Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo took an unexpected win in Baku, Azerbaijan ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Williams’ Lance Stroll in a race that will be remembered more for the chaotic safety car restarts and child-like bickering than the on track action.
The first half of the race was marked by disturbed running as the race witnessed three safety car periods as track marshals attempted to clear up debris from regular contact between competitors. The most talked about incident though will be championship title rivals Vettel and Hamilton engaging in some on-track bickering during the second safety car period, with Vettel colliding into Hamilton after Vettel ran into the back of Hamilton’s car.
Ricciardo had fallen to the back of the field after an early pit stop but the consecutive safety car periods and chaotic restarts allowed Ricciardo to come up the order and place his car in a position to take advantage of the misfortunes of both Vettel and Hamilton. Vettel received a 10 second stop-go penalty for dangerous driving after he collided with Hamilton. Hamilton, at the same time, suffered a loose headrest that needed to be fixed with a pitstop. Vettel and Hamilton emerged fourth and fifth, respectively, while Ricciardo and Canadian rookie, Lance Stroll inherited first and second.
The final podium was decided when Bottas caught Lance Stroll on the last lap and passed the Canadian at the finish line to finish second. Nonetheless, Stroll stepped up at the right time for his Williams team and drove well to take his first podium finish in Formula One becoming the youngest rookie to take a podium.
As it stands now, Vettel continues to lead the Driver’s Championship by 14 points from Hamilton. In the Constructor’s Championship, Mercedes AMG lead by 24 points from Ferrari. The championship title battles are set to get even tighter as Red Bull are on a resurgence while the mid-field competitors continue to show their willingness to make the most of any opportunities emerging from the misfortunes of the front runners.