Reuters

Bottas holds off Hamilton to take championship lead with victory at Baku

Bottas holds off Hamilton to take championship lead with victory at Baku

28/04/2019 at 13:46Updated 28/04/2019 at 15:41

Valtteri Bottas moved to the top of the Formula 1 championship on Sunday as he held off Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to win the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku.

Bottas led off pole but he was pushed all the way by Hamilton, who was looking to maintain his position at the top of the standings.

As the race drew to a conclusion, and after a brief stop for the virtual safety car, Hamilton edged closer and closer to his team-mate.

In fact the champion drove so ruthlessly that he set the fastest lap, potentially earning that crucial extra bonus point.

In the final stages he had a chance to overtake in the DRS zone but he went wide which ruined any potential move.

Both Bottas and Hamilton were pipped to the fastest lap by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who pitted for that exact purpose, but the Mercedes drivers continue their dominance at the top of the standings.

TALKING POINT

What's going on at Ferrari? They really need to reassess their strategic decisions. Leclerc had a great chance to discomfit the Silver Arrows, but his very late, very slow pit meant he lost all chance of a podium place. Sebastian Vettel might have come in third but he was never really pushing for anything more.

DRIVER OF THE DAY

The fan vote gave it to Leclerc, who did have a pretty good day despite his team's strategy hobbling him. It'd be hard not to hail Valtteri Bottas, though, who, as ever, kept cool and drove sensibly, even under pressure from Hamilton.

TOP TEN

Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), Max Verstappen (Red Bull), Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Sergio Perez (Racing Point), Carlos Sainz (McLaren), Lando Norris (Renault), Lance Stroll (Racing Point), Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo).

KEY MOMENTS

1/51 And it's a clean start, everyone is through the first part of the lap safely!

5/51 Charles Leclerc is moving up through the field, now into P7.

20/51 So twenty laps in - Leclerc leads, the Mercs behind him, with Vettel pushing them.

24/51 Leclerc is suffering with his tyres now and Bottas and Hamilton are closing in.

31/51 There's a yellow flag - Kvyat and Ricciardo have had some kind of contact at Turn 3. That is...really not great from Ricciardo. He's incurred so much damage to his car that Renault have to retire him from the race.

39/51 Leclerc is not going to make any more inroads on the podium places now unless anything bad happens - looks like P5 is wrapped up for him.

48/51 Whatever else might be said about Lewis Hamilton, the boy is a racer. He's just clocked the fastest lap of the race and is using DRS to close in on his team-mate.

51/51 And that's the chequered flag - a win for Bottas, a 1-2 for Mercedes - the first team ever to wrap up four consecutive 1-2s at the start of a season.

KEY STATISTICS

Mercedes are the first team to record a 1️-2 finish in each of the first four races of a Formula 1 season.

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