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Formula One: Ricciardo wins, teenager Stroll climbs podium at 'wild and chaotic' Azerbaijan GP

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Baku, Azerbaijan   /   Mon, June 26, 2017   /   12:22 pm
Formula One: Ricciardo wins, teenager Stroll climbs podium at 'wild and chaotic' Azerbaijan GP Winner Red Bull's Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo celebrates with the trophy next second placed Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas (left) and third placed Williams' Canadian driver Lance Stroll (right) after the Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix at the Baku City Circuit in Baku on Sunday, June 25, 2017. (AFP/Andrej ISAKOVIC)

Daniel Ricciardo’s famous smile was at its widest on Sunday when he joined two other delighted drivers on an unlikely-looking podium at wild and chaotic Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The 27-year-old Australian admitted he could hardly believe he had won and had been giggling with joy in his Red Bull car after winning the race.

"I can’t really believe it – it was a crazy race," he said. "I was honestly speechless afterwards and on the cool down lap, I was just giggling like a little schoolboy.

Ricciardo came home first ahead of Finn Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes and 18-year-old Canadian Lance Stroll of Williams.

Second placed Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas crosses the finish line ahead of third placed Williams' Canadian driver Lance Stroll during the Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix at the Baku City Circuit in Baku on June 25, 2017.(AFP/POOL/VALDRIN XHEMAJ)

Stroll thereby claimed his first podium finish after unlikely setbacks had hit fourth-placed world championship leader Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari and three-time champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes.

Ricciardo started the race from 10th on the grid and was 17th after six laps, but he worked his way forward to claim his fifth career win and first this year.

His Red Bull team-mate Dutch teenager Max Verstappen retired after an engine failure.

 

Vettel penalized for dangerous driving

Sebastian Vettel was penalised for dangerous driving after deliberately crashing into title rival Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel finished fourth ahead of Hamilton to extend his championship lead to 14 points.

Despite Ricciardo's win, the race will be remembered for the angry confrontation between former world champions Vettel and Hamilton.

Ferrari star Vettel was handed a 10-second stop-go penalty for "dangerous driving" after he deliberately drove into Hamilton's Mercedes while both were following the safety car.

Vettel claimed Hamilton had braked in front of him and he responded by driving into the back of his rival before then bumping the Briton from the side.

"I think it's just not driver conduct. It's dangerous driving and to get a 10-second penalty for that... I don't need to say anything else," Hamilton told Sky Sports.

Vettel pleaded innocent.

"Nothing happened, did it? He brake checked me as well, so what do you expect?," the German told Sky.

"I'm sure he didn't do it on purpose but for sure it was not the right move. If I'm struggling, people at the back struggling even more, so I don't think it was necessary.

Making the most of a series of extraordinary incidents and interventions in an action-packed race, which included three safety car interventions and a red-flagged stoppage, Ricciardo, who started 10th, roared home 3.904 seconds ahead of the rest to deliver his first win of the season.

Esteban Ocon of Force India was sixth ahead of Kevin Magnussen of Haas, Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso, who also survived a first-lap collision, two-time champion Fernando Alonso, who scored McLaren's first points of the year in ninth, and Pascal Wehrlein of Sauber.

Hamilton, who had dominated after a strong start from his 66th pole position, was also undone by a loose headrest that caused him to be ordered to pit for repairs, for safety reasons.

Bottas meanwhile produced a brilliant drive to take his fifth podium finish of the season, having dropped to the back of the field after a first-lap bump with fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen.

 

 

Stroll the second teenager in history to record a podium finish

 

Lance Stroll became only the second teenager in Formula One history to record a podium finish when he marked his rookie season with his maiden third place in the wild Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Driving his Williams with calm aplomb on an afternoon of chaos, the 18-year-old Canadian silenced his critics with his top-three finish in only his eighth outing.

He was just 12 days older than Dutchman Max Verstappen was when he won the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix on debut with Red Bull.

Read also: Hamilton wins as Mercedes reel off one-two finish

"I am a bit lost for words," said Stroll. "It was such an intense race, a crazy race, and so much happened -- the red flag and hopping out of the car and hopping back in and having to reset. It happened so quickly.

On Sunday, he was only beaten to second place by Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas on the final straight.

"I don't think it proves a point,” said Stroll who came in for a stream of criticism for his results earlier in the season.

“I don't listen to that stuff, it is just noise. I had it last year when I had the perfect year and this year when I had some tough times.