After over 80 races in Formula One, Valtteri Bottas is now a Grand Prix winner. The Finn made an amazing start to take the lead on the first lap of the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi. He then withstood late pressure from championship leader Sebastian Vettel to take the chequered flag.

It is the first win for a Finnish driver since Kimi Raikkonen won the 2013 Australian Grand Prix. Bottas becomes the fifth Finn in the championship's history to take the top step of the podium.

Raikkonen was third ahead of an off-form Lewis Hamilton who lagged behind in fourth.

The Finns fightback

Heading into the weekend, there were questions being raised about the early season performances of Bottas and Raikkonen.

Bottas has had to settle quickly into a new team and establish a relationship with race engineer, Tony Ross. He has already shown flashes of speed but wasn't consistent enough. Raikkonen has looked way off Vettel's pace, was rebuked by Ferrari's president for his lack of performance and as ever, questions have been raised over his motivation. Both fought back in great style at Sochi.

Raikkonen looked fast all weekend. He topped the timesheets in FP1 and had he not made a mistake on the final corner of his last flying lap, he might have taken his first pole since the 2008 French Grand Prix.

He recovered well from a poor start and showed strong pace on the super-soft tyre, finishing less than 10 seconds behind the winner.

Bottas excelled throughout. He handed out a comprehensive beating to Hamilton, lapping faster all weekend. Although he was disappointed to miss out on back-to-back pole positions, his start was fabulous.

He jumped past Raikkonen instantly and then worked himself into the slipstream and charged past Vettel before the first major braking point on the circuit. His first stint was flawless as the expected Ferrari race pace evaporated. Vettel did look more comfortable on the harder of the tyre compounds used and reeled him in after the pitstops but Bottas held firm, kept calm and took his maiden success.

Baffling weekend for Lewis

Whilst Bottas sparkled, Lewis Hamilton had a flat and lacklustre weekend. When Nico Rosberg defeated Hamilton in their four seasons together as teammates, it was often self-inflicted or through car woes. Not on this occasion. Hamilton can have no complaints and to be honest, he didn't either. He was magnanimous in congratulating his teammate afterwards and will put this down to a weekend where he was chasing the perfect setup and couldn't find it.

There were issues with cooling on both Mercedes cars and Hamilton seemed more preoccupied with temperature margins in the first stint of the race rather than concentrating on the job of hunting down Raikkonen.

The only consolation this weekend was that Vettel didn't win so the damage wasn't as much as it could have been.

Jolyon needs a result

It was another nightmare weekend for the other Brit on the grid, Jolyon Palmer.

Whilst teammate Nico Hulkenberg finished in the points again in eighth spot, Palmer had a shocker. His Renault developed technical problems on Saturday morning before crashing in qualifying and being knocked out in Q1. Meanwhile, Hulkenberg made Q3 for the third successive event. Palmer's race didn't last long either, colliding with the Haas of Romain Grosjean on the first lap. The Brit was touched into a half-spin by the Frenchman, then collected Grosjean on the exit of turn two. Neither went any further and both blamed the other for the crash.

Palmer needs a result. There is speculation already that Fernando Alonso might return in 2018 to the Enstone-outift.

Hulkenberg is going nowhere soon having just joined. Palmer's career in the sport is looking in jeopardy.

Sauber and Honda: A sensible move

Ex-team principal Eddie Jordan revealed on Channel 4 that Honda and McLaren will split at the end of the season after an alliance that has been nothing short of catastrophic for both parties.

Sauber will become Honda's main partners from 2018 onwards. The move makes sense for both parties. It will be a fresh start for Honda whilst Sauber get a works engine deal and more technical support whilst having not to fork out fortunes for a customer engine. Power will inevitably be a problem but that probably doesn't worry Sauber who would have low expectations anyway.

For the record, Alonso didn't even start as his car packed up on the formation lap. He stormed away from his machinery and probably can't wait to get to the US this week for his first test in an IndyCar ahead of his Indy 500 bow in late May.

F1 heads into mainland Europe with the Spanish Grand Prix the next event and Valtteri Bottas has shown in Russia that it might not be the expected two-driver shootout for the title we've all been predicting.