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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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Report: Spencer Pigot out at Ed Carpenter Racing

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Spencer Pigot will not return to Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020, according to a story Thursday by RACER.com.

The 26-year-old Floridian, who won the 2015 Indy Lights championship, is expected to be replaced in the No. 21 Chevrolet by 2019 Indy Lights runner-up Rinus VeeKay.

“I’m appreciative of the opportunity ECR gave me,” Pigot told RACER.com. “I understand the reasons they had to go in a different direction, and wish them all the best.”

In 56 NTT IndyCar Series starts, Pigot has 15 top 10 finishes, with a best finish of second at Iowa in 2018. He finished 14th in the 2019 point standings.

VeeKay, who tested in an Indy car twice for ECR in 2019, has six wins in 18 Indy Lights starts, including a weekend sweep of the final two rounds of the season at Laguna Seca in September.

A representative from ECR told NBC Sports Thursday that the team currently could not comment on any driver rumors as the team currently does not have any drivers under contract for the 2020 season, although it is presumed that owner/driver Carpenter will return to the No. 20 entry for the oval rounds.

NBC Sports will provide updates on the story once more information becomes available.