The Azerbaijan GP is like a steak–it (the action) is either rare or well done.
With that horrible analogy out of the way, here are the talking points from a rather action-packed weekend:
Daniel Ricciardo has allegedly signed a pre-contract with Ferrari for 2019. This rumor started around the time of the Bahrain GP, and has resurfaced, this time with more…emphasis? No concrete sources have been named, so this remains a solid rumor (for now).
Red Bull have allegedly given Ricciardo until August to sign a new contract:
Ricciardo has also promised to do something very interesting if he wins the title this year:
Over to you, Sebastian and Lewis!
He also managed to squeeze in a minor lip surgery in between races. Yes, you read it right: a lip surgery.
It’s very tempting to put the blame on the infamous shoey.
Nico Hulkenberg (and Stoffel Vandoorne) got some unexpected comedy relief when they arrived at Azerbaijan…
Vandoome sounds like a comic book villain. Move over, Thanos!
Speculation spread like wildfire about that mysterious 3rd paddle on Sebastian Vettel’s steering wheel. What did he say when asked about it?
Whether or not you are a McLaren fan, try this tricky quiz to see how geeky you are when it comes to F1:
Baku’s F1 Drivers’ Wall has become quite popular/controversial, to say the least:
Those images are sort of difficult to forget. Well done, Baku.
FOM started superimposing graphics on the halo during FP1, and fans approved:
Both Charles Leclerc and Sergey Sirotkin made it into Q2 for the 1st time this season. The Battle of the Rookies is On like Donkey Kong!
Sebastian Vettel was unimpressive in both FP1 and FP2, but managed a strong FP3 and then snatched pole during Quali. And in case you’re interested, he only needs 1 more pole to complete a set of go-kart tires from Pirelli.
The Toro Rosso teammates both had a scare during quali. It could have resulted in a horrific crash but thankfully, some fantastic reflexes from Gasly prevented any accident.
Nico Hulkenberg admitted he uses (/used?) a dating app. Apparently, half the paddock is on it, too.
There really should be a dating app exclusively for motorsport personnel and fans alike. Get on it, developers!
Meanwhile, his teammate Carlos Sainz likes rap music, and already has his very own rapper name:
Raceday: Kimi Raikkonen and Esteban Ocon clashed during the 1st lap, which ended the Frenchman’s race. Ocon was definitely not happy with Kimi and had harsh words for him:
Perhaps the most shocking, and biggest controversy of the race, was when the two Red Bulls collided, effectively ending their race and steady march to a points haul.
Adrian Newey and his notebook were not impressed.
Ricciardo and Verstappen were ordered to apologize to the whole team:
Pierre Gasly was hugely unhappy with Kevin Magnussen after they tussled during the SC restart. He branded him “the most dangerous driver I’ve ever raced with”.
Gasly and Hulkenberg should form a club of Magnussen non-admirers.
Romain Grosjean was doing so well, he quietly made up tons of places and was on his way to a points finish–that was, until he crashed behind the Safety Car.
With that crash, Grosjean now holds a stat that isn’t something to be proud of:
Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas was on his way to his (and Mercedes’) first win of the season, until he ran over some debris from previous incidents which blew up his right rear tire and led to his retirement. He was understandably crushed, and this photo spoke volumes of his heartbreak:
(Some are even saying this photo is already a strong contender for the F1 2018 Photo of the Season.)
Bottas’ teammate, and defending Champion Lewis Hamilton then went on to take the win, but before appearing for the podium ceremonies, Lewis went to see his teammate and offered his consolations. Look at him sharing his #blessedness…
Force India’s Sergio Perez also snatched a sneaky P3, despite having had a 5-second penalty earlier in the race. This was Perez’s return to the podium after nearly 2 years.
The feel-good story of the GP: Sauber’s Charles Leclerc scored the first few points of his F1 career by finishing P6, and became a Driver of the Day as well.
The Monégasque also broke a 68-year old standing record!
Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley also registered his first F1 points, thereby breaking a 42-year old standing record by a Kiwi:
The race was definitely not short on incidents. So here’s the “Reprimands! Sanctions! Penalties! No further actions!” Section:
The 2018 Azerbaijan GP summed up in a GIF:
Or, if you prefer a superquick recap, here’s the race in 60 seconds:
Four races in: three different winners, plenty of on-track action and off-track debates. 2018 is shaping up to be a nail-biting season!