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Adam Barton

A Formula One fan since he was six, back while Häkkinen and Schumacher were having many an epic battle, Adam has seen a great deal. From German domination (twice), to British determination (once) and a Spanish invasion. A near compulsive fan who one day hopes to write about the sport for a living, outside of F1 Adam also authors his own blog One Guy's Opinion.

Driving it like he Stroll it // Lance Stroll comes of age with maiden podium

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Where do you start with this one? What a race! The championship rivals went head to head in Azerbaijan and then came to blows at crawling pace. Hamilton was robbed of victory by his headrest and there were enough collisions to fill up half a demolition derby. The first two drivers on the podium came from the back and some midfield runners secured landmark results while others flat out threw away chances of points.

Lance Stroll(s) to first podium

Lance Stroll, Williams Martini Racing: Started 8th, Finished 10th

Lance Stroll, Williams Martini Racing: Started 8th, Finished 10th
Credit: Glenn Dunbar/Williams

Let the Lance Stroll puns commence, but to be fair the young Canadian was one of just three drivers who didn’t appear to make an error during Sunday’s chaotic race. Stroll was near flawless in a race that highlighted his potential, even if he did score a better result through high attrition up front.

Finally Stroll is getting the rub of the green and after a couple of teachable moments as a rookie, the results are starting to come. Stroll was beaten by Massa in Q1 but in Q2 he beat his senior teammate by half a second, making Q3 by nine tenths. In Q3, the margins were smaller but Stroll was still able to pip Massa, qualifying eighth behind the Force Indias.

At the start, Stroll managed to avoid the dodgems up front and maintained eighth, albeit losing out to Massa. When the safety car came out to recover Kvyat’s car, Stroll stayed out an extra lap as Williams tried to split their strategies. Once he pitted, he maintained position on track, having already gained from Verstappen’s retirement. The next restart was when Williams made their move, as youngster Stroll avoided the carnage to gain positions from the damaged Räikkönen and the Force Indias. Suddenly Stroll was fourth and a good backup for his teammate.

The Red Bull’s pace was just too strong to go for the win and as Stroll’s tyres faded, he fell into the clutches of Bottas

After the red flag restart, it was as if the bad luck floated from one side of the Williams garage to the other as Felipe Massa’s damper failed. Regardless, the changing of the guard happened, with Stroll breezing past Massa before Ricciardo beat the Canadian to the turn one apex, a move that ended up being for the effective race lead. From this point, I don’t think Stroll could believe his luck. He was sat in fourth and suddenly Hamilton had to make an extra stop to fix his headrest and almost simultaneously Sebastian Vettel was given a slap on the wrist for using his car as a weapon. Stroll was second and within reach of a maiden win. Unfortunately, the Red Bull’s pace was just too strong to go for the win and as Stroll’s tyres faded, he fell into the clutches of Bottas, who had just enough time (and distance) to beat Stroll across the line by a tenth of a second.

Despite the last gasp disappointment, Stroll can hold his head high and hopefully this is a platform for him to graduate into Williams’ future number one driver.

Ricciardo has something to smile about

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing: Started 10th, Finished 1st

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing: Started 10th, Finished 1st
Credit: Clive Rose/Getty

Street circuits don’t normally allow drivers to win from tenth. Especially when you drop to 17th in the early stages. The second flawless driver on Sunday was the unlikely winner Daniel Ricciardo. The Aussie did make an error on Saturday, which made his race more challenging, although it may have kept him out of the lap one chaos.

After hitting the wall in Q3 and qualifying tenth, Ricciardo held firm at the start, gaining Bottas' position as the Finn limped back to the pits. While Verstappen looked like Red Bull’s best hopes in Baku, Ricciardo appeared to be a lost cause by lap six as he was forced to pit early to clear debris from Valtteri Bottas’ car from his brake ducts. With that pair in 17th and 19th, what odds would you have got on them finishing first and second?

If anything, it taught you to treat the race like the Indy 500, have your issues early and come strong late on. By the first safety car, Ricciardo was 11th – in fairness his 17th was a bit false as his issue just meant he was the first to stop. As everyone stopped early to make the most of the safety car, it saved the Aussie time passing the slower cars. Now he could focus on scoring points. He benefitted from Verstappen’s retirement before passing Magnussen for ninth.

It was a stunning move that put Ricciardo on the podium and one that put him in position to win

Then, much like Stroll, Ricciardo cashed in on the next restart, leaping up to fifth past Hülkenberg, Räikkönen, Pérez and Ocon. Now Ricciardo was within range of a podium if he could pass the two Williams. The red flag restart saw Ricciardo make up three places, past Massa, Hülkenberg (who only passed him over the line) and crucially, Lance Stroll. It was a stunning move that put Ricciardo on the podium and one that put him in position to win as Hamilton and Vettel made their extra stops.

Suddenly the unlikeliest of comebacks was complete. Without a prayer on the grid, Ricciardo was leading and within sight of victory. He showed all his experience as he eked out a lead on Stroll, giving himself a comfortable cushion and could manage the car home for an incredible sixth victory.

Kevin’s Mag-nificent display

Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team: Started 13th, Finished 7th

The final driver to maximise their points haul was the result of a great drive from Kevin Magnussen. The Dane deserves credit if only for keeping the Haas on the road as the team’s brake problems hit peak level in the heat of Azerbaijan, with several heavy braking zones.

Magnussen’s drive on Sunday was commendable, qualifying 13th, beating his teammate by four tenths in Q1 and then easily beating Hülkenberg and Wehrlein in Q2. With Sainz’s grid penalty, Magnussen jumped past Kvyat at the start.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team: Started 13th, Finished 7th
Credit: Haas F1 Team

Haas showed good pace and Magnussen was comfortable in the final 13 laps, pacing himself as he opened a gap to successor Alonso and then Sainz

Next up for Magnussen were the Red Bulls as they retired and pitted. Ricciardo got back past on lap 16 but then Magnussen started to fly towards the front as his rivals fell away. In such a crazy race, it was key for midfield teams to maximise opportunities, especially as nine of the ten teams scored points. The Force India chaos saw Magnussen up to seventh, before Massa hit trouble and Hülkenberg hit the wall. The Dane was suddenly fifth, and then third as the championship contenders pitted a second time. Surely Haas couldn’t hold on for a maiden podium as a team, Magnussen’s second in his career?

Sadly, Haas didn’t quite have the pace to fight at the front and after a couple of laps Ocon was able to get past before the recovering Mercedes’ and Vettel came charging through. Magnussen dropped from third to seventh in just two laps. That said, with the big boys past, Haas showed good pace and Magnussen was comfortable in the final 13 laps, pacing himself as he opened a gap to successor Alonso and then Sainz, giving Haas a great result as a team, doubling Magnussen's personal championship tally, as well as jumping Romain Grosjean, and moving Haas up past Renault, the only team not to score, in the constructors’.

It was good work from Magnussen in a drive that will likely be overlooked but will raise spirits at Haas, though they’ll likely struggle in Austria.