BAKU, Azerbaijan, CMC –Valtteri Bottas captured the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and Lewis Hamilton placed second as Mercedes set an all-time record of four consecutive one-twos at the start of a season yesterday.
Sebastian Vettel finished third and team-mate Charles Leclerc finished fifth, but for the fourth race in a row Ferrari were unable to challenge Mercedes.
Hamilton, the reigning world champion 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.
“It was actually a tough race even though not that much was happening at the front – Lewis was putting on pressure, but everything was under control. I’m happy to take the chequered flag and take first place,” Bottas said.
Hamilton was full of praise for his teammate.
“Congratulations to Valtteri, he drove a fantastic race, made no mistakes and deserved the win. It was all lost in qualifying. It’s great for the team and this is the best start of the season we’ve ever had,” he said.
The result makes Mercedes the first team ever to start the season in such a dominant fashion and puts their 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.