Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel had looked on course for this third win of the season in Baku on Sunday. Then the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen collided late on, the Safety Car was deployed and everything changed.
Valtteri Bottas made his sole pit stop for Mercedes – it gave him the lead and when the unfortunate Vettel tried to overtake at Turn 1 on the restart, the German out-braked himself and instantly dropped out of the podium places.
But within a lap, Bottas was also robbed of victory after running over debris and picking up a puncture – it handed the win to team mate Lewis Hamilton, whose triumph over Kimi Raikkonen gave him the championship lead, as Force India also celebrated with an unexpected podium for Sergio Perez.
Sebastian Vettel trailed home fourth, ahead of Renault’s Carlos Sainz, with rookie Charles Leclerc an incredible sixth for Sauber – his first F1 points. The McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne were seventh and ninth, split by Williams’ Lance Stroll, with Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley getting his maiden point as he completed the top 10.
Scuderia Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene comments on the outcome of the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix: “As we had already seen yesterday, today our car proved to be very competitive and capable of doing well on any kind of circuit. We were controlling the race with Sebastian, but the double intervention of the Safety Car cancelled the gap we had built up. As for Kimi, after the accident on Lap 1, he charged back to second place. All weekend long, the team reacted strongly and calmly and now we’re looking ahead to the next race in Spain.” – Maurizio Arrivabene explained.