Formula One: Ricciardo profits from Azerbaijan chaos

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo celebrates winning the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. It was his first victory since he won the Malaysian Grand Prix last year.
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo celebrates winning the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. It was his first victory since he won the Malaysian Grand Prix last year.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Title rivals Vettel and Hamilton clash in Baku, Red Bull driver surges to the top from 10th

BAKU • Sebastian Vettel was penalised for dangerous driving after deliberately crashing into title rival Lewis Hamilton in a wild and chaotic Azerbaijan Grand Prix won by Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo yesterday.

Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas snatched second place from 18-year-old Williams driver Lance Stroll in the final straight, as Vettel finished fourth, ahead of Hamilton to extend his championship lead to 14 points.

Despite Ricciardo's win, the race will be remembered for the angry confrontation between ex-world champions Vettel and Hamilton.

Ferrari's Vettel was handed a 10-second stop-go penalty during the race for "dangerous driving" after he deliberately drove into Hamilton's Mercedes while both were following the safety car.

Vettel claimed Hamilton had braked in front of him and he responded by driving into the back of his rival before then bumping the Briton from the side.

"I think it's just not driver conduct. It's dangerous driving and to get a 10-second penalty for that... I don't need to say anything else," Hamilton told Sky Sports.

Vettel pleaded his innocence.

  • BAKU GRAND PRIX

  • RESULTS

    1 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus)

    Red Bull 2hr 3min 55.573sec

    2 Valtteri Bottas (Fin)

    Mercedes +3.904sec

    3 Lance Stroll (Can)

    Williams +4.009

    4 Sebastian Vettel (Ger)

    Ferrari +5.976sec

    5 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr)

    Mercedes +6.188

    6 Esteban Ocon (Fra)

    Force India +30.298

    7 Kevin Magnussen (Den)

    Haas +41.753

    8 Carlos Sainz Jr (Esp)

    Toro Rosso +49.400

    9 Fernando Alonso (Esp)

    McLaren +59.551

    10 Pascal Wehrlein (Ger)

    Sauber +89.093

    OVERALL STANDINGS DRIVERS

    1 Vettel 153 pts

    2 Hamilton 139

    3 Bottas 111

    4 Ricciardo 92

    5 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 73

    CONSTRUCTORS

    1 Mercedes 250

    2 Ferrari 226

    3 Red Bull 137

    4 Force India 79

    5 Williams 37

"Nothing happened, did it? He brake-checked me as well, so what do you expect?" the German told Sky. "I'm sure he didn't do it on purpose but for sure it was not the right move. If I'm struggling, people at the back are struggling even more, so I don't think it was necessary.

"I got damage, he risked damage. He's done something similar in China at the restart a couple of years ago so it's not the way to do it, I think.

"I passed him because he pitted. After the incident, we were side by side, I raised my hand and told him, well I didn't say anything, but showed him that I wasn't happy with that."

After the race, Hamilton called Vettel a "disgrace" and suggested that if he had a problem, then they should sort it out off the track "face to face".

He told UK television broadcaster Channel 4: "I didn't brake-test him. I controlled the pace, like all the other restarts I slowed down in the same spot. He was obviously sleeping and jumped into the back of me.

"He got away scot-free. He still finished fourth - I think it's a disgrace."

Making the most of a series of extraordinary incidents and interventions in an action-packed race, which included three safety car interventions and a red-flagged stoppage, Ricciardo, who started 10th, roared home 3.904 seconds ahead of his nearest rival.

It was the Australian's first win of the season and first victory since last year's Malaysian Grand Prix.

Hamilton, who had dominated after a strong start from his 66th pole position, was also undone by a loose headrest that caused him to be ordered to pit for repairs, for safety reasons.

Stroll's previous best had been a ninth-placed finish on home soil earlier this month, but he kept his nerve under pressure to become the youngest Formula One driver to make the podium in his maiden season.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2017, with the headline 'Ricciardo profits from chaos'. Print Edition | Subscribe