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Daniel Ricciardo pulling off a stunning move that would ultimately give him the lead - Photo: LAT

Daniel Ricciardo pulling off a stunning move that would ultimately give him the lead – Photo: LAT

Australian Daniel Ricciardo has won an extraordinarily dramatic Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

After starting tenth, the Red Bull driver had to make an early pit stop and dropped back to 17th early in the race. However a chaotic race ensued and on Lap 33 would emerge in the lead of the race where he wouldn’t be challenged.

The start of the race set the tone, firstly Carlos Sainz spun at turn one avoiding contact with his team mate. Then Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen made heavy contact at turn two. Both drivers would continue, with Raikkonen carrying damage to his Ferrari and Bottas losing a lap in the pits while his Merecedes was repaired.

Then lap ten, set a catalyst for the outcome, when the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat stopped on the track with an electrical issue. Triggering the first appearance of the safety car. This allowed Bottas to get his lap back.

While Raikkonen’s Ferrari had held together during the opening laps, the restart saw the damage parts fly off his car, littering the circuit with debris. Immediately causing a second safety car period.

Things got heated during the restart process with race leaders Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel making contact during while still under the control of the safety car. Vettel would later get penalised for the incident with a 10 second stop go penalty.

The action continued once the race officially restarted with the two Force India cars crashing into each other at turn two. The contact heavily damaging both cars with the debris causing further issues Raikkonen who suffered a puncture and subsequently further damage to his already patched up Ferrari.

Debris from the three damaged cars was enough to cause the third appearance of the safety car, before the race was red flagged to allow marshals clean up the track properly. The stoppage allowed Force India enough time to repair both Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon’s cars so they could continue in the race. Ocon finished in sixth, while Perez struck further issues and retired later in the race.

Once the race restarted, Ricciardo, who had moved his way up to fifth during the other drama, pulled off a sensational pass into turn one, getting past both the Williams cars to move into to third. That move would proved critical, setting up Ricciardo for the win.

On Lap 33, race leader, Hamilton was forced to make an extra stop when the head rest in his Mercedes hadn’t been re-fitted properly after the stoppage. Deemed a safety issue by officials, he pulled back into the pits to fix it.

A couple of laps later Vettel, who had been sitting second, served his penalty for the earlier contact. Droppping him back on track just in front on Hamilton but well down the order. The two would fight back to finish fourth and fifth.

That left Ricciardo out in front with a comfortable lead over Canadian rookie Lance Stroll with only a few laps left in the race. Meanwhile Bottas who had recovered his lap on the first Safety Car and then fought his way through the field sat in third hunted down the Williams.

Ultimately Ricciardo took out the win, while Bottas stole second place from Stroll as passed the chequered flag in a drag race to the line.

The Canadian rookie still managed to hold on to third place, his best result to date.

Williams celebrate Lance Stroll's podium result in the Azerbaijan GP - Photo: LAT

Williams celebrate Lance Stroll’s podium result in the Azerbaijan GP – Photo: LAT

Azerbaijan Grand Prix Results

1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 2:03’55.570
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 3.904
3 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 4.009
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 5.976
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 6.188
6 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 30.298
7 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 41.753
8 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso Renault 49.400
9 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 59.551
10 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 1’29.093
11 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1’31.794
12 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 1’32.160
13 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1 lap
14 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari
DNF Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes
DNF Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes
DNF Nico Hulkenberg Renault
DNF Max Verstappen Red Bull
DNF Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Renault
DNF Jolyon Palmer Renault

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