Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton claims victory

Formula 1
Lewis Hamilton is feeling good after winning the Azerbaijan Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton is feeling good after winning the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton ended his winning drought in spectacular fashion after his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas suffered a 220mph tyre blow-out in the closing stages of a dramatic Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The podium

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Kimi Raikkonen
  3. Sergio Perez

Scroll down for full classification

In brief

Lewis Hamilton ended his winning drought in spectacular fashion after his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas suffered a 220mph tyre blow-out in the closing stages of a dramatic Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel had appeared on course to secure a commanding and well-deserved victory only for the race to turn on its head when Red Bull team-mates Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo collided.

That crash allowed Bottas to take the lead by virtue of pitting under the safety car, but his chances of victory were sensationally scuppered when he ran over debris and suffered a high-speed puncture with only three laps remaining.

Hamilton has now taken control of the championship by four points, with Vettel finishing only fourth after he ran off the road at turn one in his attempt to retake the lead from Bottas.

Kimi Raikkonen crossed the line in second with the Force India of Sergio Perez completing the podium places.

Hamilton and Vettel now can't be split at the top of Sky Bet's outright odds for the championship.

Both drivers are available to back at even-money. Bottas follows in the market at 18/1.

Full classification

Final Positions after Race (51 Laps): 1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1hr 43mins 44.291secs, 2 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:43:46.751, 3 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India 1:43:48.315, 4 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:43:49.620, 5 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Renault 1:43:51.806, 6 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Sauber-Ferrari 1:43:53.449, 7 Fernando Alonso (Spa) McLaren 1:43:55.222, 8 Lance Stroll (Can) Williams 1:43:56.837, 9 Stoffel Vandoorne (Bel) McLaren 1:43:58.443, 10 Brendon Hartley (Nzl) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:44:02.321, 11 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber-Ferrari 1:44:02.803, 12 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:44:08.711, 13 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas F1 1:44:14.924, 14 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes GP at 3 laps

Not Classified: 15 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas F1 42 laps completed, 16 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 39 laps completed, 17 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 39 laps completed, 18 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault 10 laps completed, 19 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Force India 0 laps completed, 20 Sergey Sirotkin (Rus) Williams 0 laps completed

Fastest Lap: Valtteri Bottas 1min 45.149secs on lap 37

Lewis Hamilton with his trophy after winning the Azerbaijan Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton with his trophy after winning the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Race report

Lewis Hamilton ended his winning drought in spectacular fashion after his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas suffered a 220mph tyre blow-out in the closing stages of a dramatic Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel had appeared on course to secure a commanding and well-deserved victory only for the race to turn on its head when Red Bull team-mates Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo collided.

That crash allowed Bottas to take the lead by virtue of pitting under the safety car, but his chances of victory were sensationally scuppered when he ran over debris and suffered a high-speed puncture with only three laps remaining.

Hamilton has now taken control of the championship by four points, with Vettel finishing only fourth after he ran off the road at turn one in his attempt to retake the lead from Bottas.

Kimi Raikkonen crossed the line in second with the Force India of Sergio Perez completing the podium places.

Vettel had been in complete control of the race, but that all changed with just 11 laps remaining following a jaw-dropping, but perhaps inevitable crash between the two Red Bull cars.

Verstappen and Ricciardo had been nibbling away at each other throughout after the Dutchman had bullied his way past his team-mate on lap six.

They banged wheels on the exit of turn one on lap 27 when Verstappen slid under braking and pushed Ricciardo up against the wall. Both were able to continue, and Ricciardo thought he had finally got the job done when he made his move stick on lap 37.

The Australian, however, was called into the pits for a new set of tyres, and his team-mate, who made his stop one lap later, managed to again get the jump on him.

Ricciardo was soon all over the back of Verstappen and on the longest and fastest straight on the Formula One calendar, the Australian lined up his move in the battle for fourth. But as Verstappen moved to his left to cover off his team-mate, Ricciardo lost control of his car under braking and thudded into the back of his team-mate.

In an instant, both cars were out of the race. Adrian Newey, Red Bull's technical boss, removed his headset in disgust and headed straight from the pit wall to the garage.

The safety car was sent out to deal with the Red Bull carnage, and Bottas, who had yet to stop for fresh tyres, was seemingly the fortunate recipient.

The Finn dived into the pits to bolt on four new tyres and remained in the lead. Vettel, who also stopped, dropped to second. Hamilton, who had endured one of his more untidy races, was now in third.

Romain Grosjean then suffered one of the more embarrassing crashes in recent history after hitting the wall despite driving at reduced speed with the safety car on track. Grosjean's stricken car had to be removed meaning the race re-started with just four laps left.

Vettel tried a gung-ho manoeuvre on Bottas for the lead, but he locked up and went straight on, allowing Hamilton and Raikkonen to pass.

Bottas looked set to then lead home a Mercedes one-two only to suffer a dramatic puncture, allowing Hamilton to claim his first win of the new season.

To make matters worse for Vettel, he slipped to fourth after he was passed by Perez.

Reaction

Lewis Hamilton admitted he was lucky to win an eventful Azerbaijan Grand Prix as he ended his six-race victory drought in spectacular fashion.

"I was really, really fortunate," an almost sheepish Hamilton said. "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.

"I struggled with the tyres and I've definitely got to go away from here and work even harder to make sure that there is not a repeat performance."

Sebastian Vettel held his hands up for his costly move.

"I am the captain of my own ship," Vettel said. "I saw the gap on the side and unfortunately it did not work out for me. S*** happens, but without a safety car it would have been a different race."

World Championship Standings after Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Drivers: 1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 70pts, 2 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 66, 3 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 48, 4 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes GP 40, 5 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 37, 6 Fernando Alonso (Spa) McLaren 28, 7 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault 22, 8 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 18, 9 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India 15, 10 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Renault 13, 11 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Scuderia Toro Rosso 12, 12 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas F1 11, 13 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Sauber-Ferrari 8, 14 Stoffel Vandoorne (Bel) McLaren 8, 15 Lance Stroll (Can) Williams 4, 16 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber-Ferrari 2, 17 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Force India 1, 18 Brendon Hartley (Nzl) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1, 19 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas F1 0, 20 Sergey Sirotkin (Rus) Williams 0

Manufacturers: 1 Ferrari 114pts, 2 Mercedes GP 110, 3 Red Bull 55, 4 McLaren 36, 5 Renault 35, 6 Force India 16, 7 Scuderia Toro Rosso 13, 8 Haas F1 11, 9 Sauber-Ferrari 10, 10 Williams 4

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