Four races saw four different winners. From a seemingly parallel universe in Azerbaijan to a Mercedes resurgence to Scarlet fever, the past month has seen it all. Here’s what went down
Azerbaijan GP: Escape from the Ordinary
No one could have predicted the podium after the last lap of Baku was done. ‘Shoey’ was back as Daniel Ricciardo made his way through the nether realm of an incident-packed race to the very front of the order. #HasStrollCrashedYet? No, he claimed a podium. And McLaren scored points (plural)!
Hamilton started on pole, yes, but incident after incident saw the yellow flags out in droves, then the Safety Car and, on lap 23, even the red flag. All said and done, Ricciardo crossed the line to take his first win this season, with Stroll, who drove well to stay in position, out-dragged by Bottas on the run to the finish line. At 18 years and 239 days, though, Stroll became the youngest rookie on the podium.
Austrian GP: Reaction Time
Allegations were rife that Valtteri Bottas had jumped the start, but the Finn’s data showed he responded to the red lights going off in 0.2 of a second. Further down the order Daniil Kvyat bumped into Alonso, sending him into the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, ending up with both of them spinning out. The race was uneventful for most part. Hamilton had caught up with the Red Bull and tried going around the outside after the DRS zone, but to no avail. The Australian firmly closed the door. The order remained the same as the chequered flag came out. Bottas took his second victory of the season, finishing ahead of Vettel and Ricciardo.
British GP: Home Is where the Hammer Is
After what could be called a somewhat lacklustre performance in Austria, Hamilton looked determined to ace it at his home race. He started from pole. An aborted start meant an extra warm-up lap, but, as the lights went green, Hamilton was off. Raikkonen also looked promising in his Ferrari as he sped off in pursuit of the race leader, with Verstappen hard on his tail. Starting lap two, Hamilton had a lead of 1.67 seconds, when the two Toro Rossos collided, bringing out the Safety Car.
After the restart, too, Hamilton was relentless while Raikkonen kept his pace up. Bottas, meanwhile, was making his way up from way back, getting the better of Vettel for a crucial third.
Hungarian GP: Team Tussles
Qualifying showed that Ferrari had the pace and were a match for Mercedes at this high-downforce circuit.
The two Ferraris got a good start, as did the Red Bulls, muscling both Bottas and Hamilton. Verstappen, on a charge, carried a little too much momentum, locked up, and took out his team-mate, bringing out the Safety Car.
Racing was resumed on lap six. Vettel and Raikkonen continued to storm ahead before the pit-stops began. Alonso, meanwhile, was having a strong race. Vettel soon had an issue with his steering hanging to the left and was advised to avoid the kerbs. Raikkonen was now playing second fiddle.
Bottas then let Hamilton through on lap 46, with Mercedes hoping he would catch up with the Ferraris. Try as he might, Hamilton couldn’t get close enough. Ferrari had it in the bag.
Vettel and Raikkonen crossed the line one and two. Hamilton swerved aside at the very last moment to let Bottas through for third. Verstappen finished fifth, with Alonso taking sixth, clinching the fastest lap of the race in the process.
How NOT to throw a party - Daniil Kvyat Home-hero celebrations done as they should be
Max isn’t going to be on Daniel’s card list, that’s for sure