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Record-breaker Stroll realises Formula One dream

26 June 2017

The 8th leg of the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship - the Azerbaijan Grand Prix - started Friday in Baku.

Valtteri Bottas snatched second place from Williams' Lance Stroll in the final straight, as Vettel finished fourth ahead of Hamilton to extend his championship lead to 14 points.

The fact Ricciardo won from 10th on the grid, and that Bottas clawed his way back from last following an early incident, summed up a freaky race.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo on his way to victory in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Vettel immediately responded by appearing to deliberately pull up alongside Hamilton and turn into the Briton, although both drivers were able to continue. "Deliberately driving into another driver and getting away pretty much scot-free as he still came fourth, I think that's a disgrace". I think it was completely his fault, so... nothing.

Red Bull Racing celebrate Daniel Ricciardo win in Azerbaijan.

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But it is Hamilton's clash with Vettel which will be the main talking point after the Ferrari driver was hit with a penalty for colliding twice with the Briton. "What the f-- is going on?"

Following a 20-minute red-flag stoppage, Stroll found himself in fourth when Williams teammate Felipe Massa retired with a broken rear damper.

The safety auto came out three times in quick succession before a red flag stopped the race on lap 22 of 51 because debris littered the track.

The Brit was forced to pit by race control to change his headrest which had come loose and was a safety issue.

Shortly before that, the Hamilton-Vettel incident occurred.

Vettel was penalised by the race stewards. "After the incident, we were side by side, I raised my hand and told him, well I didn't say anything, but showed him that I wasn't happy with that".

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The race was just about to start again when race control called for the safety auto to stay out, because of debris from Raikkonen's vehicle.

Stroll dedicated his podium finish to his Williams team, admitting the result was a big relief after enduring a hard start to life in F1.

That first podium included a "shoey" with Ricciardo, although the Canadian seemed to far from relish the idea of drinking from the Australian's sweaty boot. Then he passed the shoe to Stroll, who - barely old enough to drink - took a swig of bubbly mixed with sweat.

Stroll obliged though after claiming it would "scar him for life".

Vettel reacted incredulously when he learned of the 10-second penalty on lap 32, while Hamilton, whose hopes of victory were later ended when he had to pit due to a loose head rest, complained over his radio that the sanction was insufficient.

After scoring points in two consecutive races, including a commendable ninth place at the Canadian GP two weeks ago, the criticism will probably stop.

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The England centre was close to forcing his way onto the bench for Saturday's 30-15 first Test defeat to New Zealand in Auckland. A huge one to play for next week. "We were being put under pressure by a seriously good side but we have to be more clinical".

Record-breaker Stroll realises Formula One dream