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Formula 1 Azerbaijan ... Mercedes-AMG claim a 1-2 victory in Baku (copy 1)


 

Baku, 28 April 2019

Valtteri Bottas took his fifth career victory

Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow leaves Azerbaijan having taken its third podium finish of the season, but with a sense of regret at not getting a better result. Sebastian Vettel finished third for the second consecutive race, while Charles Leclerc, starting back in eighth because of his qualifying mistake, worked his way up to fifth and, at one point even led the race for 19 laps. He also took the point for setting the race fastest lap.

Sebastian maintained his third place off the grid, while Charles, on the Medium tyres dropped from eighth to tenth but, from the second lap began a great climb up the order. He picked off his rivals at the rate of one per lap, despatching them in the order Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat, Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris, Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen, to move to third place, by the time Vettel pitted on lap 11. Shortly afterwards, Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton pitted to go from Softs to Mediums and that saw Charles in the lead.

At this point, the team opted to lengthen Leclerc’s stint as much as possible, in case a Safety Car period would mean the Monegasque driver could pit losing less time and could thus set off in attacking mode for the final stint. The opportunity never arose and Charles came in on lap 34, rejoining sixth behind Pierre Gasly, whom he took one lap to pass.

In the closing stages, Sebastian managed his lead over Max Verstappen, to finish third behind Bottas and Hamilton. Charles was running unchallenged in fifth and therefore on lap 47, he pitted for fresh tyres to go for the fastest lap of the race. He did it, setting a new track record of 1’43”009. It was Ferrari’s 250th fastest lap in Formula 1. The next round takes place in two weeks’ time in Spain.

Sebastian Vettel #5
“That was fun driving today, although not so much in the first stint when I couldn’t get the tyres to work and I didn’t have as much grip as I’d expected. We were not quick and the performance was uneven because I damaged the tyres trying to get them up to temperature and then, once they were there, they didn’t give the performance I’d expected because, they were damaged. After the pit stop I really got a good pace and I had fun because I felt the car was fully under control and I felt free to push, even if it wasn’t enough to put our rivals under pressure. At the restart following the Virtual Safety Car, I set my fastest lap and I managed to get the gap to Verstappen to a second. I think that by then he realised he couldn’t attack me and so I was able to drop the pace a bit in the closing laps. Our pace was alright today, but not good enough. The whole team is working to the maximum and so I feel confident. I believe in this team and I know we can improve. We have a good car, but we’re not using it in the way to get the results we should be getting. It’s like a Rubik’s cube where you have to have everything in the right order. We have a lot of clever people in the team who could solve that puzzle in less than two minutes, but in this case the cube is a bit bigger.”

Charles Leclerc #16
“We extracted the most we could have done out of today’s race. After the setback in qualifying, I started from P8 on medium tyres. It was a bit tricky in the beginning, because everyone around me was starting on the soft compound while I struggled a little bit to get up to speed. Once I got the tyres up to temperature, I had good grip and the situation improved. We had a strong first stint and were able to gain some positions there. After the pit-stop it became clear that we would not be able to move further up the order, so we decided to stop pushing to save the tyres, pitted for a new set and so I was able to bring home the point for the fastest lap at the end. Overall, it hasn’t been the best weekend but our potential was clearly there and I hope that we will have a much better performance at the next GP in Spain again.”

Mattia Binotto Team Principal
“Our performance did not live up to our expectations today. Qualifying had not gone the way we would have wanted and, on this track, grid positions make a big difference, as starting further back makes everything more difficult. In the race, there were no Safety Car periods to take advantage of, which might have played into our hands against our rivals. Sebastian produced a solid performance, always close to the two leaders and he fully deserved to finish on the podium. Charles ran a great race, moving up the order, after losing a few places at the start, because it was harder for him to get his Medium tyres up to temperature than it was for those on the Softs. Today, our pace was not good enough and our rivals were faster. We have to go home, identify the areas where we are weak and push in our way of working, to make more aggressive choices to get back to where we deserve to be.”

Valtteri BottasThis victory feels really good. When you’re starting from pole, you hope for a straightforward race – the less drama, the better it is. I didn’t have the greatest start; after the wheelspin in China I was maybe just a little too cautious. Lewis had a better start so we went side-by-side into Turn 1 and 2; it was good, respectful racing between the two of us and I’m glad I could pull up in front of him. Lewis was very quick today and was able to put on some pressure at the end of the race, so I had to make sure to not make any mistakes. I’ve already said it on the radio after the race: ‘ What a team!’ The level at which everyone is performing at the moment is very impressive, both here at the track and back at the factory, and I’m really proud of everyone. We need to make sure we keep delivering at this level.

