Bottas wins the Russian Grand Prix

Image: PUMA Motorsport / Twitter

Going into the fourth race of the season all eyes were on the championship battle between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, but it was Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas who stole the show.

Can't beat Bottas

Over the past couple of weeks Bottas has been showing signs that he was finally starting to settle in at Mercedes after joining the team during the winter.

The Finnish driver put his car on pole position in Bahrain two weeks ago, and qualified ahead of Hamilton this weekend in Russia.

Bottas had a great start to the Russian Grand Prix by first pulling ahead of Kimi Räikkönen and then outdragged Sebastian Vettel into the first corner to take the lead.

A first corner accident between Haas' Romain Grosjean and Renault's Jolyon Palmer brought out the safety car, but once the race was restarted Bottas quickly built up a decent gap between himself and Vettel.

Vettel stopped for a set of supersoft tyres on Lap 34 emerging from the pits almost five seconds behind Bottas.

With almost twenty laps left in the races and newer tyres, it seemed almost inevitable that the lead was Vettel's for the taking, however it took the Ferrari driver much longer than expected to get close enough to challenge Bottas.

In the closing laps Vettel got close enough to activate DRS, but his challenge came to an abrupt end on the final lap when he was briefly held up while lapping Felipe Massa in the Williams.

Hamilton falling behind in the Drivers Championship

Ferrari may feel that victory at the Russian Grand Prix slipped through their fingers, but the points from Vettel's second place finish extended his championship lead over Lewis Hamilton to thirteen points.

It was another frustrating weekend at the Sochi Autodrom for Hamilton, who was plagued by mechanical issues during the race for the second season running.

In the battle at the top of the Constructors Championship Bottas' win coupled with the twelve points from Hamilton's fourth place moved Mercedes back in front of Ferrari by a single point.

McLaren sinks to a new low

The past couple of weeks of reporting on Fernando Alonso's decision to race at the Indy 500 was a welcome change of pace, but just when you thought when things couldn't get any worse for the double World Champion it got worse. 

A failure in the Honda engine's ERS unit was suspected to be the cause of Alonso's formation lap retirement, but after four races the frustrated Spaniard still has not managed to finish a single one.

"There is nothing we can do from a driver's point of view," Alonso lamented after the race. "We drive as fast as we can, we help the team as much as we can, we prepare for the race with fitness and our engineers and then we come here and it switches off."

McLaren boss Eric Boullier agreed with Alonso saying the latest Honda failure was "not acceptable".

Surprisingly, despite the reliability and power issues plaguing their engines Honda announced earlier this weekend that they struck a deal to supply Sauber starting in 2018, however the latest engine failure must be of concern to the Swiss team.

The Formula 1 season will resume in two weeks for the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.