LIVE Race Updates 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix
Location: Baku, Azerbaijan
Race: FORMULA 1 SOCAR AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX 2019
It’s race day and we’re all getting ready for the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix and here’s what we know so far.
KIMI RAIKKONEN PENALTY – Announced around 10 minutes ago. Kimi Raikkonen has received a penalty due to failing a front wing deflection test and will be starting the race from the pit lane.
Valtteri Bottas getting ready this morning – ahead of the driver track parade.
Here’s a photo from the track parade and further below, you can see what some of the drivers had to say ahead of the race today.
DRIVER INTERVIEWS (TRACK PARADE)
Carlos Sainz: “After such a day yesterday, we had really good pace but we couldn’t show it and today is another day – we have gained two positions without even racing and we will think about the points.”
Lando Norris: “I was pleased with P7 yesterday especially after China so I’m happy with Q3 and P7 is better. It’s a long race and anything can happen so look forward to it.”
Max Verstappen: “I think today it’s going to be a good one – we should be competitive. It’s windy today so we’ll have to see how that will affect the race. It’s not easy when there’s wind and with the temperatures you have to think about the tyres. If you lockup, it’s very easy to hit a wall here so it’s a tricky circuit.”
Charles Leclerc: “I was actually happier starting in P9 on the right side of the grid rather than P8 but you know, that’s how it is. I am hard on myself but that’s something that works for me. I will start today with a fresh mind and look at how things go. Last year it was tricky with the wind – not as bad today but it will be a long race.”
Lewis Hamilton: “Naturally, you’re never satisfied until you’re first but we didn’t expect to be first and second and this just shows the great effort in the team. This is a very technical circuit – it’s basic but also incredibly challenging due to it being a street circuit. It’s very easy to make mistakes – one lockup and you can hit the wall. It’s like Singapore but harder – almost like Monaco!”
Sebastian Vettel: “We’ll see – our pace is very strong. In Qualifying we got beaten by Mercedes but hopefully with the race we can beat them and give them a hard time.”
I spy Valtteri enjoying coffee – where’s the porridge? 😉
Drivers are now getting ready ahead of the race. The sun is shining in Baku however it is still windy.
PIT LANE OPEN – 2019 AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX
The pit lane is now open and drivers are making their way out of the garage and round the circuit to join the grid.
Drivers are now at the front of the grid for the national anthem.
LIVE RACE UPDATES – 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix
The drivers are now all on the grid and getting things ready for the formation lap. The sun is shining however as mentioned, it’s windy which could affect certain parts of the track.
Drivers are now making their way round the circuit for the formation lap – getting their cars as ready as possible.
Robert Kubica and Kimi Raikkonen are ready in the pit lane for the start of the race.
Lewis Hamilton has a great start – as does his team-mate, Valtteri Bottas and the two are close on the first couple of corners but Bottas stays in the lead.
Sebastian Vettel right behind in P3 – it’s a clean start to the race.
Leclerc lost a couple of places and is down in P10 from P8 – he didn’t have the best of starts but it’s only the beginning of the race.
Kimi Raikkonen has made his way up into P17 after starting from the pit-lane.
Charles Leclerc now moves up into P9 and makes his way past Daniel Ricciardo.
Valtteri Bottas now sets the fastest time.
After a couple of laps and thanks to DRS – Max Verstappen manages to make his way past Perez in a great move.
Kvyat now comes into the pits.
Charles Leclerc equally making his way through the grid – he’s now up into P6.
Valtteri Bottas stays in the lead – times are looking stable for Mercedes however both Ferrari and Red Bull seem to be improving to the cars in the lead…..
Max Verstappen: “The braking is not working properly.” Verstappen mentioning that on certain corners the braking doesn’t work as effectively as he would like…. not the best thing to hear.
Charles Leclerc has made his way up to P4 and was right behind his team-mate. His team-mate however came into the pits for a tyre change. Probably a good move by Ferrari to avoid racing between the pair.
Leclerc now up into P3.
Valtteri Bottas being told over the radio about Vettel’s pit-stop. Bottas now comes into the pits.
Lewis Hamilton is in the lead of the race with Charles Leclerc now up in P2 following Bottas and Vettel’s pit-stops.
Charles Leclerc has set the fastest lap time.
Hamilton now being told to “box” – meaning come into the pits. This will mean that Charles Leclerc takes the lead.
It’s now Leclerc, Verstappen, Bottas, Hamilton and Vettel who make up the top 5 drivers.
Sebastian Vettel now takes the fastest lap time.
Robert Kubica has been given a penalty – a drive through penalty for being taken to the pit exit too early at the start of the race.
Sebastian Vettel has now started to close the gap to Hamilton – Lewis Hamilton is in P3, Vettel in P4.
Lewis Hamilton now sets the fastest lap time – 1:46.246
Valtteri Bottas now sets the fastest lap time – he’s pushing to close the gap to Leclerc. The Ferrari’s have put the pressure on Mercedes.
The team telling Bottas to slow down a little bit – meaning to maintain and look after the tyres as much as possible.
Lewis Hamilton now sets the fastest lap time – battle of the team mates….
The team telling Bottas: “Reel Leclerc in” – so basically, push again.
Lewis Hamilton now sets the fastest lap time.
Things are now becoming stable as teams have started managing their tyres for the latter part of the race however Max Verstappen now sets the fastest lap time.
Charles Leclerc is still in the lead – he’s having a great race and maintaining things however Mercedes have started to push and the gap has closed slightly.
Lewis Hamilton had Sebastian Vettel right behind who was pushing however the gap has started to widen between the two with Lewis Hamilton in P3, pushing.
Team to Lewis Hamilton: “So, Lewis, we’re confident that the opportunities will come at the end of the race.”
Max Verstappen still maintaining the fastest lap time.
Charles Lecerc is still in the lead – he’s looking comfortable however Bottas and Hamilton are both right behind and maintaining their tyres / race strategy. Things will liven up shortly….
Both Bottas and Hamilton have closed the gap to Leclerc who hasn’t come into the pits yet. Both drivers are battling here and we’ve got a good race on our hands….
Bottas now makes his way past Leclerc! He’s in the lead again! Leclerc hasn’t come into the pits yet but Lewis Hamilton is right behind.
Lewis Hamilton gains and makes his way past Leclerc! It’s close round the first turn and Leclerc makes a call to his team asking to come into the pits due to “losing time”.
Sebastian Vettel is right behind.
Leclerc now comes into the pits – a delay and he has lost time. His team-mate Sebastian Vettel is now up into P3.
Slowly, Hamilton has started closing the gap to his team-mate. Bottas is in the lead and looking comfortable but his team-mate is starting to put the pressure on him. Sebastian Vettel on the other hand is in P3 and where he looked strong, he’s now started to hold back – is he waiting for the end part of the race?
Max Verstappen now takes the fastest lap time – he’s in P4 and putting the pressure on Sebastian Vettel.
Pierre Gasly has slowed down – he’d found an exit / slip road and is off the track however there is a virtual safety car.
VIRTUAL SAFETY CAR
Max Verstappen now sets the fastest lap time – he’s being told good things over the radio and being told to keep going.
Max Verstappen: “Why is there a safety car?”
Team to Verstappen: “Pierre had a problem and stopped…”
The virtual safety car will be ending – Bottas leads.
It seems like drivers are trying to maintain the tyre temperatures – Valtteri Bottas is in the lead of the race with Lewis Hamilton in P2 and Sebastian Vettel in P3.
Team telling Verstappen: “OK Max, we’d like you to stay off the exit kerb….”
Is this a precaution for Verstappen following Pierre Gasly’s problem?
Lewis Hamilton now setting a personal best at the start of the lap.
Valtteri Bottas takes the fastest lap time – he’s still in the lead.
Lewis Hamilton has now started putting the pressure on his team-mate, he’s closing the gap. Could he gain with DRS? There’s a few laps to go until the end of the Grand Prix!
Bottas is still in the lead and Hamilton is right behind. The gap has closed between the pair and Lewis Hamilton is pushing.
Valtteri Bottas now making his way through the back-markers. There was a slight mistake for Lewis Hamilton who wen’t off slightly and lost a little bit of time.
It’s the final lap and Valtteri Bottas is in the lead – Bottas has the fastest lap time.
Charles Leclerc just takes the fastest lap time – this was what Ferrari wanted following their last pit-stop. Charles Leclerc has the extra point!
Valtteri Bottas wins the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix!
Lewis Hamilton in P2. Sebastian Vettel in P3 – ending how it all started.
Driver of the day is Charles Leclerc – as voted for by the public. He drove a great race today and was let down by Ferrari due to their strategy.
POST RACE INTERVIEWS – 2019 AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX
Valtteri Bottas: “It was a tough race and maybe there wasn’t too much happening but Lewis was putting the pressure on. It was a good race and I’m happy to see the chequered flag and have this race done. It means a lot to win the race and a lot for the team – I’m so proud to be a part of this and we are all performing well. This is only my fifth win so enjoying it.”
Lewis Hamilton: “Congratulations to Valtteri, he made no mistakes and he drove a great race. It was a great result for the team and a big thank you to them. This is a team effort – back at the factory, everyone works non stop and we all come back and go after the success. We push the whole way and this is cool.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I don’t know how much pressure we put on them. The first stint was really poor – the tyres were cold and by the team they were hot they were damaged. I wasn’t confident in the car and after that, I had no problem with the medium tyres which let me feel comfortable. Sometimes we put the pressure on them (Mercedes) and we also had to keep an eye on Max who was behind. It was also good for Charles to get the fastest lap. I hope that we can continue, the last four races we were not quite there but the team is in good spirit and we have a good start – we need to chase them (Mercedes) down and we are looking forward to Barcelona and hopefully turn things around.”
There’s lots more on the way this evening so make sure you check back for the driver interviews and race feedback!