds of Raikkonen, never threatened the Ferrari driver for the final place on the podium.

Kimi Raikkonen learned in the middle of the race that he was behind Valtteri Bottas in Sochi and not behind Lewis HamiltonKimi Raikkonen is known for its spontaneous radio reactions.

"Ultimately I just was not quick enough. It's not going to that simple this year, it's going to be a massive fight".

After his first stop, Ferrari informed him of his delay on Valtteri Bottas. "It takes time to settle into a new team, particularly one that's been centred a bit around Lewis, and he's come in at the last minute". How many points you score, how many races you can win, how many times you be on the podium - that's the name of the game. "I'm happy with my performance, happy with my result, and we need to keep doing and working like that".

"It's going to be a long year". 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".

That could mean that the niceties between the rivals and even within Mercedes could soon end.

Hamilton and Rosberg were close friends prior to their pairing at Mercedes and the Silver Arrows team's dominance over the rest of the grid saw them go up against each other nearly every weekend in the last three seasons.

Vettel, who had started on pole, hunted Bottas down in the latter part of the race.

"It seems that Ferrari has a wider range of operating temperatures in the way they use the tires", he said. Nevertheless they are fierce competitors and want to win races and fight for the championship.

"I thought there would be an opportunity on the back straight".

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.

When the five red lights went out at Sochi, it was Bottas who managed to leap into the lead and eventually pull clear of Vettel.

Valtteri Bottas' hopes of securing a new Formula 1 contract with Mercedes contract beyond 2017 took a big step forward in Russian Federation.


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