Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo won a chaotic Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday, with Formula One championship leader Sebastian Vettel finishing fourth after being penalized for swerving into rival Lewis Hamilton who finished fifth.
Ferrari's Vettel, who seemed infuriated with Hamilton after the British driver slowed on the exit of Turn 15 under safety car conditions after a red-flag stoppage, collided with the triple F1 champion's Mercedes and was slapped with a 10-second stop-go penalty. As a result, he dropped from second to ninth.
Hamilton, who started on pole, was denied the opportunity to prevent Vettel from extending his championship advantage when he was forced to cede his lead after pitting due to a loose head restraint.
Australian Ricciardo's victory was his first since he won the Malaysian Grand Prix last year.
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas overtook 18-year-old Canadian Lance Stroll's Williams in the closing meters to take second place and complete a remarkable race, but Stroll was still overjoyed after completing his best ever finish position in Formula One - and his first podium. The rookie's previous best finish was ninth in Canada two weeks ago.
In a stop-start race, the safety car came out three times in quick succession before a red flag stopped the race near the midway point because debris littered the track.
Shortly before that, Hamilton and Vettel were involved in an incident that threatens to sour their good relations. The Briton appeared to stop his car right in front of Vettel, causing Vettel to collide into him. An irate Vettel then accelerated alongside Hamilton and appeared to deliberately swerve back into him.
The pair battled it back up the field before they ran out of laps. Vettel now leads Hamilton by 14 points, and all eyes will be on the Austrian GP on July 9 to see whether the two clash again in the race for the Formula One Championship.
mds/jh (AFP, Reuters)
Azerbaijan Grand Prix as it happened: