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The 2017 Russian Grand Prix (Russian: Гран-при России 2017 года), formally known as the 2017 Formula 1 VTB Russian Grand Prix, was a Formula One motor race that took place on 30 April 2017 as the fourth round of the 2017 season. The fifty-two lap race was held at the Sochi Autodrom, marking the fourth running of the Russian Grand Prix as a round of the Formula One World Championship. Valtteri Bottas won the race by 0.617 seconds over Sebastian Vettel, the smallest winning margin since the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Going into the race, Vettel led Lewis Hamilton in the World Drivers' Championship by seven points, with Bottas third; they remained in the same order after the race. In the World Constructors' Championship, Ferrari was in the lead ahead of Mercedes before the race, with Red Bull Racing third; Mercedes was ahead of Ferrari after the race.
Vettel started the race from pole, with his teammate Kimi Räikkönen in second in Ferrari's first front-row start since the 2008 French Grand Prix.
The initial start was aborted, as Fernando Alonso was unable to start, pulling up in the opening to the pit lane because of engine issues. Team radio from the initial parade lap suggested issues with the MGU-K electronic power supplementary unit – leading to a loss of hybrid power. Already dogged with under-performance issues at the best of times, a race in the MCL32 without energy recovery system's (ERS) aid would be noncompetitive and putting an unnecessary wear upon the rest of the power unit (something that Alonso's McLaren teammate Stoffel Vandoorne learned after being given a 15-place grid penalty, because restrictive 2017 regulations stipulate that only four power units per driver and car may be exchanged throughout the season – a limit exceeded by Vandoorne before this race – without the incurring of dire grid penalties). With Alonso's car already being at least partially on its fourth, and last, permitted power unit of the season on only race 4 out of 20, in the light of the charge failure, a decision was made to retire Alonso from the race in order to preserve the car and save it for a more competitive day – with an improved engine from Honda expected before the European leg of the championship. Unfortunately, Alonso was unable to even complete the formation lap, suffering from a total car failure before being able to return to the pitlane. Carlos Sainz Jr. was also marred with a 3-place penalty as a result of causing a collision with Lance Stroll at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Because of Alonso's car obstructing the track, the start was aborted by the FIA's race director Charlie Whiting, and the cars were sent on an additional formation lap. The race was accordingly shortened by a lap – making fuel management easier, as observed by former F1 race driver, David Coulthard via Channel 4 commentary. Meanwhile, Sky Sports F1 pundit and former F1 driver Paul di Resta noted how aborted starts could lead to diminished concentration on the start-proper, due to losing mental focus after preparing for the initial start. The extra formation lap and standing on the grid would also give the clutch and brakes less efficiency for the start-proper. These factors possibly assisted Bottas in taking the race win by catching pole sitter Sebastian Vettel out with a better start as opposed to Vettel's less efficient start. Meanwhile, the reduced number of laps would allow for more liberal fuel consumption enabling the Finn to open up the taps when out front in clean air, while depriving Vettel the chance of chasing him down for the full race distance – swinging to Bottas's favour, considering that Vettel was rapidly closing in in the latter stages of race.
The action of the race was by and large confined to the opening lap. Valtteri Bottas attained his maiden victory as a result of slipping into first place on the back of an excellent start, passing the Ferrari lockout before turn 2 – aided by starting from the clean side of the grid, and picking up the slipstream behind Vettel. Hamilton attempted the same, but was squeezed abreast on both sides by the Ferrari of Räikkönen, now running 3rd – and Ricciardo of Red Bull, challenging for 4th from 5th. This caused him to be held up and hemmed into his starting grid position, where he would stay for the remainder of the race. Vettel meanwhile pulled away from tight racing of the main straight, and set himself off from the pack, in hot pursuit of Bottas, a position he would go on to hold throughout this race. Vettel briefly led the race when Bottas went into the pits following his one-stop strategy, but then lost his position again after his own pit stop. He again spent the final third of the race gradually closing the distance between himself and Bottas, coming to within 0.7 second just a few laps before the end. Lapped traffic, particularly the delayed Williams of Massa, however, ultimately prevented him from overtaking the race leader, leading to a secure second place for the German. Kimi Räikkönen cleanly rounded off the podium. He once again set a late fastest lap of 1:36.844 on lap 49, recording not only the fast lap of the race, but also the fastest ever lap at the circuit. At the checkered flag, he was followed by Lewis Hamilton, finishing a distant 4th. Hamilton had struggled with overheating throughout the race.
Non-finishers were Fernando Alonso, who failed to make it to the grid with a hybrid-charge failure, as well as Jolyon Palmer and Romain Grosjean who crashed on the first lap – which caused a safety car deployment – putting them both out of the race. Daniel Ricciardo retired with brake problems while running in 7th. Felipe Massa was running in 6th, when he obtained a slow puncture and had to pit for new tyres, falling to 9th behind the Force Indias of Sergio Pérez and Esteban Ocon as well as the Renault of Nico Hülkenberg.
There were very few on-track overtakes after the safety car period. Despite making up two places before turn 2, Max Verstappen's Red Bull did not advance further, finishing a lonely 5th, a whole minute behind Bottas, once again showing Red Bull's struggles to keep up with Ferrari and Mercedes. The team's problems were compounded by the retirement of Daniel Ricciardo, being their third mechanical failure in four races. Result List
1 77 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 52 1:28:08.743 3 25
2 5 Germany Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 52 +0.617 1 18
3 7 Finland Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 52 +11.000 2 15
4 44 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 52 +36.230 4 12
5 33 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer 52 +1:00.416 7 10
6 11 Mexico Sergio Pérez Force India-Mercedes 52 +1:26.788 9 8
7 31 France Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 52 +1:35.004 10 6
8 27 Germany Nico Hülkenberg Renault 52 +1:36.188 8 4
9 19 Brazil Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 51 +1 Lap 6 2
10 55 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 51 +1 Lap 14 1
11 18 Canada Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 51 +1 Lap 11
12 26 Russia Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 51 +1 Lap 12
13 20 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 51 +1 Lap 13
14 2 Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda 51 +1 Lap 20
15 9 Sweden Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 51 +1 Lap 18
16 94 Germany Pascal Wehrlein Sauber-Ferrari 50 +2 Laps 17
Ret 3 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer 5 Brakes 5
Ret 30 United Kingdom Jolyon Palmer Renault 0 Accident 16
Ret 8 France Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 0 Accident 19
DNS 14 Spain Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 0 Gearbox –1 FanartBannerPotential Filenames
Formula 1 2017-04-30 Russian Grand Prix.mkv
Formula 1 2017-04-30 Russian Grand Prix.avi
Formula 1 2017-04-30 Russian Grand Prix.mp4