How a loose manhole cover caused Azerbaijan GP practice to be cancelled

How a loose manhole cover caused Azerbaijan GP practice to be cancelled

Ferrari has not won so far in 2019 - although the team would have had a victory in Bahrain if there had not been an engine problem on Charles Leclerc's vehicle - but Sebastian Vettel insists that the Azerbaijan Grand Prix is not a decisive "must win" race for the Scuderia.

Hamilton made a good start from second on the grid to pull alongside polesitter Bottas on the run down to Turn 1, and the pair ran around the first corners side-by-side.

It was enough for the Finn to retake the championship lead from Hamilton over whom he now has a one-point advantage.

Sebastian Vettel finished third for Ferrari.

Leclerc also claimed the bonus point for fastest lap.

After a poor start, Leclerc swept past a string of slower cars before overtaking Max Verstappen, who complained of poor handling in his Red Bull.

Bottas will not mind, though. Mercedes too can not have expected to have taken all four wins thus far. "So, yeah, I seem to be more sensitive at the first races than at the test". So much for a Ferrari revival.

Claire Williams, the deputy team principal of the Williams race team, said it was "not acceptable" that a drain cover on the Baku City Circuit caused serious damaged to Russell's vehicle. It was under control and I was happy to see the chequered flag.

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"It obviously means a lot". The team was already struggling with a shortage of spare parts. "It is only my fifth win, so of course it feels good".

"He made no mistakes and he truly deserved the win", Hamilton said of his team mate Sunday. For me, it was all lost in qualifying.

"Yesterday in qualifying our auto was great, [but] today we had a bit of a tyre management issue", he explained. But he did his qualifying lap without a tow, and that was because Mercedes tricked Ferrari into following them out of the pits early - only for their drivers to stop at the end of the pit lane and pretend to do practice starts, letting Vettel past. It was breathless stuff but both drivers kept it clean as the walls loomed over them.

Vettel would have been watching on hoping for a collision, but it failed to materialise. Vettel dropped further back, now 35 points behind Bottas.

On that compound he was the quickest man on the circuit in that stint, carving through the field and leading the race from lap 14 to 34 while others pitted before him. He made almost all of that up again in the final two sectors of the lap but ended up losing out to Bottas by just 0.059secs.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen, fastest in the second phase of qualifying, was fourth ahead of Racing Point's Sergio Perez - the only driver to have stood on the Baku podium a few times.

McLaren celebrated its first double points finish of the season as Norris came home eighth, while Racing Point also got two drivers in the top 10 as Lance Stroll clinched ninth.