BAKU (Reuters) - Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo won a chaotic Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday, with Formula One championship leader Sebastian Vettel finishing fourth after being penalised for swerving into rival Lewis Hamilton who came home in fifth.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas finished second after overcoming a first-lap collision with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, while Canadian teenager Lance Stroll was third for his first podium after being pipped on the line by Bottas.
Ferrari’s Vettel got a 10-second stop-go penalty, which saw him drop from second to ninth, after he steered into race leader Hamilton under safety car conditions after a red-flag stoppage.
”Nothing happened, did it?“ Vettel said to Sky Sports. ”He brake-checked me as well, so what do you expect? I‘m sure he didn’t do it on purpose but for sure it was not the right move.
“I got damage, he risked damage,” added the German. “After the incident, we were side by side, I raised my hand and showed him that I wasn’t happy with that.”
Vettel reacted incredulously when he learned of the 10-second penalty on lap 32, while Hamilton, whose hopes of victory were later ended when he had to pit due to a loose head rest, complained over his radio that the sanction was insufficient.
”I don’t really care about (what happened),“ Hamilton responded. ”It’s done and dusted and we move on.
”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.”
Vettel leads the overall standings on 153 points ahead of Briton Hamilton on 139 and Finland’s Bottas with 111.
Australian Ricciardo’s first victory since he won the Malaysian Grand Prix last year lifted him to fourth on 92.
”I can’t really believe it,“ said Ricciardo. ”It was a crazy race. We knew the podium was a chance after the restart, then we heard of the problems with Lewis and Seb.
“(I didn’t think I’d win) for all my money, but this was the race we expected last year, all the safety cars and chaos. We had to stay out of trouble and certainly pulled it off today.”
The 18-year-old Stroll’s previous best had been a ninth-placed finish on home soil earlier this month, but he kept his nerve under pressure to become the youngest Formula One driver to make the podium in his maiden season.
The anticipated Mercedes dominance was tested early on when Bottas came off the kerb and collided with Ferrari rival Raikkonen, forcing both Finns into the pits.
While Raikkonen was ultimately forced to retire later in the race, Bottas staged a remarkable comeback, emulating his fine performance on the Sochi street circuit to battle back to a podium position before overhauling Stroll on the line.
Force India’s Esteban Ocon finished sixth, equalling his career-best performance, although he may rue missing out on the podium after clashing with Mexican team mate Sergio Perez, whose retirement ended his 37-race streak of consecutive finishes.
Ricciardo’s Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen, the pacesetter during practice on Friday, was forced to retire for the fourth time in the last six races with engine trouble on lap 11 after the Dutchman attempted to attack Perez and take third.
Writing by Ed Dove; Editing by Toby Davis and Ken Ferris