2017 Formula One Azerbaijan Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
There was plenty of drama on Sunday at the 2017 Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku. Despite it all, Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo managed to emerge from it the victor—even after dropping to the back of the grid at one point.
Ricciardo was followed across the finish line by Mercedes AMG’s Valtteri Bottas and Williams rookie Lance Stroll 3.0 and 4.0 seconds behind, respectively.
The drama, which included three safety-car periods and a red-flag race stoppage, unfolded right from the start of the race.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton started in front, followed by Bottas and Ferrari’s Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel. Just two corners in, Bottas and Räikkönen came into contact as they jostled for position, with Räikkönen getting pushed into the wall and Bottas’ car suffering some front wing damage. Meanwhile, fellow Vettel soon found himself in second position behind Hamilton in the lead.
On lap 12, Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat came to a stop, which brought out the safety car for the first time. Racing resumed on lap 16 but another safety car was deployed after the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon collided. Both cars survived but left debris on the track.
Baku City Circuit, home of the Formula One Azerbaijan Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
It was during this second safety car period that Hamilton, while exiting a turn was hit from behind by Vettel. Vettel complained that Hamilton was driving too slow, with Vettel eventually running into the back of his Mercedes rival. In a spurt of frustration, Vettel then drove up alongside Hamilton and turned into him. Both cars suffered minor damage and Vettel was handed a 10-second stop-go penalty for dangerous driving.
Racing resumed on lap 21, only to be red-flagged on lap 22 so that marshals could clear more debris. The race restarted with just 27 laps remaining and this time Vettel made a forceful attack on Hamilton who was in the lead. Behind them, Ricciardo made a brilliant move to pass Williams’s Stroll and Felipe Massa to secure third position. The Red Bull driver had dropped as far back as 17th during the race due to an earlier due to a pit stop to have debris cleared from his brakes.
The podium places looked set but then Hamilton had to pit to have a loose head rest repaired. It was at this point that Vettel pitted for his 10-second penalty. When he exited pit lane, Vettel was ahead of Hamilton. The Ferrari driver fought his way up but couldn’t do better than fourth.
The result means Vettel’s tally in the 2017 Drivers’ Championship moves up to 153 points. Hamilton is second with 139 points and Bottas is third with 111 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads with 250 points versus the 226 of Ferrari and 137 of Red Bull. The next race on the calendar is the Austrian Grand Prix in a fortnight.
Hit the next page for the full results for the 2017 Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix.