“There’s Dirt in there”
Oh my god Baku. What a race it was! The thing that many will know is the Ricciardo won, Stroll got his first podium and with it, his first shoey. His face was priceless as he gulped down champagne from Danny Ric’s shoe. “There’s dirt in there,” he said. In what was truly a photo finish, Bottas edged 18-year-old stroll to the line by one-tenth of a second. Think about it for a moment. In a fraction of the time it takes to blink an eye, two cars crossed the finish line.
“Safety Car. Thrice in 20 laps”
When Kvyat’s Toro Rosso shut down and he stopped on the side, it called for the first safety car of the three this race. Hamilton bolted leaving Vettel to defend from a charging Perez down into T1. Soon after racing was resumed, the safety car was out on track because of the debris on track from all the lap 1 antics and subsequent clashes.
As the safety car was getting ready to pull in, Hamilton didn’t accelerate out of the corner as Vettel had expected. This meant he had to stomp on the brakes and touched the rear of Car 44. In what will be talked about for days, probably months, Vettel then pulled alongside and proceeded to deliberately side swipe the Mercedes. Had he not done that, Lewis would probably have gotten a penalty for failing to accelerate.
Vettel’s antics attracted a 10-second stop-go penalty which he then wondered what he got for. Really man? If you’re going to play dumb, at least make it believable. To put in simply, “Car number 5 ran into Car number 44 on purpose and that is causing a collision.”
With a broken front wing, Vettel had to defend from the Force India of Perez once more. As he was fending off the pink panther, elsewhere his teammate drove over some debris and picked up a puncture.
Driving with a flat tyre is hard. Especially so as you cannot drive too fast lest it explode nor can you drive too slow dragging along the floor. In his efforts to get back to the pits, he spewed so much tyre and debris onto the track that the stewards decided it was time for another safety car, the third of this race. This time around, the restart wasn’t as hectic as previous times. Just after the restart though, the Force India’s ran into each other.
What started at Canada finally boiled over and Ocon collided with the side of Perez, leaving the Mexican with no front wing and a broken front suspension, and the French driver with a punctured rear tyre and broken bargeboards. This time, however, this was too much for a safety car and the race was red flagged.
“3 places in one dive bomb”
When the race resumed from the red flag, everywhere you saw, there were overtakes. Even Alonso was overtaking people. Albeit very few, he was. At one time, he was running as high as P4. The biggest gain, however, was that of Ricciardo who dive bombed Stroll, Massa, and Hulkenberg in one swoop into T1.
Look out for part 2 where I delve into the plethora of overtakes, incidents, and radio talks. Be on the lookout for further parts where I analyse this race even more and the consequences of this Azerbaijan Grand Prix.