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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Lewis Hamilton wins Azerbaijan Grand Prix as Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo collide

  • World champion wins for the first time in 2018 in his Mercedes-GP
  • Valtteri Bottas misses out on win after suffering late puncture in Baku 
  • Kimi Raikkonen second for Ferrari as Sebastian Vettel finishes only fourth
World champion Lewis Hamilton won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix to pick up his first win of 2018 and take the lead in the Formula One drivers' championship. Mark Thompson / Getty Images
World champion Lewis Hamilton won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix to pick up his first win of 2018 and take the lead in the Formula One drivers' championship. Mark Thompson / Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton benefited from a late puncture for his Mercedes-GP teammate Valtteri Bottas to win the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and take the drivers' championship lead in the process.

Bottas had looked on target to triumph in the closing laps until his right rear tyre failed and forced him out of the race.

The Finn had run second for most of the afternoon, but the race had appeared to swing his way when the Red Bull Racing cars of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen collided on Lap 40, leading to a safety car period.

Bottas was in front at that point, due to long-time race leader Sebastian Vettel having pitted. Vettel had been set to retake the lead, but Ferrari chose to pit Vettel again behind the safety car as Mercedes also brought in Bottas and then Hamilton.

Vettel dropped back to fifth after locking up failing to pass Bottas on the restart, but the race fell Hamilton's way with three laps to go when Bottas endured his tyre woe.

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Hamilton said: "Quite an emotional race to be honest. Valtteri deserved to have the win, also Sebastian did a great job. It was very fortunate today, so it feels a bit odd to be here."

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen recovered from a first lap clash with Force India's Esteban Ocon to finish second, with Force India's Sergio Perez a surprise third as he passed Vettel and then held off the German in the closing laps.

World champion Hamilton, going for a fifth world title, and fourth in five years, leapfrogged Vettel in the championship standings and leads by four points going to the next race in Spain on May 13.

Carlos Sainz was fifth for Renault with Charles Leclerc sixth for Sauber to score his first points in F1.

The cars of Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen after crashing out during the race in Azerbaijan. David Mzinarishvili / Reuters 
The cars of Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen after crashing out during the race in Azerbaijan. David Mzinarishvili / Reuters 

The McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne were seventh and ninth, sandwiching the Williams of Lance Stroll, with Brendon Hartley's Toro Rosso completing the points scoring positions in 10th place.

It was a miserable day for Red Bull, however, as they failed to score any points for the second time in three races.

Ricciardo, who had overtaken Verstappen earlier in the race before falling back behind his teammate during the pit stops, ran into the back of the Dutchman as he tried to overtake him on Lap 40.

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