BAKU – Valtteri Bottas resisted an attacking final charge by his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to win Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix and regain the lead in the 2019 drivers title race.
In a thrilling, closely-fought and dramatic race, the Finn came home 1.5 seconds ahead of Hamilton as Mercedes swept to a fourth successive one-two finish, the first team to do so since Ferrari in 1952.
It was the second win of the season for Bottas and fifth of his career and delivered him some redemption after leading last year’s race until his car suffered a puncture with three laps remaining.
“Yes, ha!” said the delighted Bottas. “Amazing job guys. Really, really strong. I am so proud to be part of this team.”
“We are all performing really, really well,” said Bottas of the Mercedes team.
His win lifted him one point clear of Hamilton in the embryonic championship courtesy of his fastest lap in Australia. Bottas has 87 points, Hamilton 86 and Vettel has 52.
The two Mercedes men came home ahead of Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, Max Verstappen who was fourth for Red Bull and, after a storming effort, Ferrari new boy Charles Leclerc, who started eighth on the grid and scored the fastest lap after a late pit stop.
Sergio Perez finished sixth for Racing Point ahead of the McLarens of Carlos Sainz and British rookie Lando Norris, Lance Stroll in the second Racing Point and Kimi Raikkonen, who was 10th for Alfa Romeo after starting from the pit lane.AFP