Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton cashes in on rivals' misfortune

Kimi Raikkonen Australian GP 2018

Vettel had appeared on course to secure a commanding, and well-deserved, victory which would have marked his third from the opening four rounds, but for the race to turn on its head when
Ricciardo ran into the back of Verstappen with 11 laps to go.

The question of whether he could hold off Vettel in what appeared to be a faster auto became academic when the German lunged for the inside at the restart with four racing laps left and ran wide, letting Hamilton and the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen through.

At the same time, Perez passed Vettel to take fourth place, which became third thanks to Bottas' retirement.

Hamilton passed Vettel when the German locked up while attempting to overtake Bottas at the safety auto restart with four laps to go, consequently finishing fourth. Both are seeking their fifth world title.

"Valtteri really deserved to win and drove an exceptional race", said Hamilton once the dust had settled. "I didn't give up, I kept pushing, but definitely a very untidy race from me".

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The late safety auto had been triggered by a crash between the two Red Bulls, when Daniel Ricciardo slammed into the back of team-mate Max Verstappen while trying to pass into the first corner.

McLaren, who had their worst qualifying of the season on Saturday, ended up with a double points finish - Fernando Alonso seventh and Stoffel Vandoorne ninth. They were both at fault - although Verstappen more so than Ricciardo - but that's not going to make it any easier explaining to their team how it happened. The massive crash which had Verstappen briefly in air brought out the safety auto once again with Vettel still in the lead.

Hamilton's early pit stop gave him good warm tyres for the closing stages, even though those final laps were interrupted by the safety auto again.

Opportunistic Force India: Sergio Perez just has a habit of picking up podiums in Formula One. Verstappen seemed to ignore the rule of moving just once to block an overtaking attempt and as he went left to cover Ricciardo, the Aussie was unable to slow down enough and rammed into the back of his teammate just as they crossed the line to start lap 40. Sebastian eventually followed suit on Lap 30, but Valtteri stayed out - Mercedes figured his worst result would be third but that a well-timed safety vehicle would allow him to make a free pit stop and keep his lead from the Ferrari.

After Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel got the pole position in the qualifying last Saturday, it looked like he was poised to emerge triumphant again. He would have had to stop soon but for the Red Bull crash, which allowed Bottas to pit and keep the lead.

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