Mercedes remains uncommitted over future of Valtteri Bottas

The stewards later issued Vettel a 10-second stop-go penalty for the incident, meaning the championship leader had to pit and remain stationary in the box.

Lewis Hamilton surpassed Ayrton Senna's career haul of 65 pole positions in Formula One as he edged Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas in a final lap shootout to secure top spot for Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas was involved in a second-corner collision with Kimi Raikkonen on lap one, but fought back from dead last to pip Stroll to second on the line and limit the damage for Mercedes - Stroll having the consolation of a maiden podium finish.

Vettel's front wing was changed under the red flag before the restart on lap 24.

Vettel and Hamilton may have been involved in some of that "craziness" as the title rivals shared a flash-point in the middle of the race when Vettel seemingly rammed Hamilton's auto. The damage was not big enough for major damage but incenced Vettel, who then drove alongside Hamilton, waved his right arm and drove into the side of the No.44 auto.

By then, after a great scrap with Sergio Perez, Max Verstappen was also forced to retire with an engine failure, his fourth retirement in six outings in his Red Bull.

The safety auto was deployed on Lap 12 to allow Daniil Kvyat's stricken Toro Rosso to be recovered after an engine issue, sparking the lead drivers to dive into the pits.

A second safety vehicle was called less than a lap after the race restarted due to debris, with Hamilton opting to slow the field down as it neared returning to green after nearly passing the safety auto on the first restart.

Both incidents clearly hampered Vettel and Hamilton's chances of success. Raikkonen and Perez pits. The Ferrari driver also lost a chunk of bodywork from his auto at Turn 1, prompting the stewards to throw a second safety vehicle to allow the track to be cleared. After putting in their first timed laps, all the drivers opted to stay out rather than pitting for new tires.

I guess it was the running into the back of him, but we are all grown ups we are men, emotions are running high. After the initial collision, the German gesticulated angrily with both hands as he pulled alongside his rival and hit the side of Hamilton's vehicle.

As Hamilton returned to the pit lane on lap 22, with the race suspended, he left his cockpit before examining the back of his auto.

Bottas will start from P2, as the Silver Arrows took a second front-row lockout of 2017. The guys did fantastic work and analysis last night and we made fantastic changes to the auto.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo won what will be regarded as a race for the ages following three safety vehicle periods, one red flag and a series of notable incidents. "I think he disgraced himself today", Hamilton said. "It was nice to get one auto home and on the top step so thanks to the whole team".

Kimi Raikkonen was more than one second behind Hamilton, qualifying third ahead of his Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel.

All of this saw Ricciardo move into the lead of the race, a double-pass on the Williams pair of Lance Stroll and Felipe Massa being key to his rise to P1.

Ricciardo was the big mover on the restart - which was absent of contact - to move from fifth to third ahead of both Williams drivers.

Vettel, who had claimed no wrongdoing over the team radio for the Hamilton incident, sat in his Ferrari blocks for 10 seconds but emerged ahead of an incandescent Hamilton. His race took a twist when his head rest started to come loose, forcing the Briton to try and push it back down while running at 200 miles per hour on the main straight.

  • Julie Sanders