Dan Thorn profile picture Dan Thorn a year ago 26
Formula 1

Ricciardo's Heroic 3-Car Overtake Wasn't The Maddest Thing To Happen At The Azerbaijan GP

The Baku City Circuit produced one of the most bonkers and action-packed races we've seen for ages

Remind me later
Ricciardo's Heroic 3-Car Overtake Wasn't The Maddest Thing To Happen At The Azerbaijan GP - Formula 1

F1 in 2017 has been all about the battle between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was no exception - but neither of them ended up winning.

That honour went to Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, who made this incredible three-car overtake on the way to his first win of the season.

Possibly inspired by the Australian’s mega move, the following lap Haas driver Kevin Magnussen pulled off a similarly awesome pass. Check out the cheeky powerslide from the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg on the exit!

But whilst the race showcased some great driving, there was also some…well, less good driving, shall we say.

The race started out with a collision between the two Finns, as Valtteri Bottas hit Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari just two corners into the race.

Things settled down for a short while after that, but then came a hat-trick of safety car periods, each of which only led to more drama.

It was during the second safety car period though that perhaps the biggest story of the race developed. As the drivers were getting ready for the restart, Vettel ran into the back of leader Hamilton. Feeling he’d been brake tested by his rival, Vettel gesticulated angrily and pulled alongside and seemed to purposefully knock into the Mercedes driver.

It took a while for us all to realise what had happened though, because in the meantime both Force India drivers collided. That brought out yet another safety car and eventually a red flag to stop the race, so that marshals could clean all the debris off of the circuit.

The red flag period gave us all plenty of time to catch a breather and mull over the Hamilton/Vettel incident.

When the race restarted Hamilton took off into the lead once more, but his headrest came loose and he had to pit for repairs, dropping him way down the order.

Shortly afterwards Vettel was given his penalty. In most motorsports deliberately hitting another driver would result in something pretty severe like a race ban, but the Ferrari driver was lucky to escape with just a 10-second stop-go penalty. To make matters worse for Lewis, when Vettel served his penalty he emerged ahead of the Mercedes driver…

Sergio Perez had a great view of the Hamilton-Vettel 'incident'
Sergio Perez had a great view of the Hamilton-Vettel 'incident'

Their title battle had been so friendly up until this point, and that’s a story that’ll continue to run and run.

Up at the front Ricciardo was in the lead and would stay there until the end to take his first win of the year. But the guy in second was something of a surprise - 18-year-old Williams rookie Lance Stroll.

He’d been putting in a storming race and was desperately trying to hang on to second place ahead of a charging Bottas. It looked as though he’d done enough, but on the looooong run down to the finish line the Mercedes driver got enough of a run to pip him at the finish line by just a tenth of a second.

It doesn't get much closer than that!
It doesn't get much closer than that!

Still, third place was a mega performance for the young Canadian driver, especially considering he only scored his first points at the previous Grand Prix in Canada.

To celebrate his achievement Ricciardo made him do his trademark podium celebration - a shoey. Worth it!

Following the top three drivers came Vettel in fourth and Hamilton fifth, meaning the German extends his championship lead to 14 points.

But for all of the bizarre goings on in the race, perhaps the most unexpected result was Fernando Alonso in the McLaren. Not only did his car actually last long enough for it to get to the end for once, but he actually finished ninth to score the teams first points of the season. It’s weird to be saying that about legends like Alonso and McLaren, but such has been their nightmare of a year that it’s actually something worth celebrating.

Ricciardo's Heroic 3-Car Overtake Wasn't The Maddest Thing To Happen At The Azerbaijan GP - Formula 1

An all-around chaotic race then, and one which could dramatically change the way the two title protagonists go about the rest of their seasons. We’ll have to wait for the Austrian Grand Prix in two weeks to find out how the story of 2017 carries on though.

With tensions reaching a season high, you won’t want to miss it!