Lewis Hamilton
This is a great result for the team. I think this team is stronger than it’s ever been and it’s all down to teamwork. Both Valtteri and myself are pushing the boundaries of the car and are delivering, as are the team in the pitstops, the engineers, and everyone back at the factory. I don’t think we have ever performed at this level before and I’m really grateful for all the hard work from everyone. Baku is not my strongest race, it’s always been difficult for me. I came close to the win today, but not close enough. I didn’t get the job done in Qualifying and then I was a bit too cautious at the start. I also had an issue with the VSC and that made it tough to catch him up. But those are all ifs and buts; Valtteri drove a great race and deserved the win. It was great that the team let us race though. I’ll work hard to bounce back and pick up the performance for Spain.   

Toto Wolff
I’m really happy, this was another fantastic performance from the entire team. We didn’t make any major mistakes today and that’s what has won us this race; our car was quick, the strategy calls were right, the pit stops were executed flawlessly and the drivers didn’t put a foot wrong. We let the two drivers race today; we told them to take it easy at the beginning of the second stint because we didn’t know how long the tyre would last, but both at the start of the race and in the end they were free to fight each other. Both of them perform really well under pressure and neither of them made any mistakes today, so it was a calculated risk but it was good to see them race each other in a clean, respectful manner. I’m very pleased with the result and happy that Valtteri found some redemption after his bad luck here in Baku last year.

James Allison
It wasn’t the crazy bumper-car rally that Baku can sometimes be, but for us it was a stressful, thrilling pleasure to manage a race on a tricky track with our drivers fighting tooth and nail at the start and then getting very close to one another again at the end. To manage a race like that, to finish first and second again and keep the momentum of our championship rolling – it’s been a dream start to the year and we couldn’t be happier. We just need to make sure we can make it all happen again in two weeks from now in Barcelona where we saw the Ferraris were very fast in winter testing.

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG
"As happy we've been after yesterday's qualifying, the more disappointed we are after the race. One point I call damage limitation, but to be honest it could have been more. The bad news came this morning regarding Kimi's front wing. It was a marginal error with the deflection - on Antonio's car the same front wing with the same specification was fine -  but the consequence was that we had to change the specification and Kimi had to start from the pit lane. And as surprisingly there was no safety car this time, we were stuck in traffic with both cars, and whilst both Kimi and Antonio did a got job, our race was compromised."

Kimi Räikkönen
"Not an easy weekend for us. Wasn't the plan to start from the pit lane but it is what it is, so one point is kind of the maximum we could achieve today. We pitted earlier to get out of the traffic but then I struggled for the whole race with switching the tyres on. Bit disappointed as I was expecting a lot more but I have the feeling that the next race will be easier for us."

Antonio Giovinazzi
"It was a challenging race. We started from P17 on the grid due to my 10-place penalty. I lost too much time to stay out in the first stint and got stuck in traffic. It's a shame because I had a good pace but unfortunately there was no safety car and I couldn't challenge for a place in Top Ten. Now I have to stay focused and keep working for the next race in Barcelona."

 

Pos

Driver

Car

Chassis #

Time/Retired

Laps

1

Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes-AMG

F1 W10 EQ Power+/03

1:31:52.942

51

2

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes-AMG

F1 W10 EQ Power+/01

+ 1.524

51

3

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari

 

+ 11.739

51

4

Max Verstappen

Red Bull

 

+ 17.493

51

5

Charles Leclerc

Ferrari

 

+ 1:09.107

51

6

Sergio Pérez

Racing Point

 

+ 1:16.416

51

7

Carlos Sainz jr.

McLaren

 

+ 1:23.826

51

8

Lando Norris

McLaren

 

+ 1:40.268

51

9

Lance Stroll

Racing Point

 

+ 1:43.816

51

10

Kimi Räikkönen

Alfa Romeo

02/Ferrari

+ 1 lap

50

11

Alexander Albon

Toro Rosso

 

+ 1 lap

50

12

Antonio Giovinazzi

Alfa Romeo

03/Ferrari

+ 1 lap

50

13

Kevin Magnussen

Haas F1 Team

 

+ 1 lap

50

14

Nico Hülkenberg

Renault

 

+ 1 lap

50

15

George Russell

Williams

 

+ 2 laps

49

16

Robert Kubica

Williams

 

+ 2 laps

49

6

Pierre Gasly

Red Bull

 

Dnf gearbox

38

16

Romain Grosjean

Haas F1 Team

 

Dnf brakes

38

17

Daniil Kvyat

Toro Rosso

 

Riccardo backed up into Kyvat after a run off

33

18

Daniel Ricciardo

Renault

 

Riccardo backed up into Kyvat after a run off

31