Lance Stroll Bags First Podium As Daniel Ricciardo Wins The Azerbaijan GP
By Sameer Contractor
1 mins read
Published on June 26, 2017
- The Azerbaijan GP marks Daniel Ricciardo's fifth win in F1
- Stroll is the only teenage other than Verstappen to stand on the F1 rostr
- Vettel continues to lead in the championship standings ahead of Hamilton
Amidst crashes, restarts and a penalty for Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo emerged as the unexpected winner of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The Red Bull driver qualified tenth but managed to make his way to the top for his fifth grand prix victory. Putting up a good fight for second was Valtteri Bottas, but it was Williams' rookie driver Lance Stroll, who managed to wow fans all over the globe bagging his first ever podium, just two weeks after picking up his first ever points in Formula one. For championship contenders Lewis Hamilton and Vettel, the battle just intensified at Baku.
Daniel Ricciardo emerged as the unexpected winner of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix
In what was easily the most exciting race of 2017, the Azerbaijan GP had everything from drama, crashes, high octane overtakes and an unprecedented winner. Hamilton and Bottas qualified 1-2 respectively, while Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel followed close at 3-4. Mercedes maintained its dominant position in qualifying and it seemed Hamilton would comfortably win the race. However, the long spell of crashes was yet to begin which would stray the result in a different direction.
Bottas had an early jolt when he suffered wheel spin on the first corner. The move allowed Raikkonen to enter the left-hander at Turn 2 alongside the Mercedes driver and the latter bounced off the kerb making contact with the Ferrari veteran. Raikkonen dropped behind Vettel, Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen, whereas Bottas was forced into the pits for a right-front issue, but joined the race a lap later.
Hamilton surged forward with a lead of 3 seconds, but was being chased by Vettel, who now moved to P2. The first major crash then called out for the safety car, as Daniil Kvyat ran wide on Turn 1 in the initial laps and made contact with teammate Carlos Sainz in the process. While Kvyat soldiered on for a few more laps, a technical issue made sure he retired on Lap 11. The contact pushed Sainz at the back of the race. Meanwhile, Verstappen also retired due to a power unit issue with the safety car still out.
The safety car was deployed for the second time soon after to clear the debris. With Hamilton maintaining pace behind the safety car, Vettel bumped into the Briton just before Turn 15. The #5 Ferrari damaged its front wing in the initial contact and clearly, both drivers weren't happy about the incident. Vettel picked up a 10 second stop and go penalty for the same, while Hamilton had a loose headrest.
Not having had enough, the safety car was called out for the fourth time as the Force India duo Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez made contact. Ocon tried to pass his teammate but pushed him too much into the wall, eventually making contact and revealing the internal war brewing up between the drivers. Perez almost retired from the race and so did Raikkonen, but a 20 minute stoppage allowed them to rejoin the race, albeit a lap down. Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo made some impressive moves as he was gunning to take the top spot including this three car overtake on Lap 24.
The latest restart still had Hamilton and Vettel in the lead, but both had to pit soon with the Ferrari driver serving his penalty and the Mercedes driver to fix his headrest. Ricciardo ensured he used the opportunity well taking the lead from hereon. Vettel rejoined later ahead of Hamilton and both drivers could do no better than fourth and fifth at the end of the race.
The move, allowed Bottas to reclaim his second spot, while Lance Stroll made it to third. The final laps also made for a nail biting finish as Stroll and Bottas got into an interesting duel for the second place. Having gained pace initially, Ocon finished sixth ahead Haas driver Kevin Magnussen. Ocon finished eighth while Fernando finished his first race of the season in ninth place, while also securing the first points for McLaren. Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein took the last set of points in tenth place.
The podium finish has made Stroll the only teenager other than Max Verstappen to stand on an F1 rostrum. That's younger than Sebastian Vettel whose first podium was at the age of 21 in Monza in 2008, while Alonso also bagged his first podium at the age of 21.
The breathtakingly superb Baku circuit turned out to be one of the best races this season. The Azerbaijan GP has also helped Vettel maintain his lead in the championship standings with 153 points, while Hamilton sits second with 139 points. Bottas' podium finish has consolidated his third position in the championship standings with 111 points. That said, Mercedes still leads with 250 in constructors' standings.
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