AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX – 25TH JUNE 2017 – Baku City Street Circuit
1. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
3. Lance Stroll (Williams)
4. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
6. Esteban Ocon (Force India)
7. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
8. Carlos Sainz Jr (Toro Rosso)
9. Fernando Alonso (Mclaren-Honda)
10. Pascal Wehrlein (Haas)
More on the F1 teams of 2017
First Azerbaijan Formula One Grand Prix
Well, well, well…..
Today marked the very first Formula One Grand Prix in Azerbaijan and it didn’t disappoint.
It started with Hamilton in pole and Bottas 2nd. What followed was a chaotic race; full of clashes and some frayed tempers – in which Daniel Ricciardo emerged as victor.
Hamilton and Vettel Clash
The moment that everyone was talking about, happened following a restart on Lap 20 – when Vettel hit the back of Hamilton’s car. Then, in a display of what can only be described as ‘road rage,’ pulled alongside Hamilton, gesticulated and swerved at him – banging wheels.
Vettel’s excuse? “He brake tested me.” So this appears to have been a conscious decision, albeit in the heat of the moment, to bump his rival’s car. He went on to say,
“F1 is for grown-ups…. I drove alongside and we had a little contact. I wasn’t happy with the brake testing.”
Vettel received a 10 second stop-and-go penalty from the stewards in Baku, but will await to hear if Formula One take any further action.
Hamilton, asked about the first contact made: “for me that isn’t the issue. Driving alongside and deliberately driving into a driver and coming away scot-free is a disgrace. He disgraced himself today.”
So, was Hamilton guilty of brake testing? The data from Hamilton’s car suggested that he didn’t do anything unusual. So, should Vettel be punished further? He currently has 9 points on his licence – 3 more this calendar year and he will receive a race ban. If this were to happen, it would certainly make the title fight more interesting.
Ouch, Vettel increases his lead on over Hamilton
To add insult to injury, Vettel finished a place above Hamilton and now leads the championship by 14 points.
Somewhat over-shadowed by the Vettel v Hamilton clash, Ricciardo drove an impressive race for a well-deserved first win of the season. In one of many stunning moves, he passed 3 cars in one sweep into Turn 1.
Bottas staged an excellent fightback; after a collision with Raikkonen on Lap 1 left him last (and lapped), he managed to fight his way back to where he started – to take 2nd.
At last! After a dismal start to the season, that has included 2 non-finishes, 2 retirements and 1 non-start; Fernando Alonso finally caught a break and earned the first points for himself and McLaren this season – finishing 9th. Let’s hope for his sake, that his chronic car issues are a thing of the past.
Amid the chaos, 18 year old Canadian Lance Stroll drove a mature race to finish 3rd. An incredible feat for a rookie, who only earned his first points during the previous in Canada.
Stroll, “We stayed out of trouble. We let some of the other drivers make mistakes.”
Does Verstappen have competition for the best young Formula One talent? He retired again today with mechanical issues. The Dutchman has had a mixed season so far; with 4 top 5 finishes and 4 retirements.
Austria next on 9th July… will Vettel and Hamilton have called a truce by then?