Mercedes 1&2 in Azerbaijan Grand Prix

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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Mercedes set an all-time record of four consecutive one-twos at the start of a season as Valtteri Bottas beat Lewis Hamilton to win the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

For the fourth race in a row, Ferrari was unable to challenge Mercedes – and again there were questions about the strategy chosen by the Italian team again.

Sebastian Vettel finished third, never very far behind the Mercedes, but team-mate Charles Leclerc finished fifth when it looked for a while as if he might have been able to take fourth ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen. 

Leclerc's consolation on a weekend that he had looked like dominating until crashing in qualifying was a point for fastest lap.

The result makes Mercedes the first team ever to start the season in such a dominant fashion and puts its drivers in an enviable position in the championship.

Bottas returns to the lead of the championship, leading Hamilton by the point he gained for fastest lap in Australia. Vettel is 35 points behind.

Hamilton closed in on Bottas in the final two laps looking for the win but made an error running wide at the last corner just as the Finn got the DRS overtaking aid by coming up to lap Williams' George Russell and the leader held on.

Bottas came close to losing the lead at the start when Hamilton got alongside the Finn into Turn One after a better start from second on the grid.

But Hamilton gave Bottas plenty of room on the outside, and that allowed Bottas to hold him off on the runs to Turns Two and Three, after which he controlled the race.

Mercedes have the best car, but the margins appear to be quite small. But Ferrari is making it easier for them.

Leclerc might have won had he not crashed in qualifying, there are questions over the tyre strategy in wanting to start on the mediums, and also over how the team ran Leclerc's race.

Leclerc's off-set strategy, starting on the medium tyres, provided the main interest in the race.

The 21-year-old started eighth after crashing in qualifying when he had appeared the favourite for the weekend, and once clear of the midfield runners he began carving huge chunks out of the gap to the front-runners.

By lap 11, he had caught Vettel, who Ferrari immediately called into the pits to change from the softs to the mediums, and Mercedes followed the German in with Bottas and Hamilton on consecutive laps.

That put Leclerc in the lead, needing to go long on the mediums and hope to fight back on fresh soft tyres in the closing stages.

Bottas, Hamilton and Vettel closed in and the Finn was on Leclerc's tail by lap 31 and passed him a lap later.

Leclerc pleaded to be pitted for fresh tyres immediately, but the team told him they wanted to wait because they were worried about the softs making it to the end.

But they waited for only two laps – in which time Leclerc lost eight seconds to Bottas, at least a second of which was caused by letting team-mate Vettel by.

That left Leclerc well over 20 seconds behind Verstappen, and in a lonely fifth place.

After the race, Renault's Aussies Daniel Ricciardo was given a three-place penalty for the next race in Spain after reversing into Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat. 

The pair had been battling for 10th place when Ricciardo lunged up in the inside at Turn Three. He misjudged it and ran straight on, meaning Kvyat could also not turn into the corner. Attempting to rejoin, Ricciardo did not see Kvyat and simply reversed into his car.

Williams George Russell, Robert Kubica again having challenges with another end of the field and a lap down finish.

I feel its a shame that  Williams used to be one of the top teams in F1.

Some great drivers have been behind the wheel for Williams over the years that have included Australia's Alan Jones; Finland's Keke Rosberg; Britain's Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill and Jenson Button; France's Alain Prost; Brazil's Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna; and of course Canada's Jacques Villeneuve. Each of these drivers, with the exception of Senna and Button, have captured one Drivers' title with the team. Of those who have won the championship with Williams, only Jones, Rosberg and Villeneuve actually defended their title while still with the team. Piquet moved to Lotus after winning the 1987 championship, Mansell moved to the American-based Indy Cars after winning the 1992 championship, Prost retired from racing after his 4th World Championship in 1993, while Hill moved to Arrows after winning in 1996. 

Good news for new team Racing Points Sergio Perez finishing 6th and Canadian Lance Stroll 9th, both drivers earning points.

Grand Prix Official Results 

1  Valtteri Bottas  Mercedes  

2  Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes  

3  Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari  

4  Max Verstappen  Red Bull  

5  Charles Leclerc  Ferrari  

6  Sergio Perez  Racing Point  

7  Carlos Sainz Jnr  McLaren  

8  Lando Norris  McLaren  

9  Lance Stroll  Racing Point  

10  Kimi Raikkonen  Alfa Romeo  

11  Alexander Albon  Toro Rosso Lapped  

12  Antonio Giovinazzi  Alfa Romeo Lapped   

13  Kevin Magnussen  Haas Lapped 

14  Nico Hulkenberg  Renault Lapped  

15  George Russell  Williams Lapped  

16  Robert Kubica  Williams Lapped  

R  Pierre Gasly  Red Bull  Retired  

R  Romain Grosjean  Haas Retired 

R  Daniil Kvyat  Toro Rosso Retired  

R  Daniel Ricciardo Renault 

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