Hamilton handed unlikely triumph in dramatic Baku finale

F1 Hamilton wins chaotic Baku battle to lead title race

Hamilton handed unlikely triumph in dramatic Baku finale

Lady luck was not on his side as the Mercedes driver ran over a piece of debris on the start-finish straight giving him a puncture and handing teammate Hamilton an unlikely race victory.

The German finished fourth behind the triumphant Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari and Mexican Sergio Perez of Force India. Both are seeking their fifth world title.

"I know how hard it is when you have days like that, when you think you are going to win and then it gets taken away from you, because I've had that before", Hamilton said of Bottas's torment. "Valtteri did an exceptional job and deserved to win, Sebastian also did a great job so it feels a bit odd to be up here", commented Hamilton. "I didn't give up, I kept pushing, but it was an untidy race for me".

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, last year's champion in Baku, crashed into the the back of team mate Max Verstappen in a lap 40 collision that finished the race for the duo.

All the late drama at the front enabled Charles Leclerc and Brendon Hartley to climb positions and secure their first F1 points.

On the next lap, Ricciardo set his sights on his teammate once again but mistimed his move up the inside and shunted Verstappen from behind taking both cars out of the race. "S*** happens, but without a safety vehicle it would have been a different race".

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Mercedes had engineered Bottas into a race winning position, leaving him out longer than his rivals on the supersoft tyres.

Apart from the Red Bulls' efforts to self-destruct in spectacular fashion, the Ferrari team's decision to bring Vettel in for a pit stop with around a dozen laps to go and allowing Bottas to take over the lead seemed unwise at the time and even more so in retrospect.

Sergey Sirotkin collided with Fernando Alonso on the run down to turn three and was forced to retire, while Raikkonen hit Esteban Ocon - an incident that is set to be investigated - to end the Force India driver's race prematurely. Polesitter Sebastian Vettel perfectly judged the restart and sprinted off into the distance from Hamilton and Bottas in second and third.

With 20 laps to go, Vettel finally pitted and passed the lead to Bottas, but rejoined 8.5 seconds ahead of Hamilton.

"Without the safety auto it would have been easier for us - there is probably 47 laps of positive and maybe one turn without a positive note".

After the race, Perez, Lance Stroll and Kevin Magnussen were called to the stewards for improper use of DRS.

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