Hamilton wins as Red Bulls clash in chaotic Azerbaijan GP

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton wins a chaotic Azerbaijan GP ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Force India’s Sergio Perez as Red Bull drivers of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen collide.

29/04/18

Grid Formation

1.Vettel  2.Hamilton  3.Bottas  4.Ricciardo  5.Verstappen  6.Raikkonen 7.Ocon  8.Perez  9.Sainz  10. Stroll  11.Sirotkin  12.Alonso  13. Leclerc  14.Hulkenberg*  15.Magnussen  16.Vandoorne  17.Gasly  18. Ericsson  19.Hartley  20.Grosjean

Hulkenberg* qualified 9th but received a 5 place grid penalty for a gearbox change.

Race

The drivers are facing the added factor of wind today which could spell trouble. The lights go out and Sebastian Vettel leads Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas. Down into turn 3, Esteban Ocon and Kimi Raikkonen clash with Ocon getting punted into the wall and out. Sergey Sirotkin has also stopped with the Safety Car now being deployed. Fernando Alonso has picked up a right-front puncture.

Raikkonen pits, changed the front wing and goes onto the Soft tyre. Brendon Hartley, Kevin Magnussen and Marcus Ericsson also stop for necessary pit-stops. Raikkonen is now 14th after his pit-stop and is now on a 1 stop strategy with Pierre Gasly now 9th after starting 17th. Sergio Perez has also pitted for a front-wing change.

Lap 6, the Safety Car comes in and racing continues with Max Verstappen overtaking Daniel Ricciardo down into turn 3 with Carlos Sainz also nipping past the Australian. Lap 7, Vettel’s gap to Hamilton has grown to 3 and a half seconds with Sainz now all over the back of Verstappen for 4th. Raikkonen is now 11th behind Charles Leclerc.

Lap 9, Sainz overtakes Verstappen before turn 1 with Hulkenberg overtaking Ricciardo down into turn 2. Lap 10, Hulkenberg is now able to overtake Verstappen down into turn 1, who has used up most of his battery, is now 5th. Lap 11, Hulkenberg pulls over after hitting the wall at turn 4. Lap 12, Ricciardo is now trying to overtake Verstappen with Verstappen locking-up into turn 1 and banging tyres with Ricciardo on the out-side.

Lap 15, Raikkonen overtakes Lance Stroll for 8th down into turn 1 as there is yellow flags in sector 1 for a tree branch which has fallen onto the track. It is quickly recovered with Sainz pitting and rejoining on the Soft tyre in 13th. A replay shows Hamilton running wide at turn 16 which has increased the gap to Vettel to 4 and a half seconds. Lap 20, Ericsson has received a 10 second time penalty for an incident involving Magnussen and himself. Lap 22, Hamilton has locked-up massively into turn 1 with the gap now increasing to over 8 seconds. Mercedes call him in for a pit-stop.

Hamilton pits, goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 3rd. The FIA has issued Sergio Perez with a 5 second time penalty for overtaking under yellow flags. Lap 25, Leclerc pits from 7th, goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 11th. Lap 27, the Ricciardo-Verstappen battle resumes with both getting ultra close together. This is costing both of them huge amounts of time. Lap 30, Vettel pits from the lead, goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 2nd behind Valterri Bottas who hasn’t pitted yet.

Lap 35, Ricciardo finally overtakes Verstappen round the out-side of turn 1 for 4th. Lap 38, Ricciardo pits for the Ultrasoft tyre and rejoins in 5th ahead of Raikkonen. Lap 39, Verstappen pits and fits the Ultrasoft tyre and rejoins ahead of Ricciardo. Ricciardo is given the encouragement from his engineer to re-overtake his Red Bull team-mate.

Both Red Bull’s has crashed! Ricciardo has ploughed into the back of Verstappen. Both are out. Bottas, Vettel and Hamilton have pitted for new tyre as the Safety Car is deployed. Bottas leads ahead of Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Perez, Grosjean, Sainz, Leclerc, Stroll and Alonso. The replay shows that Ricciardo moved to the inside with Verstappen covering him off with Ricciardo locking-up and hitting the back of his team-mate. Bottas, Vettel and Hamilton went onto the Ultrasoft tyre. Raikkonen has also gone onto the Ultrasoft tyre with Perez going onto the Supersoft tyre.

Lap 43, behind the Safety Car, Grosjean has crashed! The Frenchman has binned it into the wall after losing control of his car after trying to warm up his tyres. Lap 48, racing resumes with Bottas leading but Vettel is behind. Vettel overtakes Bottas into turn 1 but locks-up and runs wide with Bottas taking the lead of the race back. Lap 49, Bottas has got a puncture! Hamilton takes the lead down into turn 1. Bottas pulls over and is out as Perez is now 3rd after overtaking Vettel. Vettel is now struggling after that lock-up as he has flat-spotted his tyres.

Onto the final lap, Perez sits 3rd just ahead of Vettel with Leclerc now 6th and Stroll 8th. Hamilton comes round to win ahead of Raikkonen and Perez.

Hamilton takes his and Mercedes first win of 2018 with Perez taking Force India’s first podium of the season. Leclerc and Hartley score their first points of their career with Stroll taking Williams first points of the season. Red Bull and Haas are the only two teams not to take any points away from today.

Baku has delivered once again to give us exciting racing! Thank-you!

Race Result

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 51 Laps (First win of 2018)
  2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, +2.460s
  3. Sergio Perez, Force India, +4.024s (Force India’s first podium of season)
  4. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +5.329s
  5. Carlos Sainz , Renault, +7.515s
  6. Charles Leclerc, Sauber, +9.158s (First F1 points & Fans Driver of the Day)
  7. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, +10.931s
  8. Lance Stroll, Williams, +12.546s (Williams first points of the season)
  9. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, +14.152s
  10. Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, +18.030s (First F1 points)
  11. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, +18.512s
  12. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, +24.720s
  13. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, +30.663s
  14. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, DNF (DHL Fastest Lap Award)
  • Romain Grosjean, Haas, DNF
  • Max Verstappen, Red Bull, DNF
  • Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, DNF
  • Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, DNF
  • Esteban Ocon, Force India, DNF
  • Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, DNF

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