NOTEBOOK – Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Review

Features Notebook

Lewis Hamilton has taken victory in a chaotic and drama-filled Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The four times champion won the race after teammate Valtteri Bottas suffered a puncher while fighting leading the race after his battle with Bottas

Bottas should have won

Lewis Hamilton says that his teammate Valtteri Bottas should of won the race and that’s why he was late to the podium. Hamilton took the win after Bottas picked up a puncher while battling with Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton said “I have very mixed emotions for today. It’s really quite a humbling experience. Ultimately, Valtteri deserved to win. He did an exceptional job, a faultless drive. Less so on my side.”

“Straight away when I got out of the car and did the interviews I went to see Valtteri. I just wanted to congratulate him on how well he drove and that’s why I was late to the podium.” The four-time champion says Bottas was very unfortunate and that cost the team a one-two.

Bottas had been running third early on and ran later into the race, he still hadn’t made a stop when his main rivals made their stops and was still running when the Red Bull’s collided. The following safety car gave him a free stop, however, after the stop he ran over debris causing a puncher.

Red Bull crashes out

Both Red Bull’s crashed into each other on lap thirty-nine of the race. Earlier in the race both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen had touched fighting for position, the race ending collision on lap thirty nine of the race.

It looks to me if Verstappen was going very quickly and caught up with his teammate as Ricciardo braked into the first corner. Ricciardo may have over committed and made a late moved, so Verstappen reacted but Ricciardo locked up running into the back of him. Both drivers are responsible for the accident as the stewards and Red Bull have said.

I’m not sure if following the wheel banging as they fought for the position earlier in the race that Red Bull didn’t ask them to calm down.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner said “We’ve let them race hard against each other and unfortunately today has resulted in the worst possible scenario where you’ve had both drivers make contact and retire from the grand prix. It’s enormously disappointing. There’s no blame apportioned more in one direction or another. Both were equally responsible.”

The collision followed a series of wheel-to-wheel battles between the two Red Bull drivers earlier in the race, including a banging of wheels as Verstappen blocked one of Ricciardo’s moves on the exit of Turn One.

Chaos at the start

Sergey Sirotkin had been handed three place grid penalty for Barcelona in a fortnight, after being found “wholly responsible” for colliding with Sergio Perez at the start of the race.

The Baku stewards determined Sirotkin was solely to blame and the Russian will now start three places lower than where he qualifies in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Vettel and Hamilton got away well slotting into position, into two we saw contact further back. But as Kimi Raikkonen and Ocon went into three the Frenchman’s rear appears to have tagged the front wing of Raikkonen as he got alongside.

Vettel had to try

Sebastian Vettel says he “had to try” and pass Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages of the race even if that cost him a podium. Vettel had led the race comfortably until a safety car period allowed Bottas’s Mercedes to make a pitstop and emerge still ahead.

He said  “I don’t think it was overly optimistic to jump down the inside. I wasn’t overly late, otherwise I don’t make the corner at all, but I did make it, just. I didn’t have any option – Lewis [Hamilton] was on the right so I can’t close on him. Valtteri was ahead of me, he left a gap. I was surprised, judging the braking was very difficult.

“I was a bit trapped because I couldn’t see where I was relative to Turn 1. We have our references, and they are on the right – a kerb, the signs on the wall, and on the left, there is hardly any reference. I had a decent restart, I saw the gap on the inside, and unfortunately, I locked up.”

Vettel then dropped back from the top three after flat spotting his tyres and then lost out to Sergio Perez.

Raikkonen luck to finish

Kimi Raikkonen says he was lucky to finish after he hit the wall “at full speed” in the closing stages of the race. The Finn recovered from a first lap tangle with Esteban Ocon to finish second.

However, he thought he was going to have a high-speed accident coming onto the start/finish straight with three laps to go when he clipped the wall in the final kink on the lap.

“On the first lap after the restart on the little kink coming to the last part of the straight, I hit the inside wall at full speed. I’m pretty lucky that the front wheel didn’t go. I was expecting to go off quite fast, but I was lucky.”

Raikkonen added that he had another near-miss before the race even started, when he “almost put it in the wall on the way to the grid”.

“I had a lot of close moments,” he said. “We were kind of a bit on the limit, it was not the easiest. It was not the most enjoyable – some laps very good and some laps I had to try not to hit the wall

Tweets

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, P14 “Sometimes the sport you love can be tough. But, I’ve learned to turn negative experiences into strenght. #VB77 #F1Baku @MercedesAMGF1 ? @XPBImages @CharniauxImages”

Nico Hulkenberg, Renault “It’s wild and just crazy here as it’s so tight. We started well but I just lost the rear end at the end of turn four and that was my race done really. It’s unfortunate, but that’s how it is sometimes. Let’s look forward to Spain! @RenaultSportF1 #BakuGP #F1 #RSspirit”

Charles Leclerc, Sauber – Alfa Romeo, P6 “Incredible day… P6 & Driver Of The Day !! Huge thanks to @SauberF1Team, what an amazing job. Let’s enjoy the moment & work on Barcelona !!”

Sauber “WHAT A RACE! ??? A chaotic race throughout, but our #CL16 manages to finish P6 with valuable points!  #ME9 finishes in P11, so close but a good fight after his damage in the early part of the race. Bravo team! ???#F1 #Azerbaijan”

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Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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