Lewis Hamilton picked up an unexpected victory in a wild Azerbaijan Grand Prix, benefiting from a late-race error by Sebastian Vettel and a puncture for his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
Vettel led much of the race on the streets of Baku in his Ferrari until stopping for new tyres, with Bottas able to benefit by holding out for his stop until a late-race safety car. That allowed him to emerge in the lead ahead of Vettel and Hamilton.
Then Vettel’s attempt to reclaim the lead at the restart ended with him locking up and running wide, allowing both Hamilton and Kimi Räikkönen to go past. The German then lost another spot to Force India’s Sergio Pérez.
The drama wasn’t over, because Bottas’s bid to win a second race in 2018 ended when a tyre blew in dramatic fashion after he ran over some debris. That gifted Hamilton an unlikely win – and, with it, the championship lead.
Here are more takeaways from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Hamilton: we have work to do
Despite claiming his first victory of the season, world champion Hamilton admitted that both he and Mercedes have work to do to match Ferrari.
“I’m definitely struggling to extract the car’s potential, but also my potential. It’s definitely been a little difficult, but I have to be happy with today.
“We’ve definitely got a lot of work still to do: we still are behind [Ferrari]. We’ve not got a terrible car by any means; we’ve just got to refine it a little bit.”