Lewis Hamilton goes top of the table with Baku victory
Defending champion inherits win in chaotic Azerbaijan GP
Lewis Hamilton is 11-10 to retain his Formula One world championship after moving to the head of the standings with victory in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
In another chaotic race at the Baku street circuit, Hamilton inherited the win after looking set to finish no higher than third in the closing stages of the race.
However, for the third time this year the appearance of the safety car changed the complexion of the race, this time to the chagrin of Sebastian Vettel, who led from pole position in the early stages.
The race was neutralised after a collision between Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo when their race-long battle for fourth place ended in tears.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas looked set to take the win at that point until a puncture soon after the restart put him out of the race.
Hamilton’s win means three different constructors have taken victories in the first four races of the season.
The Briton leads the title race by four points, although Vettel, fourth in Azerbaijan, has looked the strongest all-round competitor this season.
Vettel’s Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen finished second in the race with Force India’s Sergio Perez – a 22-1 chance to make the podium – completing the top three.
Charles Leclerc, tipped at 7-1 for a top-ten finish, claimed the first points of his career in sixth.
The circus next heads for Barcelona and the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday week – a race where the safety car is rarely required.
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