It was another 1-2 victory for the Mercedes Team today at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at the Baku City Circuit, where Valtteri Bottas, qualifying in pole position yesterday, took his fifth career victory and second win of the 2019 season. It is also the 25th podium finish for Bottas with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team.
Lewis Hamilton finished second to give the team 173 points in the Constructors’ Championship ahead of Ferrari in second with 103 points.
Bottas commented after the race that: “This victory feels really good. When you’re starting from pole, you hope for a straightforward race – the less drama, the better it is. I didn’t have the greatest start; after the wheelspin in China I was maybe just a little too cautious. Lewis had a better start so we went side-by-side into Turn 1 and 2; it was good, respectful racing between the two of us and I’m glad I could pull up in front of him. Lewis was very quick today and was able to put on some pressure at the end of the race, so I had to make sure to not make any mistakes. I’ve already said it on the radio after the race: ‘What a team!’ The level at which everyone is performing at the moment is very impressive, both here at the track and back at the factory, and I’m really proud of everyone. We need to make sure we keep delivering at this level.”
It was another rather disappointing race for Ferrari this weekend at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, despite Sebastian Vettel taking the last podium spot to score some valuable points for the team and their third podium finish of the 2019 season. Charles Leclerc on the other hand, started the race back in eighth because of his qualifying mistake but fought his way up to fifth and even led the race for 19 laps. He did however take the point for setting the fastest lap of the race, setting a new track record of 1’43”009. It was also Ferrari’s 250th fastest lap in Formula 1.
Team Principal Mattia Binotto said after the race that: “Our performance did not live up to our expectations today. Qualifying had not gone the way we would have wanted and, on this track, grid positions make a big difference, as starting further back makes everything more difficult. In the race, there were no Safety Car periods to take advantage of, which might have played into our hands against our rivals. Sebastian produced a solid performance, always close to the two leaders and he fully deserved to finish on the podium. Charles ran a great race, moving up the order, after losing a few places at the start, because it was harder for him to get his Medium tyres up to temperature than it was for those on the Softs. Today, our pace was not good enough and our rivals were faster. We have to go home, identify the areas where we are weak and push in our way of working, to make more aggressive choices to get back to where we deserve to be.”
Rich Energy Haas F1 Team
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal summed up the team’s performance at today’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix: “It’s a very disappointing result. We just need to get better in understanding the tires. We’ve been struggling with the introduction of these new tires since the beginning of the year. We need to get a grip of it. It’s quite disappointing that everything is in if you get the tire to work or not. Everybody else seems to be figuring it out, so we need to work hard on that.”
Kevin Magnussen started from 12th on the grid and finished the race in a disappointing 13th. His teammate Romain Grosjean was unfortunately forced to retire with brake issues just 13 laps from the end of the race.
Fourth place went to Max Verstappen in his Red Bull, ahead of Charles Leclerc in his Ferrari in fifth. Sergio Perez came sixth and Carlos Sainz scored some valuable points for McLaren in seventh ahead of his teammate Lando Norris who came eighth. Lance Stroll took ninth in his Racing Point BWT, whilst Kimi Räikkönen rounded off the top ten in his Alfa Romeo.
The fifth round of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship heads over to Europe and Spain for the Spanish Grand Prix on May 12th at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya.
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man Behind The Wheel, a professional photographer and former saloon car racing driver.
Photographs courtesy of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Scuderia Ferrari Press Office and Haas F1 Team