Daniel Ricciardo wins an insane, crazy and action-packed Azerbaijan GP

25 June 2017

At the Azerbaijan GP at the Baku circuit today, Daniel Ricciardo wins a thrilling and spectacular Azerbaijan GP, his fifth win of his Formula One Career and his first win since the 2016 Malaysian GP ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Williams rookie Lance Stroll in a race that had everything you could want; one you couldn’t take your eyes off and one you certainly didn’t want to miss a second of.

The start of the Azerbaijan GP saw Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez both having brilliant starts as Carlos Sainz Jr spins at the first corner after contact with his team mate Daniil Kvyat; while Sebastian Vettel drops down the grid and his team mate Kimi Raikkonen has had contact with the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas; which has left Bottas with a loose front right tyre.

The first opening laps of the race saw Hamilton building up his lead to Vettel and Perez as further down the grid, the McLaren-Honda’s of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne are able to pass comfortably the Sauber-Ferrari of Pascal Wehrlein for track position. Lap 8 saw Jolyon Palmer officially retire from the race with an engine failure in his Renault.

By Lap 10, Hamilton has built up a 3.5 second lead to Vettel as Kvyat stops on the track and brings out the double waved yellow flags. While this is going on, the main battle on the track at this point was between Perez and Verstappen for the final podium position.

But two laps later, Verstappen informs his team via the radio that the engine has lost power; is going slowly around the track as the Safety Car is deployed on the track to remove Kvyat’s Toro Rosso safely. With the announcement of the Safety Car, most teams and drivers take the opportunity to make their first pit stops.

Racing resumed on Lap 17 with Hamilton leading the field ahead of Vettel and Perez. On the way into Turn 1, Perez tries with all his might to pass the Ferrari of Vettel but cannot do so. Once again the Safety Car has been called due to the barge board of Raikkonen being dislodged onto the racing line.

As the cars made their way into Lap 20 of the race (just as the Safety Car was coming into the pits), as Hamilton turned into Turn 15, Vettel went into the back of the Mercedes as Hamilton applied the brakes. This then causes damage to Vettel’s front wing and gives Vettel a lot of work to do to keep the remaining drivers behind.

As the field go down the start/finish straight at the start of Lap 20; Massa, Perez, Ocon and Raikkonen are all ready to make their moves past the German driver who was struggling.

The next few corners saw Perez and Ocon coming into contact with each other and both drivers sustaining damage alongside Raikkonen suffering a serious puncture on his Ferrari. This then brought out the Safety Car for the third time in quick succession.

Racing resumed once again on Lap 21 but then the race was stopped on Lap 22 and the drivers had to go into the pits in order for the marshals to work on removing all of the debris that has happened within the first half of the race; while we at home reflect on what a crazy Grand Prix this has been at this stage!

The Safety Car leads out the field on Lap 23 of the race after a 20 minute delay with Hamilton leading Vettel and Massa; with racing being fully resumed on Lap 25. Felipe Massa’s good fortunes in the car are turning as a broken rear damper is hindering all the good work he has created for himself. One lap later, Nico Hulkenberg had to retire from the race after suffering damage to his front rear tyre after making contact with the wall.

The early stages of the second half of the Azerbaijan GP saw Hamilton building up a 1.9 second lead to Vettel as Sainz Jr, Ocon and Bottas battle on track for seventh place at this stage of the race. Hamilton is then informed on Lap 29 that his head rest is coming out of place and the team ask him to see if he can fix the issue on the straight.

Two laps later sees Vettel receiving a ten second stop and go penalty for the incident between himself and Hamilton as in the second clash, when Vettel appeared to take his anger out on Hamilton by driving straight into the Mercedes’ front wheel, earned him a 10-second stop-and-go-penalty.

As this was going on, Hamilton then goes into the pits in order to fix his headrest. This then effectively gives Ricciardo the lead of the race ahead of Stroll and Magnussen when Vettel takes his penalty. Ricciardo took the lead of the race on Lap 34 ahead of Stroll and Magnussen and looked comfortable.

