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Bottas holds off Hamilton in Mercedes record start as Ferrari fight fizzles out

Bottas holds off Hamilton in Mercedes record start as Ferrari fight fizzles out

F1 News

Bottas holds off Hamilton in Mercedes record start as Ferrari fight fizzles out

Bottas holds off Hamilton in Mercedes record start as Ferrari fight fizzles out

Valtteri Bottas gained redemption at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with a comfortable win from pole position as a mad weekend in Baku gave way to an otherwise sedate race. Bottas led Lewis Hamilton in Mercedes' fourth one-two in 2019 – a new record start to a Formula 1 campaign.

After the manhole-cover mayhem of Friday practice, a near two hours of qualifying on Saturday and utter lunacy in Formula 2, Sunday's grand prix passed by without major incident – a far cry from races here in recent years.

Bottas was among those to lose out last year in the chaos as he suffered a puncture three laps away from a likely win.

However, he managed to hold off team-mate Hamilton gamely at the start and then delivered a measured performance for his second win of the year, taking top spot in the drivers' standings as a result.

Sebastian Vettel again joined the Mercedes pair on the podium, but was never a factor in the fight between them, instead holding off a charging Max Verstappen towards the end of the race.

The lack of a safety car in the race perhaps hampered the chances of Charles Leclerc pulling off a miraculous recovery from eighth on the grid, having crashed in qualifying when he looked a cert for pole position.

Leclerc came home fifth, with a bonus point for fastest lap, having spent large parts of the race in the lead, with Ferrari pitting him too late in the race to utilise soft tyres to the maximum – a virtual safety car brought out when Pierre Gasly retired with 10 laps to go hitting him further.

Ferrari's tactics were already under the microscope after fitting medium tyres in Q2 to costly consequences, and their inability to push the Silver Arrows will again be scrutinised.

Sergio Perez, a two-time podium finisher here was best of the rest in sixth, ahead of the McLarens of Carlos Sainz – scoring for the first time in 2019 – and Lando Norris, with Lance Stroll and Kimi Raikkonen rounding out the top 10.

After last year's smash with Red Bull team-mate Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo again crashed out, albeit in much more embarrassing circumstances, damaging his Renault and the car of Daniil Kvyat by reversing into the Toro Rosso after both had gone on to an escape road.

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