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F1: Valtteri Bottas wins Azerbaijan Grand Prix from pole

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Once again, it was a Mercedes one-two finish in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with Valtteri Bottas taking the checkered flag first, followed by Lewis Hamilton.

For Bottas, Sunday’s victory was the fifth of his career and his second victory of 2019, having previously won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Bottas leaves Baku once again atop of the points standings, leading Hamilton by one point.

“It was a tough race even though maybe not that much happening at the front,” Bottas said following the race.

“Lewis was putting pressure on me all the time – I was happy to see the checkered flag and take this first place.”

Sebastian Vettel would finish the race in third, with Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, who picked up a bonus point for setting the fastest lap in the race, finishing fifth.

Sergio Perez would finish in a respectable sixth place for Racing Point, with the McLaren duo of Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris. Lance Stroll was the final driver to finish on the lead lap, finishing ninth.

Four drivers in total would retire from the race, with Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat both retiring after a bizarre incident which occurred in turn 3 on the 32nd lap.

Ricciardo locked up entering the corner, with Kvyat pulling to a stop behind Ricciardo in attempt to avoid hitting the Renault driver. Riccardo, desperately looking to quickly return to the racing surface, immediately put his car into reverse, hitting Kvyat’s Torro Rosso entry.

Pierre Gasly was also among the drivers who would retire. The Frenchman was running in sixth on lap 40 when his Red Bull Racing machine pulled off to the side of the track after losing power, bringing out the Virtual Safety Car.

Green flag racing would resume shortly, with Hamilton within striking distance of Bottas. However, the defending World Champion would be unable to take the lead with only 10 laps remaining.

“Congratulations to Valtteri. He drove really well and made no mistakes,” Hamilton said following the race.

“This has to be the best start to a season that this team has ever had, and I’m grateful to be part of it.”

Full results are below. The next race of the 2019 Formula One World Championship is the Spanish Grand Prix on May 12.

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Wickens undergoes successful surgery

NBC Sports
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Just days after successfully piloting an Acura NSX around Toronto’s Exhibition Palace street course, Robert Wickens has undergone a successful surgery operation to remove hardware from his leg after a previous infection had returned, the 30-year-old Canadian revealed on social media Wednesday.

“Spinal Cord injury has such highs and lows,” Wickens said in an Instagram post prior to surgery. “One day I’m in the NSX driving the hand controlled car, and the next day I’m getting ready for surgery. Life is so unpredictable!”

Fortunately, the surgery went well for Wickens, as he later announced that his surgery had no complications. Wickens will now start six weeks of IV antibiotics before he returns to a full rehab program.

“One piece (there’s a lot) of the hardware had an infected screw,” Wickens wrote. “All hardware in my leg was removed.”

Wickens is currently recovering from spinal fracture sustained in an IndyCar crash at Pocono Raceway last August. Since his crash and diagnosis, Wickens has openly documented his recovery process through social media.

Wickens returned to the INDYCAR paddock for the first time since his accident at the season-opener in St. Petersburg in March, and his laps behind the wheel in Toronto last weekend marked the first time he had driven in public since his accident.

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