Hamilton wins chaotic Baku battle to lead title race

Former F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone

GETTYBernie Ecclestone had suggested that Lewis Hamilton looks bored with F1

Lewis Hamilton celebrated one of the luckiest wins of his career on Sunday after a crash-strewn and chaotic Azerbaijan Grand Prix that catapulted him into the lead of the Formula One world championship.

Vettel managed to continue and finish fourth ahead of his teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Mexican Sergio Perez of Force India.

It gave Hamilton his first win of the season, his first victory since the U.S. in 2017, and a narrow lead in the World Championship heading into Spain.

But after appearing to luck in when the Red Bulls collided and the safety vehicle was called - enabling him to make a pit stop and retain first place ahead of long-time leader Sebastian Vettel - Bottas was then dealt the ultimate blow when having staved off Vettel's attack at the re-start, he ran over debris with two laps to go.

Valtteri Bottas admitted he may have to drown his sorrows after a late puncture cruelly denied him victory in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

"I have really mixed emotions as there were a lot of faults in the race and I struggled with the vehicle", Hamilton added.

Vettel finished fourth ahead of Renault's Carlos Sainz and an impressive Charles Leclerc for Sauber in sixth.

New Zealander Brendon Hartley was also celebrating his first point after taking 10th for Toro Rosso. Only 13 cars completed the race.

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There was contoversy right from the get go as Kimi Raikkonen and Esteban Ocon collided on the first lap, forcing the safety auto to be deployed, while Fernando Alonso worked a minor miracle to nurse his stricken McLaren back to the pits on just two wheels after a collision of his own.

After the race, Perez, Lance Stroll and Kevin Magnussen were called to the stewards for improper use of DRS.

The Australian, the victor last time out in China, did not back off and ended up smashing into Verstappen as he broke for the corner.

There will be recriminations at Red Bull, whose drivers had appeared on the edge of a crash for much of the race as Ricciardo fought to pass Verstappen and the Dutchman defended right on the edge of acceptability, and some might say beyond.

There was even drama during the final safety-car period, when Haas driver Romain Grosjean spun out of seventh place while trying to warm his tyres. The victory takes him to the lead in the drivers' rankings. All looked like plain sailing for Vettel until lap 20 when Hamilton started to cut down the lead but then on lap 22, locked up his tyres going into the first corner of the 20-turn, 6.003km Baku City Circuit.

"I'm absolutely heartbroken. It hurts a lot", he said.

"It was Valtteri's race to win today", said the Austrian. "A small piece of debris destroyed my entire weekend", he said.

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