Valtteri Bottas gets that winning feeling at last

"Amazing." Said Bottas. "It took quite a while, more than eighty races for me, but definitely worth the wait, a learning curve. But l need to recover the pace l had previously because it was a very, very average weekend".

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff said Hamilton's struggles had tempered his feelings towards Valtteri Bottas's maiden success somewhat. "It has stopped Sebastian pulling away too far".

But the win by Bottas nearly wasn't, as Vettel returned to the race after a pit stop on lap 34, coming out just five seconds behind and started to eat in to Mercedes lead, and with just a few laps to go Vettel was just a second behind.

Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, has not been on the podium since July previous year and Saturday was the first time the Finn had qualified on the front row since Ferrari's home Italian Grand Prix in September 2015.

Bottas had to hold off a late charge from Sebastian Vettel, who set up a thrilling final four laps by closing up to within DRS range of the Finn. Nevertheless, both are fierce competitors and want to win races and fight for a championship but I don't think it will affect the team and the dynamic like it did with Nico.

He started on pole and did not win, but Vettel was still smiling on the podium. "When I got the message we got it I was over the moon".

Though it was Bottas who was the dominant Mercedes driver in Sochi, at this stage it will be still Hamilton, the triple world champion, who Vettel sees as his main title rival, so out-scoring him is still a major positive.

"It's a little bit surreal, obviously it's the first win, hopefully first of many!" I always trusted my ability but it's nice to get a confirmation that this kind of results are possible, everything is possible.

Hamilton arrived in Sochi as a two-times victor at the Olympic Park street circuit, a track where only his Mercedes team had won since the first race there in 2014, but he struggled to find his rhythm. "Thanks so much to the team and the factory".

Since joining Mercedes, Bottas had been struggling to match the knowledge of the auto and the team that Hamilton has built up over four seasons with Mercedes, including two titles. He has proven that he can win.

"So I think we're working well as a team but I'd say also we did today against the Ferrari drivers".