Pole sitter Sebastian Vettel was left furious after his hopes of passing race winner Valtteri Bottas on the last lap were dashed by having to lap the Williams of Felipe Massa. “What was that?” Vettel asked over the team radio in frustration that Massa hadn’t moved out of his way swiftly enough, though the German was in conciliatory mood afterward.
Following the race Vettel says Massa did Bottas “a favour twice” on the final lap of the Finn’s Russian Grand Prix win. The Finn looked on path for an open win until a rare mistake saw him damage a both front tyre and lost couple of seconds. That helped Vettel to close in, but Bottas held on to cross the line 0.6 seconds ahead of the Ferrari.
“He [Massa] did cost me,” Vettel said. “First of all, he handed a very pleasant tow to Valtteri on the last lap, and I was in the DRS, which was tough enough to do.And then he let him by and I don’t know if he knew there was another car coming. I don’t think, maybe.
“Obviously Felipe did him a favour twice. Once handing him a pleasant tow and then he cost me a bit of time. But that’s how it is with backmarkers.”
Four-time world champion Vettel says an “amazing” first stint was key to Bottas first victory.
“Our start was probably a match with Valtteri,” Vettel added. “Maybe he gained a bit of momentum, he had a massive tow.
“I defended the inside but when we approached the braking zone he was in front and able to shut the door on me. That is where he won the race, he then had an amazing first stint – I couldn’t stay with him. The German added
“It was Valtteri’s race, he drove an incredible race, he had incredible pace. He deserved to win because he drove better than all of us.”