Valtteri Bottas wins the Russian Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas won the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday. His Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton’s race was ruined by penalties. The crowd present was the largest of the pandemic-hit season.

Bottas also claimed the bonus point for fastest lap. He said he wanted to “thank my critics” after ending a run of eight races without a win despite having, with Hamilton, by far the fastest car.

Two first-lap crashes brought out the safety car as McLaren’s Carlos Sainz clipped a barrier while trying to rejoin the track from a run-off area. Lance Stroll’s Racing Point span into a barrier after contact with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

Sergio Perez was fourth for Racing Point in his best placing of the season, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo for Renault. Leclerc finished at the sixth position which was Ferrari’s best placing for seven races. This is one of the Italian team’s worst-ever seasons. His teammate Sebastian Vettel trailed in 13th after a crash in qualifying.

Russia allowed larger crowds than at any other round of the F1 season to date. Fans wore masks in stands filled to around half of normal capacity. Final attendance figures weren’t immediately available, but Russian media reported around 30,000 spectators were expected over the race weekend.

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