Bottas plays down late-race Vettel threat

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"He did a fantastic job". "He's been fast all weekend, so exceptional and great for the team". "I want to win this year. I am just hopeful in the next races I will be able to pick up the pace".

Three retirements this season has seen the team fall almost 80 points behind Mercedes and Ferrari in the Constructors' Championship, while the RB13 has not had the pace to keep up with the leading duo.

"For me winning the championship is the only goal in my career so we will keep pushing for that", Bottas, who received his winner's trophy from Russian President Vladimir Putin, said. "It has stopped Sebastian pulling away too far".

Starting from third, he immediately pulled alongside Raikkonen before using the tow off Vettel's Ferrari to take the lead on the 220mph run down to turn two.

While Bottas made a great start, leading the pack into the first corner, Hamilton lost out to the Ferraris and over the course of the next 51 laps his frustration was obvious as he queried team instructions about auto temperatures and even strategy. I'm confident that we have the right people, the right tools on board and we will make progress.

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. "It's going to be a fight with four different drivers", Bottas said.

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"There's still a long way to go, I'm still second in the championship. If and when it comes to the championship fight there might be less talking and more fighting on the track". "He has been on pole once already and won the race today with a lot of pressure from Sebastian", the Mercedes chief added.

"But, actually getting the confirmation and getting the result [is important]".

"It took quite a while to win - more than 80 races for me - but it was definitely worth the wait and worth the learning curve". "We're obviously disappointed at not sealing out first win, but this weekend has made me even more determined".

By lap 42 of the 52 trips around the 5.848-kilometre circuit, Bottas' lead was down to 1.1 seconds but Vettel was subsequently held up by backmarkers to ease the pressure.

"It's been a milestone event in my career", said Evans. "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".

Vettel brought the gap down to three seconds as Bottas negotiated traffic in the next eight laps before the Mercedes driver made his pit stop on lap 27, and Ferrari chose to use a different strategy to put Vettel back in the fight.

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