A bounty of aggressiveness prematurely ended the day for many in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix Sunday at Baku City Circuit, but cooler heads prevailed for Haas F1 Team. Kevin Magnussen delivered a strong seventh-place finish after starting 12th to notch Haas F1 Team’s sixth point-paying effort of the season and its fourth straight. Teammate Romain Grosjean finished 13th after starting 16th.
The six accompanying points boosted Haas F1 Team to seventh in the constructors standings with 21 points, giving the American squad a three-point margin over eighth-place Renault. Sixth-place Toro Rosso is 12 points ahead. The six points also provided Haas F1 Team another milestone in its still young history with a total of 50 points earned since its debut in the 2016 Australian Grand Prix.
From the onset of the 51-lap race around the 6.003-kilometer (3.730-mile), 20-turn Baku City Circuit, drivers were bouncing off one another and the walls. And the contact was throughout the field, with dustups between the front-running Mercedes and Scuderia Ferrari drivers, intrasquad battles amongst Force India and Sauber, along with a host of mechanical issues – some self-inflicted – that created a topsy-turvy race before reaching its halfway mark.
A red flag after 22 laps to clean the entire track of the numerous bits of broken carbon fiber was a gift to Magnussen and Grosjean. The two drivers had worked their way up to seventh and 10th, respectively, and the red flag effectively gave them a free pit stop. New Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tires were bolted onto each of their Haas VF-17s, allowing both to go the distance without needing to pit again.
When the race went back to green, Magnussen took full advantage of his fresh tires, simultaneously passing the Williams of Felipe Massa and the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg in turn one to take fifth.
Then, front-runners Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel had to pit. Hamilton needed his headrest reattached to his Mercedes and Vettel had to serve a 10-second penalty for turning his Ferrari into Hamilton during a previous Safety Car period. This bumped Magnussen up to third.
Magnussen held onto third until lap 38 when he was caught by the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and the Force India of Esteban Ocon, dropping him to fifth. A lap later, Vettel and Hamilton came upon Magnussen, jettisoning him to seventh. But with a healthy gap over the eighth-place Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr., Magnussen maintained his position through the finish.
Grosjean, meanwhile, was forced to pit on lap 37 to investigate a left-front disc issue. He was able to return to the race, but the lost track position was too much to overcome. In 13th, he was the last driver running at the finish.
Winning the eighth round of the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship was Daniel Ricciardo. The Red Bull driver won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after starting 10th. It was Ricciardo’s fifth career Formula One victory, his first of the season and his first at Baku City Circuit. Ricciardo’s winning margin was a stout 3.904 seconds over runner-up Bottas.
The championship battle between Vettel and Hamilton remains tight, with Vettel picking up two points on Hamilton to earn a 14-point advantage.
Magnussen and Grosjean are 13th and 14th, respectively, in the driver standings. Magnussen has 11 points and Grosjean has 10.
Formula One takes a weekend off before returning to action July 7-9 for the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.