F1 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Weekend Awards

After another thrilling race in Baku, we take a lighter look at the weekend's events with RealSport's weekend awards.


(Photo credit: REUTERS/DAVID MDZINARISHVILI)

Driver of the weekend

Sergio Perez’s third place finish saw him become the most successful Mexican in F1 history in terms of podiums in his uncompetitive Force India, Lance Stroll picked up Williams’ first points this season in eighth while Carlos Sainz got an excellent fifth in the Renault. All contenders but none of those pick up this award which instead goes to Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque driver had an awesome weekend in Formula 2 last year in Baku, finishing first and second in the two races, but nobody saw this coming.

The Sauber is well-documented as being one of Formula 1’s slowest cars but that didn’t stop the Ferrari youngster from bringing home his racer in sixth place. Those eight points are huge for the Swiss team and mark their best finish since Australia in 2015. Not only that, but Leclerc is now on the board with his first points in his debut F1 season. It’ll be his first of many if he keeps up this form.

Egg on face trophy

(Photo credit: REUTERS/DAVID MDZINARISHVILI)

While there were many good performers throughout the field, there was also some who didn't have the best time around Azerbaijan's tight and twisty streets. The Red Bulls taking each other out and Nico Hulkenberg crashing out of nowhere for the second year in a row were both strong contenders, but only one man could take this award home. Romain Grosjean had to start last after not being able to take part in qualifying and was running an excellent sixth when the safety car came out late in the race. 

The Haas driver was well-placed for good points haul before the race restarted, but was caught out by the cold track temperatures at low speed. While heating his tyres, he put too much lock on the steering wheel and smashed into the barriers just after the infamous castle section. An unbelievable mistake to make and he's now the only man in F1 apart from Sergey Sirotkin to still be on 0 points after the first four rounds. 


Lazarus award

(Photo credit: REUTERS/DAVID MDZINARISHVILI)

The Lazarus Award is given to the driver who figuratively came back from the dead and Grosjean looked dead-set to win this one until his late crash. The winner, though, was the coolest driver in Formula 1, Kimi Raikkonen. After a mistake in qualifying put him sixth on the grid Sunday's race, things went from bad to worse when the Ferrari man was caught up in the first lap melee and was forced to pit for repairs. The Finn was frustrated but climbed the field on tyres that had to last the rest of the race. Having to conserve his rubber, Kimi was running in no-man's-land in sixth place, faster than the midfield behind him but slower than the Red Bulls ahead of him. 

However, the second safety car changed everything, erasing the gap between Raikkonen and the leading trio and leave them level-pegging in terms of tyre wear. Vettel's mistake and Bottas' puncture meant that the oldest driver on the grid got yet another podium when the chequered flag waved. Second place in that Ferrari car isn't too much of an impressive achievement in isolation, but he was well over 30 seconds off the lead at one point and this was a much-needed result for the 2007 World Champion.

Gerrard trophy

(Photo credit: REUTERS/DAVID MDZINARISHVILI)

The Gerrard Trophy is awarded to the driver that had a good result in the palm of his hand, but embarrassingly slipped when it matters the most. All the Egg on Face nominees could've picked up this dishonourable award, but it's Sebastian Vettel who will take this one home. The German had the race in the palm of his hand, driving excellently while everybody behind him struggled in the cold and windy conditions out on track. Vettel stopped mid-way through the race and looked destined to win once Valtteri Bottas stopped for tyres. The Mercedes driver, though, did a mammoth stint on the supers and his patience payed off when the Safety Car was brought out for the stricken Red Bulls and the Finn emerged in the lead. 

When the race eventually got underway, just a few laps remained for the then-championship leader to take the lead back. He wasted no time, picking up the slipstream on Baku's the seemingly endless start-finish straight and lunging down the inside. He misjudged his braking point, turning his front tyres into 50 pence pieces in the process and losing three places. It was uncharacteristic and even worse given Bottas' puncture just a lap later. He threw the win away, and that was a mistake that could cost him his chance of winning a fifth world championship as Lewis Hamilton now leads in the standings.

Who gets your weekend award? Let us know in the comments below. 

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George Howson

23-year-old F1 & Football fanatic from Yorkshire who tells it as it is. Outside of writing, I'm a photographer, podcaster and Engineering graduate.

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