Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Daniel Ricciardo takes first win of the season after chaotic race
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News June 25, 2017 Updated: 8:22 PM
BAKU, Azerbaijan -- Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo was in shock and awe after taking his first win of the season in a wild and crazy Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Ricciardo was beside himself after the race.
“I kind of said yesterday that after my qualifying mistake and starting in tenth place, today was going to be a race of no mistakes, capitalizing on moments and opportunities and I felt like we did everything we could,” said Ricciardo.
He added: What a day, It’s crazy and it’s slowly sinking in.”
Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas finished second after making contact with Kimi Raikkonen at the start of the race sending him to the back of the field.
Third went to Williams’ Lance Stroll, who tried his best to hold off the charge from Bottas in the closing laps. However, Stroll still managed to take the first podium of his career and became the youngest rookie driver in F1 to secure a podium. The 18-year-old was at a loss for words after the race:
“I’m just lost for words right now. It was such a hectic race and so much happened, but the team kept me cool on the radio, the pace was good, we took it to the end and stayed out of trouble. I can’t quite believe what’s just happened. We just lost out to Valtteri at the end there in one of the closest finishes of all time going side-by-side across the finish line. Coming into this weekend I never thought I would be standing on the podium. It’s an amazing feeling and, for me, a dream come true,” said an overjoyed Stroll.
This weekend's race was jammed packed with talking points. One of the biggest of the weekend has to be Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, who finished fourth and fifth. Hamilton survived two Safety Car restarts and a full race restart while fighting off championship title rival Sebastian Vettel. Just before the end of the second Safety Car was where things got “covfefed.” During the restart just before the green flag, Hamilton slowed down for the Safety Car as he was exiting the corner, at which point Vettel’s car rear-ended Hamilton. Then, Vettel was seen driving up next to Hamilton plowing his car into the side of the three-time world champion. Later Vettel received a 10-second stop-go penalty.
Later Hamilton said “I controlled the pace under the Safety Car and, just like with the other restarts, I slowed down in the same place on the entry to T15. At that point, it is up to me to control the pace and then I felt a bump from behind.”
Sharing a different opinion Vettel commented on the situation after the race.
“I don’t have a problem with Lewis but I just think that what he did on the track was not ok. By now the decision is done but, in an episode like this one, I still think that if you give out a penalty, then it should be to both drivers,” said Vettel
But, just as Hamilton thought he was clear of any more drama, he was forced to make an unscheduled pit-stop to secure his car's headrest which appeared to have come loose and appears to be a team error on the part of Mercedes.
“It’s difficult to swallow a result like this after a strong weekend. I drove my heart out today right to the line - I gave it everything. I know the team will be devastated about the issue with the headrest, but what we have to take away from this weekend is the great performance we have shown,” said Hamilton.
Force India’s Esteban Ocon took sixth after recovering from contact with teammate Sergio Perez. Haas’ Kevin Magnussen was a very happy man as he finished seventh for the American team.
Eighth went to Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, putting together another positive points scoring finish for the sister Red Bull team after starting 15th due to the penalty he received two weeks ago in Montreal.
Fernando Alonso finished ninth. He also survived the chaotic race to score the team's first points of the season. Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein delivered for the team once again bringing more points home for the team for the second time this season.
“I am happy with the 10th place. Making Q2 in qualifying yesterday, and scoring a point for the team today, has definitely been better than what we expected from this weekend,” said Wehrlein.
Behind Wehrlein was his Sauber teammate Marcus Ericsson in 11th. The remaining drivers who made it to the end of Sunday’s race consisted of Alonso’s teammate Stoffel Vandoorne in 12th and Magnussen’s Haas teammate Romain Grosjean in 13th.
Vettel’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen suffered damage early in the race after making contact with fellow Finish driver Valtteri Bottas. Coupled with a puncture, this ended his day. Williams’ Felipe Massa’s day ended when he ran into an issue with his car. Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg retired after making contact with the wall.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who continues to show how hungry he is, suffered another issue with his car which forced him to retire for the fourth time this season. Sainz’ Toro Rosso teammate Daniil Kvyat had to retire when his car ran into reliability issues, with Hulkenberg's Renault teammate Jolyon Palmer making up the final retirement.