Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton Wins Dramatic Azerbaijan GP
Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton won the Azerbaijan GP in chaotic circumstances. A first for him this season, but a win nonetheless.
With the win, Hamilton leads the driver’s championship by four points, although he admits that it wasn’t really expected.
“I was really, really fortunate. It was definitely a very untidy race from me, but I’ve got to take it because I didn’t give up and I kept pushing. If my normal level is eagle and birdie, then today I was shooting pars and bogeys,” he said
Teammate Valtteri Bottas was on course for a win but had to settle for a DNF after he ran over debris and suffered a major tyre failure.
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Sebastian Vettel started on pole for the third straight race in a row, but couldn’t capitalize on it and had to settle for a fourth place finish for the Prancing Horse, although teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who had a rough outing, came in second.
Mexican Sergio Perez of the Force India team had a memorable race finishing in third place, a repeat of 2016. Remarkable, given the fact that he found himself in the pits at the end of lap one nursing significant damage.
“Our race was a rollercoaster. This podium means a lot to me. I am very pleased and proud for myself, my family, my team and Mexico,” said Perez.
The biggest talk of the day revolves around the Red Bull Racing team, as both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen collided. The pair had been fighting throughout the race but their onslaught ended on lap 40 when Ricciardo tried to pass Verstappen and rammed into the back.
“The incident itself, it’s a tough one. I thought the gap was opening up on the inside and once I was there I had to commit to that. It’s not a nice situation. I think we both feel pretty bad that it ended like that, and for the team it’s pretty crappy. I’m pretty down. We’re thankful that we are allowed to race. Myself and Max, we love to race as we show,” Ricciardo said.
The pair were chastised by their team principal, Christian Horner, making clear their responsibility to the hundreds of Red Bull Racing staff:
“They have been reminded that they are part of a team and they have a responsibility in the role they perform. They are highly paid individuals, to act with the team’s interests at heart not just their own.”
Carlos Sainz came in at fifth place with his Renault, while Charles Leclerc of Sauber Ferrari brought home his car in sixth.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso came in seventh for the third race in a row despite a double puncture on lap one. However, he managed to limp back to the pits and get his car fixed.
Alonso was furious on team radio following the incident, shouting: “Unbelievable. You take care in corner one and corner two and they crash into you. ****ing stupid.”
“In the lap-one incident we destroyed the car. Two punctures, we damaged the floor, we damaged the front wing, we damaged everything. P7 is an unbelievable result, probably one of the best races I have ever done,” Alonso said.
Lance Stroll in a Williams, Stoffel Vandoorne of McLaren and Brendon Hartley of Toro Rosso completed the points finish.
With three different winners in the last four races, the Spanish Grand Prix, which begins on the 11th of May, could see a new winner.
Watch the race highlights here: