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Second DNF in a row for Verstappen in Baku: “So very disappointed”

Published on 25 June 2017 by Mike Motilall

Max Verstappen was not able to successfully finish the crazy Azerbaijani Grand Prix after a very good start. An issue with the oil pressure meant a premature end to his race. The RB13 of the Dutchman suddenly lost power on lap twelve, causing him to contact his team and drop out at the end of the same lap. Daniel Ricciardo was the one who eventually came out on top after Mercedes and Ferrari also had their fair share of problems. Bottas finished second ahead of Lance Stroll, who surprised friends and foe by coming in third, as Bottas overtook him just before the finish line.

Max had the following to say, regarding the premature end of again another race: “After what looked like a promising position at the beginning of the race, I was gutted to be let down once again by a technical problem. After an action packed race, we were confident I could have at least had a podium today. So very disappointed with this outcome.”

It is 17:00 hrs. local time when the lights go out in Baku. Verstappen has a good get away and retains his fifth position after the first corner. Behind of him, it all goes South for Carlos Sainz, he had to dodge his team mate getting back on track, resulting in him losing control of his Toro Rosso. Turning in for turn two, Valtteri Bottas makes the same mistake as in Barcelona, by taking the kerbstones too aggressively. He then hits Kimi Raikkonen, who is able to continue on with minor damages. Verstappen benefits and moves up to fourth, behind of Sergio Perez. Bottas however, doesn’t walk away unscathed, he drops all the way back from a puncture. At the end of the first lap, he immediately pits. With a new nose and a new set of wheels, the Mercedes-driver is able to continue on, one lap down on the others. Lewis Hamilton is meanwhile pulling away from Vettel and is leading by over three seconds after five laps.

On lap six, Daniel Ricciardo takes his first and planned stop. Max’ team mate goes from the super softs to the softs.

The first drop out of the day is Jolyon Palmer. On lap eight, he coasts his Renault, without any drive, back to the pits and gets out. Daniil Kvyat is the second dropout after a short amount of time, the Russian is forced to park his car alongside the track with technical problems.

Max Verstappen manages to keep the gap to Sergio Perez small and is slowly increasing the pressure. The Dutchman is in the heat of the battle with the Mexican, when on lap twelve, as he is getting on the straight, things take a turn for the worse. Max suddenly loses drive and there is smoke from the back of his RB13. “Here we go again”, Verstappen exclaims, the sound of despair clearly audible in his voice. It quickly becomes apparent that there is no hope and the Red Bull Racing-driver heads back to his team. After a short stop, the end of his race is a fact: “That's it, I am sorry”, says his engineer.

As Kvyat’s car is still on track, the safety car emerges on track. Hamilton and Vettel immediately head for the pits, the rest of the field quickly followed suit.

When the race resumes on lap sixteen, Hamilton, Vettel, Perez, Raikkonen and Massa are the top five. Not even half a lap later, the race is neutralized again due to debris on the track. Even before the field is let loose again, there is a skirmish between Hamilton and Vettel. The Brit appears to brake suddenly which causes Vettel to hit the Mercedes-driver. Vettel displays his dismay by running into Hamilton. He gets awarded with a 10 second stop-and-go penalty.

After the re-start, a fierce battle unfolds between the Force India’s. During an overtake of Ocon on Perez, the Frenchman doesn’t leave much space and both cars touch. This results in a puncture for Ocon and also brings out the third safety car of the day. Perez loses his front wing and returns back to the pits, which, as it would seem, meant his retirement from the race. Kimi Raikkonen doesn’t come off clean either. Because of the debris caused by the Force India-drivers ahead of him, he suffers a puncture. His Ferrari is damaged too severely for him to continue on as he heads back to the pits.

Because of the debris on track, race control decides to red flag the race on lap twenty two. This gives Raikkonen and Perez the chance to have their cars repaired and get back into the race. As this has not been done by the book, the two drivers are slapped with a drive through penalty. This however had no effect on the overall result as both Perez and Raikkonen didn’t make it to the end of the race

When the track has been taken care of, the safety car heads back in and the race gets back underway. Ricciardo has a great re-start and overtakes Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll for third. Massa has issues with his Williams and is losing speed. He returns back to the pits and gets out of the car. Nico Hulkenberg drops out as well, after he hits the wall and breaks his suspension.

Things get even stranger when Lewis Hamilton’s headrest appears to be loose, causing the Brit, in the lead, to head to the pits to have this issue looked at. At the same moment, Vettel is served his stop-and-go penalty. The four time world champion takes his penalty on lap thirty four and rejoins the pack in seventh.

The remainder of the race is quite exciting, with great many overtakes and fights from Bottas, Vettel and Hamilton. The race eventually has seven drop outs. Alonso finally rakes up some points for his team this season by bringing it home in ninth.

Azerbeidjan Grand Prix - Baku - Sunday 25 June


01  3 Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer  	51 2:03:55.573  25
02 77 Valtteri Bottas     Mercedes                   	51 +3.904s      18
03 18 Lance Stroll        Williams Mercedes          	51 +4.009s      15
04  5 Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari                    	51 +5.976s      12
05 44 Lewis Hamilton      Mercedes                   	51 +6.188s      10
06 31 Esteban Ocon        Force India Mercedes       	51 +30.298s     8
07 20 Kevin Magnussen     Haas Ferrari               	51 +41.753s     6
08 55 Carlos Sainz        Toro Rosso                 	51 +49.400s     4
09 14 Fernando Alonso     McLaren Honda              	51 +59.551s     2
10 94 Pascal Wehrlein     Sauber Ferrari             	51 +89.093s     1
11  9 Marcus Ericsson     Sauber Ferrari             	51 +91.794s     0
12  2 Stoffel Vandoorne   McLaren Honda              	51 +92.160s     0
13  8 Romain Grosjean     Haas Ferrari               	50 +1 lap       0
14  7 Kimi Räikkönen      Ferrari                    	46 DNF          0
NC 11 Sergio Perez        Force India Mercedes       	39 DNF          0
NC 19 Felipe Massa        Williams Mercedes          	25 DNF          0
NC 27 Nico Hulkenberg     Renault                    	24 DNF          0
NC 33 Max Verstappen      Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer  	12 DNF          0
NC 26 Daniil Kvyat        Toro Rosso                 	9  DNF          0 
NC 30 Jolyon Palmer       Renault                    	7  DNF          0