Ricciardo wins chaotic Azerbaijan GPposted in F125 | 06 | 2017

    RED BULL'S DANIEL RICCIARDO won a chaotic Azerbaijan Grand Prix, and Wiliams’ Lance Stroll finished on the podium for the first time in his career. But the race was dominated by a controversial on-track clash between Formula 1 title contenders Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

    The German first ran into the back of Hamilton’s Mercedes under a safety car then, gesticulating in his Ferrari, pulled alongside the Englishman and whacked against the side of the Mercedes.

    Stewards immediately handed Vettel a 10-second stop-go penalty, which should have ben enough for Hamilton to win comfortably, having started from pole position.

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    But the three-time world champ’s hopes of closing the gap to Vettel in the race for the world championship evaporated when was called to the pits for a loose headrest to be replaced.

    The two rivals battled back through the field and eventually had to content themselves from fourth and fifth, meaning Vettel actually increased his lead in the title race from 12 to 14 points.

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    Ahead of them, Ricciardo took his first win of the season. Starting from 10th on the grid, any hopes of winning appeared to have disappeared when he was forced to stop early in the race to have debris cleared out of a brake duct.

    The Aussie finished 3.904secs ahead of the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, who at one stage had been last in the race, and who pipped Canadian Stroll for second on the line by just 0.105s.

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    Bottas’ problems came on the opening lap when he clashed with the Ferrari of fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen. The Ferrari got ahead of him for  second into Turn 2 and while Bottas kept to the inside line, he bounced off the kerb and into Raikkonen. The Ferrari tagged the wall but continued in fifth while Bottas limped to the pits.

    Fortune smiled on him when he was allowed to unlap himself during one of the race's safety car periods.

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    With Vettel into second, following the Bottas/Raikkonen collision, Hamilton quickly established a three-second lead. But this disappeared with the first safety car on on lap 11 of 51 with Daniil Kvyat's Toro Rosso parked on track. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who  had been pressuring Sergio Perez for third, was also forced to retire at this phase of the race with an engine problem.

    With the bulk of the drover pitting under the safety car for soft compound tyres, Hamilton quickly established his advantage on the restart. Behind him, Vettel, had to fend off pressure from Perez, while Raikkonen fell behind the Williams of Felipe Massa with Force India’s Esteban Ocon sixth.

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    But no sooner had the race restarted than the safety car was back out as marshals had to remove debris from several parts of the circuit.

    The next restart was even more chaotic than the previous, with Vettel hitting Hamilton, then ramming the side of his car.

    There was further drama, involving both Force Indias. Ocon tried to edge past Perez on exit of Turn 2 but made violent contact, with Raikkonen picking up a damaging puncture from their debris.

    The race was red-flagged and both Perez and Raikkonen’s cars required long periods in the garage for repairs. Icon dropped to the back of the field.

    After a 20-minute stoppage, the race restarted with Hamilton and Vettel now back on super-softs. The two drivers comfortably maintained their one-two positions, while Ricciardo dived past both Stroll and Massa to take third. Minutes later, Massa retired with a broken rear damper.

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    Ricciardo’s move was crucial, as Vettel was about to receive his stop-go penalty, and Hamilton was about to be called into the pitlane by his team to have his headrest replaced.

    That left the Aussie free to control the race to the finish, while behind him Bottas reeled in Stroll, and Vettel and Hamilton seared back through the field to finish fourth and fifth respectively.

    Ocon recovered to finish sixth, ahead of the Haas of Kevin Magnussen, with the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr eighth. The Spaniard recovered from a first-lap spin that he blamed on team-mate Kvyat rejoining from the run-off area.

    Fernando Alonso scored McLaren’s first championship points of the season by finishing ninth, with the Sauber of Pascal Wehrlein taking 10th.

    Formula 1 — Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku City Circuit. Result:

    1. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull - TAG 51 laps

    2. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes - Mercedes +3.904s

    3. Lance Stroll CAN Williams - Mercedes +4.009s

    4. Sebastian Vettel GER Ferrari - Ferrari +5.976s

    5. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes - Mercedes +6.188s

    6. Esteban Ocon FRA Force India-Mercedes +30.298s

    7. Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas-Ferrari +41.753s

    8. Carlos Sainz ESP Toro Rosso-Renault +49.400s

    9. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren-Honda +59.551s

    10. Pascal Wehrlein GER Sauber - Ferrari +1m 26.573s

    11. Marcus Ericsson SWE Sauber - Ferrari +1m 29.550s

    12. Stoffel Vandoorne BEL McLaren-Honda +1m 30.041s

    13. Romain Grosjean FRA Haas-Ferrari +1 lap

    Retired:

    Kimi Raikkonen FIN Ferrari - Ferrari 46 laps completed

    Sergio Perez MEX Force India-Mercedes 40 laps completed

    Felipe Massa BRA Williams - Mercedes 26 laps completed

    Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault - Renault 25 laps completed

    Max Verstappen NED Red Bull - TAG 12 laps completed

    Daniil Kvyat RUS Toro Rosso-Renault 11 laps completed

    Jolyon Palmer GBR Renault - Renault 10 laps completed

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    Jim McGill

     

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