Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport Technical Director James Allison was in mixed spirits following a tumultuous Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where the team took their first win of the season.
Mercedes qualified second and third on the grid, though by the time of the end of the second safety car – and with four laps to go – had drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton in first and third. Hamilton was then almost immediately promoted to second after the restart, when former second-place man Sebastian Vettel made a mistake lunging for first and found himself down to fourth.
It looked like Mercedes were on for their first win – and first one-two finish – of the season however, as the race entered its forty-ninth lap, Bottas ran over debris, puncturing his rear-right tyre and handing his fourth career win to team-mate Hamilton.
Reflecting on the race Allison revealed some relief at making amends for missed opportunities earlier in the season, and praised the hard work from all members of the team – particularly strategists – over the weekend.
“After three races where we had opportunities to win that we did not take, it’s great to have victory come our way this afternoon in Baku.
“I am as pleased for Lewis as I am sad for Valtteri after the race. Both drivers delivered fine performances but it was a cruel blow to have the prospect of a one-two finish dangled in front of us and then whisked away at the last when Valtteri drove over some debris following the Safety Car period. That’s two races running where he has deserved a much better outcome and I am confident it will come for him in the future.
“For Lewis, this was perhaps not the kind of swashbuckling victory he relishes but it nonetheless represents a measure of compensation for some of his misfortune in earlier races this season.
“On the operational side, the entire team performed well to recover from a difficult Friday and secure solid grid positions which were the foundations for today’s races. We delivered quick pit stops and excellent strategy decisions, all of which keep us in the game as we work to improve the car, in what is shaping up to be a dramatic and very memorable season.”