Lewis Hamilton proves doubter Bernie Ecclestone wrong as he wins in Azerbaijan

Lawrence Cooper
April 30, 2018

Lewis Hamilton from MERCEDES won the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku, Trend reported. Hamilton and his Ferrari colleague Kimi Raikkonen, who finished second, darted through.

Hamilton, the reigning world champion who started second on the grid behind Vettel, now leads his German rival by four points in the drivers' standings after four races of the season.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel dominated the race until a gamble by Mercedes on a late safety vehicle paid off and Bottas was able to make a late pit stop and take the lead.

Bottas stayed out, inheriting the lead and able to run well on his rubber until lap 40 when the Red Bull's of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen hit one another.

Sainz climbed back into fifth thanks to the turmoil ahead of him, claiming Renault's best finish since Vitaly Petrov was fifth in Canada in 2011. On the next lap, his teammate Verstappen pitted and managed to come out ahead of Ricciardo.

A tense and high-speed conclusion was clearly in prospect before, after their pit-stops had reversed positions, Ricciardo rammed into Verstappen under braking for Turn One on lap 41. Ricciardo locked up his tyres as his teammate's gearbox appeared in front of him and he clattered into the back of Verstappen, taking both cars out of the race. The race looked to belong to Bottas but a lap later the Finn picked up some debris and took a major puncture that removed him from contention.

It was the first win of the season for Mercedes.

Ocon turned in for the apex with Raikkonen nearly completely alongside, and the ensuing contact pitched the Force India into the wall and out of the race and forced Raikkonen to pit for a new front wing. It was his and Force India's first podium since 2016.

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Verstappen's auto was lifted briefly into the air and both battered Red Bulls skated down the escape road into retirement.

On the restart, it was Bottas in front followed by Vettel, Hamilton, and Raikkonen. The crash warranted for a safety vehicle, while Alonso too pitted for two punctures.

He lost out in a similar situation in China and will have been expecting to sew up his first win of the season when the racing restarted with just four laps to go.

The safety vehicle came out following the contact between Verstappen and Ricciardo. Shortly after Bottas pulled to the side Sergio Perez took advantage of Vettel's woes passing the Ferrari to grab the third spot.

The safety vehicle period was extended by Romain Grosjean smacking into the wall after losing control of his Haas on cold tyres.

Ricciardo braked late and ran into the back of the younger man, who was attempting to cut back across and prevent his progress.

Charles Leclerc did some great work in his Sauber - and it was no wonder he had some choice bits of vocabulary as he celebrated his sixth place.

Canadian Lance Stroll, third in Baku past year, will start 10th for Williams - the only team yet to score a point this season.

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