Azerbaijan GP red-flagged after three consecutive safety car periods

The red flag flies after three consecutive safety car periods in Azerbaijan. (Photo: Zak Mauger/LAT Images)
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The opening 12 laps of Sunday’s Azerbaijan GP were run incident-free. The next 10 laps featured three Safety Car periods.

The first was deployed when the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat stopped on track with a mechanical issue. The leaders all came into the pits to change tires while the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas was waved around the pace car after dropping a lap back early on.

The race was restarted and, thanks to the lengthy frontstraight, there were some frantic battles entering the first turn as Sebastian Vettel and Sergio Perez went side-by-side for second while there was a three-wide situation between Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa and Esteban Ocon for fourth.

There was contact made in the three-wide situation and debris flew off of the front wing of Kimi Raikkonen bringing out a second safety car period.

Under the safety car, there was drama up front as Sebastian Vettel ran into the back of race-leader Lewis Hamilton. Frustrated, Vettel pulled up alongside Hamilton and then ran into the side of him. Vettel was handed a 10-second stop-go penalty.

The race was restarted after a couple more laps and Hamilton led the field away while Perez, Vettel and Massa went three-abreast for second. Perez came off worse and then dropped back where he was then forced into the wall by his teammate Esteban Ocon. Raikkonen also sustained damage in the incident and the safety car was deployed again.

Ocon, Raikkonen and Perez all had to pit for repairs.

Due to the amount of debris on track, the red flag flew and brought all the cars into the pits after 22 laps.