Australian Red Bull pilot wins the GP of Azerbaijan, characterized by many unexpected turn of events. Bottas and Stroll go up on the podium.
If we were going to think about a final result of this race after seven laps, discover Stroll was going to be on the podium was less astounding than Ricciardo and Bottas… Until then, Lance was 8th but Daniel was 15th and Valtteri was even the last! Instead, like at 24 hours of Le Mans, those excluded to win they enjoyed any trouble faced to their opponents. Bottas was forced to stop to his box with a front-wing and tyre damaged due to his jump over Raikkonen after just two turns. It is normal this was considered a normal race incident because Mercedes car jumped in a sudden way on the internal kerb.
Our Daniel Ricciardo was forced to stop before the right time due to some debries blocked on the brake air-intake. During that pit-stop, he decided to change super-soft with some soft tyres, he used later the safety-car to change another time his tyres with some super-soft. After that, he started working hard and he performed an anthological ovetake, leaving behind Stroll, Massa and Hulkenberg with just one movement at the first turn. After a third safety-car to remove some debris on the track, it was decided to show the red flag.
One re-started, Lewis faced some problems with his head protection which was badly placed on his car and he was forced to do a pit-stop to fix that problem. Here race director decided to balance the championship and to remember that fault done by Vettel against Hamilton during the period when first safety-car was out. When the safety-car was called-in, Hamilton decided to brake when he was inside the turn, leaving no option to Vettel who collided against his car. German pilot did not like that movement and pulled up alongside showing his fist followed by a hit with his tyre against the Mercedes. At first, he was not punished but when Hamilton was called-in to change his head protection, Vettel was punished with a stop of 10 seconds for “dangerous driving”. This decision is correct, but done with a suspicious timing. So when Hamilton and Vettel were forced to get into the pit-lane, Ricciardo was in the right position to get the lead until the end: a deserved victory created with intelligence. Well done!
To let you understand how incredibily crazy Baku has been, it would be enough to say how many safety-cars were called out until the red flag. Indeed a collection of many episodes, like those incorrectness between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel but even those done between Force India’s pilots. They eliminated each other. Another important drop-out was the one of Raikkonen and Massa. So Ricciardo finished in a brilliant way his recovery after an advanced pit-stop while Bottas overtaked Stoll just a little bit before the finishing line (Less than 0,1 seconds was the gap). Stroll did a nice race, he was fast and he was always cold (Something strange for a rookie). He never commited a mistake on a track, considered by everybody pretty difficult. He was always fast, he stayed focused even if this race was quite queer.
Among those funny situations, one of the most strange was that one which did not allow Force India to get a result it might be sensational. This was caused by a fight between Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez, the official Force India pilots. Perez was even capable to threaten the second position of Sebastian Vettel. It is fine to do not give specific orders by radio, but a team should remember to his pilots to do not cancel each other. The French pilot was capable to finish 6th. Another challenge, but this time more relaxed, it was the struggle between Toro Rosso’s pilots with Carlos Sainz doing a 180 degrees turn after start to avoid a contact with Daniil Kvyat who was coming back on the track after a long braking. A tough battle that one between Sauber’s pilots, with Wehrlein who literally crossed his tyres with Ericsson when they were fighting to get the last point. At least in this case they arrived at the end. Another unhappy race for Max Verstappen forced to drop-out because his car had a technical problem.
Finally a sad space to talk about Kimmi Raikkonen. He was the only one capable to get an epic result like the one were he drop-out twice during the same race! Strange because he started in a great way, overtaking Vettel while he avoided to hit Bottas. He attacked properly the Mercedes pilot on the outside of turn 2, going ahead. When Valtteri jumped on the kerb, he hit the Ferrari pilot and his race changed radically. Right there, his car was looking to do not have any problem but instead it was damaged and leaving debries on the track. Finally, he was forced to drop-out for first time due to a puncture on his rear tyre. If he was not recovering at a fast speed, it was possible he was not damaging even more his car, but he loved to come back as soon as possible to his box, leaving his rear side in a very bad shape. Initially, there was no hope but when red-flag was shown, his team fixed the car (They did the same in Force india with Sergio Perez). It is a shame that both were punished with a “drive-through” because they repaired their cars outside of the “fast-lane”. At the end Raikkonen did another drop-out a couple of laps later. Another race compromised by some actions where the Finnish pilot could be more careful and wise.
Not everybody got a smart and fast pilot like Ricciardo.
Congratulations for this amazing victory!