AZERBAIJAN GP REPORT :Another history for Lewis Hamilton as he secured his first win of the season. 



Lewis Hamilton won his first race of the season and has taken the lead on the F1 world championship table after winning a dramatic Azerbaijan GP.

A fortunate Hamilton inherited victory after Valtteri Bottas suffered a late puncture when leading the race, while Sebastian Vettel fell from second to fourth after locking up when trying to overtake Bottas for the lead.

"Valtteri really deserved to win and drove an exceptional race," said Hamilton. "It was a real struggle today so to come out with the win I'm extremely grateful."

The race resumed with five laps remaining after the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo collided following a race-long battle in which the team-mates had already twice made contact.

"We had this little brush with the wheels but I think in racing that can happen," said a crestfallen Verstappen. "What happened after that is not good. We have to make sure it doesn't happen again."

With a third of the field unable to reach the chequered flag, Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari finished second ahead of Sergio Perez - claiming Force India's first podium in two years - and Vettel in fourth. 

 Sauber youngster Charles Leclerc was crowned 'driver of the day' after taking sixth place.

But while the race belonged to Hamilton, the story was at Red Bull.

How the race unfolded

Lap 1: Vettel leads off the line from Hamilton and Bottas as the front-runners stay clear of first-lap drama including a collision between Ocon and Raikkonen and Alonso and Sirotkin.

Lap 4: The race resumes after a Safety Car period with Vettel leading Hamilton and Bottas.

Lap 11: Renault's Hulkenberg crashes out shortly after overtaking Ricciardo and Verstappen.

Lap 12: Red Bull pair Verstappen and Ricciardo bang wheels into Turn One as Verstappen holds on for track position.

Lap 21: Hamilton loses four seconds after locking up into Turn One.

Lap 22: Hamilton pits for fresh soft tyres and returns to the track in third

Lap 30: Vettel pits for new tyres, shadowing Hamilton's strategy as he puts on softs.

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Lap 35: Ricciardo finally passes Verstappen and makes the move stick.

Lap 39: A lap after Ricciardo, Verstappen pits - both Red Bulls put on ultrasofts - and then emerges ahead of Ricciardo

Lap 41: Ricciardo and Verstappen collide. The Safety Car is deployed, triggering pit stops for Bottas, Vettel and Hamilton for ultrasofts with Bottas in the lead.

Lap 44: Romain Grosjean crashes out behind the Safety Car after weaving to warm up his tyres.

Lap 47: The race resumes with Bottas in the lead. Vettel locks up at Turn One trying to overtake Bottas and loses three places in the process.

Lap 48: Hamilton takes the lead after Bottas suffers a puncture running over the debris from the Red Bull crash.

Lap 51: Hamilton crosses the line for victory ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Force India's Sergio Perez.

Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo crash into each other during a heated Azerbaijan GP.

Lucky Lewis takes title-race lead

Hamilton has endured a difficult start to the season and a mid-race mistake, in which he locked up into Turn One when trying to catch Vettel, had appeared set to condemn the Mercedes driver to another frustrating afternoon.

It was Bottas who then carried Mercedes' fight to Vettel, running for over 40 laps before pitting under the Safety Car and emerging for the restart ahead of the Ferrari. Only a puncture, caused by running over debris from the Red Bull clash, denied the Finn a deserved victory which would have propelled him perfectly into the heart of the title fight. 

It is Hamilton who now leads the title race by four points from Vettel. 

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Azerbaijan GP race result

Driver Team Time

1) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:43.44.291

2) Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari + 2.460

3) Sergio Perez Force India + 4.024

4) Sebastian Vettel Ferrari + 5.329

5) Carlos Sainz Renault + 7.515

6) Charles Leclerc Sauber + 9.158

7) Fernando Alonso McLaren + 10.931

8) Lance Stroll Williams + 12.546

9) Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren + 14.152

10) Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso + 18.030

11) Marcus Ericsson Sauber + 18.512

12) Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso + 24.720

13) Kevin Magnussen Haas + 30.663

Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Retired

Max Verstappen Red Bull Retired

Esteban Ocon Force India Retired

Nico Hulkenberg Renault Retired

Romain Grosjean Haas Retired