In the second half of the race, the midfield was becoming very competitive with positions changing all the time; with Magnussen, Bottas and Ocon battling for the podium places at one stage in the race.

In the closing stages of the race, the battle between Hamilton and Vettel continued as Hamilton followed Vettel in the remaining laps as they both worked their way back up the order but was unable to get close enough to attempt an overtake and both had to take the best positions possible.

Further up the grid, Bottas drove superbly to close the gap to rookie Stroll and he was able in a brilliant move to pass the young Canadian driver for second place.

But it was Daniel Ricciardo who claimed a memorable and stunning victory at the Azerbaijan GP, his first win since the 2016 Malaysian GP and his fifth win in the sport and he truly does deserve it. Ricciardo finished ahead of Valtteri Bottas in a stunning second place who was 3.904 seconds behind him after a brilliant come back drive having been lapped at one stage in the race.

Bottas finished the race ahead of Lance Stroll who takes the first F1 podium of his career in a brilliant third place. Stroll becomes the youngest podium sitter in a rookie season which is a fantastic achievement and it is a much needed boost after the young driver scored his first ever points in the sport at his home race in Canada two weeks previously. Stroll finished 4.009 seconds behind Ricciardo.

Sebastian Vettel finished the race in a brilliant fourth place ahead of Lewis Hamilton in fifth place, Esteban Ocon in sixth place, Kevin Magnussen in seventh place, Carlos Sainz Jr in eighth place, Fernando Alonso in a stunning ninth place and Pascal Wehrlein who rounded off the top ten finishers.

Marcus Ericsson finished the race in eleventh place ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne in twelfth place, Romain Grosjean in thirteenth place and Kimi Raikkonen in fourteenth place albeit 5 laps down.

Sergio Perez, Felipe Massa, Nico Hulkenberg, Max Verstappen, Daniil Kvyat and Jolyon Palmer did not finish the race.

The classification of the Azerbaijan GP is as follows:-

1. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull-TAG Heuer, 2.03:55.570s
2. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 3.904s
3. Lance Stroll, Williams-Mercedes, 4.009s
4. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 5.976s
5. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 6.188s
6. Esteban Ocon, Force India-Mercedes, 30.298s
7. Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, 41.753s
8. Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso, 49.400s
9. Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Honda, 59.551s
10. Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber-Ferrari, 1.29.093s
11. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber-Ferrari, 1.31.794s
12. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren-Honda, 1.32.160s
13. Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, 1 lap
14. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 5 laps
15. Sergio Perez, Force India-Mercedes, Not Classified
16. Felipe Massa, Williams-Mercedes, Not Classified
17. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, Not Classified
18. Max Verstappen, Red-Bull-TAG Heuer, Not Classified
19. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Not Classified
20. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, Not Classified

Sebastian Vettel leads the 2017 Formula One Drivers Championship with 153 points, Lewis Hamilton is in second place with 139 points, Valtteri Bottas is third with 111 points, Daniel Ricciardo is fourth with 92 points, Kimi Raikkonen is fifth with 73 points, Max Verstappen is sixth with 45 points, Sergio Perez is seventh with 44 points, Esteban Ocon is eighth with 35 points, Carlos Sainz Jr is ninth with 29 points, Felipe Massa is tenth with 20 points, Nico Hulkenberg is eleventh with 18 points, Lance Stroll is twelfth with 17 points, Kevin Magnussen is thirteenth with 11 points, Romain Grosjean is fourteenth with 10 points, Pascal Wehrlein is fifteenth with 5 points, Daniil Kvyat is sixteenth with 4 points and Fernando Alonso is seventeenth with 2 points.

Mercedes leads the Constructors Championship with 250 points, Ferrari are second with 226 points, Red Bull is third with 137 points, Force India are fourth with 79 points, Williams are fifth with 37 points, Toro Rosso are sixth with 33 points, Haas are seventh with 21 points, Renault are eighth with 18 points, Sauber are eighth with 5 points and McLaren are tenth with 2 points.

Sarah Jones- @jonesy_laaa