Lewis Hamilton wins frantic Azerbaijan Grand Prix as Red Bulls crash out
Lewis Hamilton has won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Force India’s Sergio Perez.
Sebastian Vettel lead in the early stages but Valtteri Bottas took first place when Vettel pitted. A safety car allowed Bottas to pit without losing time on his rival with Bottas holding the lead until the finish.
A frantic start to the race caused a number of early retirements. Esteban Ocon and Sergey Sirotkin both went into the wall on the first lap, with Fernando Alonso and Kevin Magnussen crawling to the pits after punctures in the first lap.
There was damage, too, for Perez, who lost a wing after being hit by Sorotkin.
Red Bulls Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were locked in a compelling battle for fourth place until Ricciardo went through the back of Verstappen in lap 40 to take both drivers out the race.
That brought out the safety car, which put Bottas in control at the front. Romain Grosjean’s race was over when he hit the wall to extend the time the safety car was out.
Mercedes made the most of it when the safety car went back in. Vettel locked up on the corner and dropped to fourth, behind Hamilton and Raikkonen.
More drama followed though. Bottas’ back right wheel hit debris and punctured to take hiim out the race with just three laps remaining.
That put Hamilton in first, ahead of Raikkonen and Perez, who had passed Vettel.
Attention turned towards the battle for third place in the final lap, but Perez held off Vettel to claim a podium place.
The result sees Hamilton take the lead in the Formula 1 championship for the first time this season.