F1: Bottas Fends Late Charge From Hamilton To Win Azerbaijan GP

Valtteri Bottas claimed his second win of the year in the Azerbaijan GP denying teammate Lewis Hamilton the victory, albeit taking Mercedes' fourth consecutive 1-2 finish for the F1 season.

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Valtteri Bottas managed to convert his pole position advantage into a win in the 2019 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The driver took his second victory of the season fending off a late charge from teammate Lewis Hamilton in what was this year's fourth consecutive 1-2 finish for Mercedes. Coming in third was Scuderia Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel taking his third podium of the season followed by Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing in fourth place. Bottas' win catapults him to the top of the drivers' standings.


The Mercedes boys maintained the top 1-2 equation for most of the race

After a late puncture denied Bottas victory in Baku last year, the Mercedes driver was in for payback showing top form through the weekend. Bottas started the race on pole but it was Hamilton who had a better start. However, Bottas did not let his teammate pass him on the initial corners and held on to the top spot building his lead over the rest of the pack. Hamilton was right on Bottas' tail for the initial laps and the top order remained unchanged till Lap 11 when Vettel entered the pits for softs. Bottas followed in the next lap, while Hamilton pitted on Lap 13. Bottas rejoined in a net lead but the shuffle did allow Vettel to get close to Mercedes for some time.


Sebastian Vettel took a lonely third, over 11 seconds off the race leader

The second round of pit stops kicked off soon after as the medium tyres showed more pace over the softs. Charles Leclerc of Ferrari started ninth and managed to move up to P4 by Lap 10. Leclerc was promoted to P1 once the top order entered the pits for a tyre change. The Ferrari driver was effectively managing his pace over the other drivers and led the race denying the top spot to Bottas. The Mercedes driver was looking to pass Leclerc and finally got into DRS range and managed to overtake the Ferrari on Lap 32 of the 51 lap race. Hamilton lapped Leclerc soon after, bringing Mercedes back into the top spot.

Undeterred with the action at the back, Bottas had built a 2-second lead over Hamilton and maintained it for most of the race. Red Bull's Pierre Gasly's unprecedented stop on Lap 39 also worked to Bottas' advantage as Hamilton could not attempt to pass his teammate over the next two laps thanks to the Virtual Safety Car (VSC) on track. Nevertheless, the reigning world champion made a late charge at Hamilton bring the difference between both drivers down to 1.4 seconds with three laps to go. It seemed Hamilton would pass Bottas on the last lap with the help of DRS, but the race leader picked up DRS himself and crossed the finish line 1.524s ahead of Hamilton.

Vettel could never quite get close to the top Mercedes after passing Leclerc and ended up alone in third place, 11.739s off the race leader. Verstappen finished fifth almost 6s behind Vettel. Despite a promising start, the driver lost pace once the VSC went off track, but managed to remain consistent in his second consecutive fifth place finish this season. Leclerc finished in sixth place after being passed by Verstappen almost a minute behind the Red Bull. The driver's second pitstop for softs did affect his pace but helped him secure a bonus point for the fastest lap from Bottas.

Racing Point's Sergio Perez was the sixth fastest driver to completely the race and maintain his strong performance at Baku, ahead of McLaren's Carlos Sainz Jr, who took his first points this season. McLaren's Lance Stroll also picked up points for the team finishing at P8, while Lance Stroll of Racing Point finished ninth, also taking crucial points for the team. Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen completed the top 10 line-up taking the single point for the team after starting from the pit lane, having failed a front wing deflection test. Torro Rosso's Alex Albon finished 11th, ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi of Alfa Romeo, while Haas driver Kevin Magnussen finished 13th over Nico Hulkenberg of Renault. Taking 15th and 16th respectively were Williams drivers George Russell and Robert Kubica, the former coming back in the race after loose drain cover incident during FP1.


Ricciardo and Kvyat were involved in a bizarre incident and have been summoned by the stewards


With respect to retirements, the Azerbaijan GP saw Gasly ending his race on Lap 39 while in sixth place, having starting from the pit lane with an upgraded Honda engine. However, Torro Rosso's Danill Kvyat and Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo had an absurd incident after the latter reversed into Kvyat on track after a failed overtaking attempt taking out both drivers out of contention. Both Ricciardo and Kvyat have been summoned by the stewards. The last retirement for the day was that of Haas driver Romain Grosjean.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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