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Azerbaijan GP 2018

APRIL 29, 2018

Race Notes - Hamilton takes unlikely win in Baku

Lewis Hamilton, Azerbaijan GP 2018
© RV Press

By Mark Karp

Lewis Hamilton won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in the final moments of the race, after a late race safety car when the two Red Bull drivers crashed each other out, and after the restart Valtteri Bottas was leading and suffered a puncture, handing the win to Hamilton.

Kimi Raikkonen finished in second place in his Ferrari, with Sergio Perez in the Force India-Mercedes in third place.

Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari, after covering the field early in the race, finished fourth, followed by Carlos Sainz in the Renault in fifth, Charles Leclerc, in the Sauber-Ferrari scored his first career points finish in sixth place, Fernando Alonso in the McLaren-Renault was seventh, Lance Stroll in the Williams-Mercedes was eighth, Stoffel Vandoorne in the second McLaren was ninth and Brendon Hartley in the Toro Rosso-Honda, also scoring his first point, finished tenth.

Hamilton takes his first win on the season and takes over the lead in the drivers championship.

Before the start there were gusty conditions, Vettel was on pole alongside Hamilton on row one, Bottas and Ricciardo were on row two, Verstappen and Raikkonen on row three, Ocon and Perez on row four, and Sainz and Stroll rounding out the top ten.

The teams expecting a one-stopper, running on supersofts then switching to ultrasofts for the final 20 laps.

Raikkonen starting on ultrasoft tyres.

At the appointed time the cars came round and the lights went out and the race began with Vettel taking the lead over Hamilton, Bottas, Ricciardo and Verstappen.

Rakkonen and Ocon come together at turn 3, and the two collide and Ocon is out.

The safety car comes out. Alonso is limping back to the pits with a punctured tyre. Alonso tells the team, “he closed the door, we were side by side”. refering to Sirotkin, who is out with damage. Raikkonen pits.

With a lot of small debris on the track, the marshals clean up. At the end of lap 5 the race resumes, wutg Cettel taking the lead over Hamilton and Bottas. Verstappen gets the pass on Ricciardo. Ricciardo losses out and Sainz takes fifth, and chases Verstappen. Verstappen and Sainz battle over fourth place.

On lap 8 Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m48.376s. Sainz passes Verstappen in the drs zone for fourth place. The next lap Hulkenberg does the same move on Verstappen and takes fifth.

On lap 9 Hamilton sets another fast lap at 1m47.197s.

On lap 11 Ricciardo is challenging his team mate, who is complaining of battery issues.

Hulkenberg slaps the wall and has a puncture and pulls off the track.

Ricciardo and Verstappen continue to battle.

Leclerc passes Stroll for seventh place.

On lap 13 Vettel sets fast lap at 1m46.825s.

Raikkonen passes Stroll for eighth place.

On lap 16 Sainz pits from fourth switching to soft tyres, and rejoins in 13th.

At lap 15, Vettel leads Hamilton by 4.2s, followed by Bottas (5.4s), Verstappen (19.7s), Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Leclerc, Stroll, Perez and Grosjean in tenth place.

Ericsson locks up and runs down the escape road but continues.

On lap 19 Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m46.331s.

Ericsson pits.

On lap 20 Perez passes Stroll for eighth place.

On lap 21 Hamilton has a big lock-up, but continues. At the end of the lap Hamilton pits from second place and switches to soft tyres.

Sainz passes Alonso for 11th place.

Perez is handed a 5-second penalty for passing too early on the restart.

On lap 26 Ricciardo sets fast lap at 1m45.883s.

Ricciardo and Verstappen battle. Ricciardo gets alongside his team mate, but Verstappen comes back.

Leclerc passes Alonso for tenth place.

On lap 29 Bottas sets fast lap at 1m45.827s.

At lap 30 Vettel leads Bottas, followed by Hamilton, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Perez, Grosjean, Sainz and Leclerc in tenth place.

On lap 31 Vettel pits from the lead for soft tyres. Bottas, yet to pit, takes over the lead.

Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m45.771s.

On lap 33 Bottas sets fast lap at 1m34.595s.

On lap 34 Ricciardo sets fast lap at 1m45.419s, as he passes his team mate for fourth place.

On lap 35 Hamilton sets fastest lap at 1m45.412s.

Bottas sets fast lap at 1m45.149s.

On lap 37 Ricciardo pits from fourth place and switches to ultrasoft tyres, and rejoins in fifth place.

The next lap Verstappen pits for ultrasoft tyres as well, and rejoins in front of his team mate.

At lap 40 Bottas leads Vettel, followed by Hamilton, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Sainz, and Leclerc.

On lap 41, Ricciardo makes an overtake attempt, Verstappen covers right, but there is no space and Ricciardo runs into Verstappen and the two Red Bull drivers crash off and are out.

The safety car comes out, and leads the cars through the pits, and many cars pit.

Bottas on new ultrasoft tyres leads Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Perez, Grosjean, Sainz, Leclerc, Stroll and Alonso in tenth place.

During the safety car, Grosjean crashes while trying to keep his tyres warm, and is out of sixth place.

The drviers complaining that their tyres have gone cold.

At the end of lap 47, with 3 laps to go, the safety car comes in and the race resumes with Bottas leading, Vettel trys to pass for the lead and locks up and goes wide, and loses places. Bottas leads Hamilton. Raikkonen passes Vettel for third.

Vettel complains that

Alonso passes Stroll for seventh.

Bottas has a punctured tyre, Hamilton takes the lead, over Raikkonen, Perez, Vettel, Leclerc and Sainz.

Sainz passes Leclerc.

Hamilton takes the win at the flag over Raikkonen, Perez, Vettel, Sainz, Leclerc, Alonso, Stroll, Vandoorne and Hartley in tenth place.