Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Hamilton capitalises after Bottas blow-out

Sebastian Vettel Ferrari

Bottas was comfortably holding off Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton when he suffered a freak puncture on lap 48.

Ferrari's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen and Force India's Mexican driver Sergio Perez came second and third respectively.

Bottas had emerged after a pit stop under the safety vehicle in the lead, but Vettel made a lunge at the start with just four laps remaining, ran wide and let Hamilton and Raikkonen through, with Perez passing in his Force India shortly after. Both are seeking their fifth world title.

"We are not entirely happy, because we could have won", said Vettel. "In fact, I am very upset about losing the position at the restart, because I didn't want that to happen, but there are also so many positive aspects to take from this race". "Valtteri did such an exceptional job and really deserved to have the win and Sebastian also did a great job".

The two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo battled all race for fourth place. But, as Verstappen moved to his left to cover off his team-mate, Ricciardo lost control of his vehicle under braking and thudded into the back of his team-mate.

The race had a chaotic vibe from the start, with a safety vehicle required on just the first lap.

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It was fitting that the race that started with a bit of collision and mayhem at the beginning with Raikkonen and Force India-Mercedes' Esteban Ocon colliding (among others) ended on a similarly unpredictable note.

"It is always going to be an issue and this time it is just unlucky".

His puncture handed the win to his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who now heads the driver's championship by four points from Vettel in second. Sirotkin, on the other hand, rear-ended Perez before being sandwiched between Fernando Alonso's McLaren' and Nico Hulkenberg's Renault, forcing the Wiliams driver to retire immediately.

After Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel got the pole position in the qualifying last Saturday, it looked like he was poised to emerge triumphant again. Sebastian eventually followed suit on Lap 30, but Valtteri stayed out - Mercedes figured his worst result would be third but that a well-timed safety vehicle would allow him to make a free pit stop and keep his lead from the Ferrari.

Far tamer racing ensued after the safety vehicle came in on lap six.

But when they pitted two laps apart on laps 38 and 39, Ricciardo somehow lost out despite stopping first, which should give an advantage. However, bad luck struck when he looked to have ran across the debris left on the race track during the next lap. Lance Stroll ("Williams") - +12,5469.

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