Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2017

Ricciardo Wins Azerbaijan GP & Stroll Enjoys A Shoey...

Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix brought us a new race winner in 2017 in the shape of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who must be amazed to be standing on the top step of the podium after starting 10th and dropping to the back of the field after an early stop on lap 5 to clear debris from his brake ducts.

The Baku race was definitely incident-packed and it all started on lap 1 with Valtteri Bottas squeezing Kimi Raikkonen against the wall resulting in the two making contact as Raikkonen challenged for second place around the outside of turn 2. Bottas limped back to the pits for a new nose and front wing and came out a lap down while Raikkonen dropped back to fifth but continued on with non-critical damage.

Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat stopped out on track which caused a safety car period on lap 10 and because of the difficulty in recovering cars on Azerbaijan’s tight street circuit, it took seven laps to recover the Russians car. The race restarted on lap 17, however, the safety car returned to the track almost immediately, with the field rolling through the pitlane while further carbon fiber debris was cleared.

During this second safety car period is when the shit hit the fan with Hamilton allegedly brake testing Vettel with the German failing to react quick enough crashing into the back of Hamilton’s car. The controversy came afterward when Vettel pulled alongside Hamilton’s Mercedes and deliberately sideswiped Hamilton’s car, which is very petulant and he deserved his 10 second stop/go penalty.

I bet that Ferrari will have some choice words for Vettel back in Maranello, he threw away a certain race win with his childish actions, then made it worse by denying he did anything wrong when being called in to serve his penalty. Four-time world champion or not, that doesn’t mean he can act like a dick. I’m no fan of Hamilton or Vettel, but I acknowledge their talent, however, these actions tarnish the whole sport.

More craziness ensued on the second restart with part of Vettel’s front wing flying off after the Hamilton contact and the two Force India’s collided, Esteban Ocon squeezed Sergio Perez against the wall and the inevitable contact happened, dropping both drivers to the back of the field with Perez retiring in the pits. while Raikkonen suffered a right rear puncture which damaged his rear wing, ending the Finn’s race.

This brought the safety car out for a third time to clear debris from the turn 2 carnage on the restart before a red flag was thrown on lap 23. After a 20 minute delay, the race restarted and amazingly Ferrari fixed Raikkonen’s car, as did Force India with Perez’ car, both drivers taking the restart from the back.

The third restart saw Ricciardo make a double overtake to move up to 3rd place thanks to his aggressive super-soft tire strategy, which allowed him to move up through the field, Williams’ Felipe Massa suffered a damper failure dropping him back through the field before retiring the car. Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg followed Massa into retirement after clipping the wall and damaging his front right suspension.

There was more drama to come with Hamilton having to make an additional pit stop to replace his headrest which had come loose and was lifting up down the straight, which despite Vettel having to serve a 10 second stop/go penalty, Hamilton ended up behind the German in fifth place, allowing Vettel to extend his lead over the Briton; all because Vettel made the stupid decision to sideswipe his title rival.

In the meantime, Williams’ Lance Stroll found himself in 2nd place behind Aussie Ricciardo. But it wasn’t to be for Stroll, he was hunted down by the much faster Mercedes of Bottas who relieved the Canadian of his second place, but still finished on the podium to enjoy the sweet (not) taste of a Ricciardo shoey.

Force India’s Esteban Ocon still managed to score a sixth place finish despite his adventurous day at the races… and Fernando Alonso scored McLaren Honda’s first points of the season bringing his orange car home in 9th place. Kevin Magnussen finished the race in 7th, Carlos Sainz, recovered from his first lap spin to claim 8th place while Pascal Wehrlein scored a single point for 10th place for Sauber.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2017 Results

1. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 2:03:55.570
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +3.904
3. Lance Stroll (Williams) +4.009
4. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +5.976
5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +6.188
6. Esteban Ocon (Force India) +30.298
7. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +41.753
8. Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso) +49.400
9. Fernando Alonso (McLaren) +59.551
10. Pascal Wehrlein (Sauber) +89.093

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