Hamilton bags first win of the season

BAKU. — Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton yesterday won his first race of the 2018 Formula One season at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after a crash-marred race in Baku.

Ferrair’s Kimi Raikkonen came in second with Force India’s Sergio Perez in third – the most successful Mexican driver in F1.

Sebastian Vettel, who had led for most of the race, saw himself locking up after a series of laps behind the safety car in the end, handing the race over to Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton.

Heartbreak ensued when Bottas suffered a massive puncture, giving Hamilton his first win of the season after a very chaotic street race.

Hamilton said: “It was a very emotional race, Valtteri deserved to win.”

The race saw the underdogs managing to score some points like Charles Leclerc for Sauber – the first points in an extremely long time.

The first lap saw two retirements when Sergey Sirotkin went into Turn 2 too hard and went into the back of Ocon Esteban’s Force India which made contact with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso picked up a puncture from the debris and had to limp to the pits while the safety car was out.When the safety car cleared the track in Lap 6, Vettel bolted to jump a lead of about 1.5 seconds ahead of Hamilton which eventually grew to 5.5seconds by Lap 22.Hulkenberg was driving well and was fighting Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for fourth as the two kept vying for the the position. Hulkenberg sadly hit a wall and had to retire the car

Hamilton eventually was told to finally box at Lap 22 and came out ahead of Verstappen taking P3 behind his team mate Bottas.

The biggest setback for Red Bull saw the two team mates taking each other out. Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were racing too close for comfort throughout the race and in the end the crash was almost inevitable.

Red Bull’s Adrian Newey was seen walking away from the garage in disgust and Christian Horner was so livid when reporters tried speaking to him as he made his way to the drivers.

Haas’ Romain Grosjean hit a wall while the safety car was out and was forced to retire as well. He was taken away in a medical car on the track. His crash meant the safety car had to stay out even longer than intended.

The safety car ends its stint on Lap 47 and saw the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers racing hard for positions. Thanks to a lockup by Vettel, both Bottas and Hamilton could pass him.

Then heartbreak for Bottas as he had a puncture, having him lose what would have been his first race of the season!

All the drama meant Hamilton could drive his car pass the checkered flag for the first time this season.

Hamilton is now four points ahead of Vettel – the first time he has led the standings this season. It was his first win since last October.

The final madness was brought about when the two Red Bull collided.

Bang! It had been coming all afternoon – a nip-and-tuck race between those two Red Bulls, one ahead and then the other, no quarter given, but for the most part conducted respectfully.

Then on lap 40 of 51, along the main straight, Daniel Ricciardo was all over the back of Max Verstappen. Verstappen made a move to hold off the advancing Australian. It seemed fair. But Ricciardo locked up and ploughed into the back of the Dutchman.

Sparks went flying everywhere and the two drivers sat in their cars, their participation over. They had been fighting for fourth place at 220mph – on the fastest piece of tarmac in the world.

Adrian Newey, the design guru whose pencil drew the cars that were soon hoisted off the track, folded his file on the pit wall and walked off. Team boss Christian Horner remained in his seat impassively.

The incident was the fifth time they had gone wheel-to-wheel, including one coming together of their front tyres.

There was a huge slice of luck in Hamilton’s win and Ferrari remain super-fast. “I was fortunate today. It was an untidy race for me.”

The crucial safety car stayed out longer than expected after Romain Grosjean pranged his Renault into the wall as the field were being escorted round. What a plonker he must have felt. — AFP.

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