Azerbaijan GP: When a bunch of whacked-out nut jobs were on the loose in Baku

Formula One 2017 season is getting nastier with every race. We can easily call the current season one of the most competitive seasons, at least in last few years.

Just when we thought F1 can’t get more exciting, Azerbaijan Grand Prix raised the madness quotient and how.

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Yes, this is how I describe everything that happened today in Baku, in a word.

Force India’s Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon collided with each other. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who was quickest in Practice 1 and 2 failed to finish the race with another technical glitch. There were crashes galore. It was a crazily busy day in the pitlane. The safety car came out thrice and this race even saw the Red flags. Now, how many times have you seen that? A rookie finished on the podium. Drivers in the front two rows were so busy outsmarting each other that a man who was 10th on the starting grid took the chequered flag out of nowhere.

Even after all this, Azerbaijan GP 2017 will be remembered for a maddening incident between Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

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Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo picked up his first win this season and fifth overall, thanks to a temper tantrum of Sebastian Vettel, who rammed his car into the side of early race leader Lewis Hamilton.

Midway in the 51 laps of the street circuit, a clearly frustrated Vettel kissed Hamilton’s tail while trailing behind the safety car. Vettel accused Hamilton of not accelerating through the corner and in a fit of pique, he then pulled alongside Hamilton and side bumped the Brit. And we thought F1 is for grownups?

Vettel fumed that Hamilton had brake checked him, something that Hamilton denied and the data from the Mercedes car showed no change in pace. Vettel said the was a way to show his annoyance.

Title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel came to blows. Tempers boiled over as Vettel, at that point temporarily the race leader, was then penalized by race officials, ordering him to pit for 10 seconds as recourse for his earlier dangerous driving into Hamilton.

“We are racing with men, I don’t have radio (communication) to him, if I got a penalty we should both have got a penalty,” Vettel said afterwards.

After scoring his first points last time out in Canada, Williams rookie Lance Stroll survived the chaotic scenes around him to became the 208th driver in history to score a world championship podium.

At 18 years and 239 days, Stroll is the second youngest person to stand on the rostrum in F1 history, behind only Max Verstappen, who was 12 days younger when he won in Spain last year.

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When an F1 rookie gets their first podium finish they drink champagne out of the boot of the winner. Lance Stroll’s face says it all!

Vettel and Hamilton fought their way through to fourth and fifth, separated by just 0.2 seconds at the finish line. Vettel extended his championship lead to 14 points.

 

 

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