Victory for Lewis Hamilton after a thriller at the Caspian Sea
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) clinched his first season’s victory after a thriller in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at the Baku City Circuit. He shared a podium with Kimi Raikkonen (Scuderia Ferrari) and Sergio Perez (Force India).
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was in the lead for most of the race after starting from pole. Valtteri Bottas took the lead by staying longer on ulstrasoft tyres with just one pit stop while his rivals pitted twice. The Safety car was out with twelve more laps to go after Red Bull teammates Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen crashed out at Turn 1.
On the restart, with four laps to go, Valtteri Bottas defended the lead from Vettel’s attack but a puncture stopped him on the next lap. Lewis Hamilton inherited a lead while behind his back Ferrari missed a chance to score a double podium after Perez defeated Vettel in a fight for P3.
The race on the street circuit at the Caspian Sea coast started with Safety Car intervention on the opening lap following Raikkonen’s clash with Esteban Ocon at Turn 3. Raikkonen recovered from a crash while Ocon was out. In the same time, further back, Sergey Sirotkin had to retire after a suspension of his car was damaged after a contact with Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg.
The another SC intervention followed after two Red Bulls crashed out. While the Safety car was out, Romain Grosjean lost the rear of his car while warming his tyres and hit the wall, retiring from the sixth position.
Carlos Sainz finished in the fifth place, scoring his best result with Renault. The rookie Charles Leclerc (Sauber) scored the first points of his F1 career by finishing sixth. Fernando Alonso (McLaren) was next on the finish line, ahead of Lance Stroll (Williams). Stoffel Vandoorne gave McLaren double-points finish in ninth, while Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley completed the top 10.