Vettel penalised after swerving into Hamilton under safety vehicle

But this is the first time they have been main rivals for the title, and the pressure is showing.

Hamilton's Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas finished second after overcoming a first-lap collision with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, while Canadian teenager Lance Stroll was third for his first podium after being pipped on the line by Bottas.

Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland, left, steers his auto in front of teammate Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany at the start of the Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan, Sunday, June 25, 2017.

Hamilton appears to brake causing the German's Ferrari to bash into the back of him.

At about the same time, the safety vehicle came out for the first time because Daniil Kvyat's Toro Rosso was stalled on the side of the track.

Vettel and Hamilton fought their way through to fourth and fifth at the chequered flag, separated by just 0.2 seconds at the line.

At the appointed time the cars made the formation lap, the lights went out and the race began with Hamilton taking the lead over Bottas, Raikkonen and Vettel. Frustrated, Vettel pulled up alongside Hamilton and then ran into the side of him. Raikkonen and Perez pits.

Sainz spins. Out of the second corner Bottas touches Raikkonen and both cars have damage.

A dramatic first half of the race saw three Saftey Car periods in quick succession and it was on the second of these that the contact between the championship leaders happened.

I guess it was the running into the back of him, but we are all grown ups we are men, emotions are running high.

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After expressing a few gestures Vettel inexplicably swung straight into the side of Hamilton which resulted in the the race being delayed again for the track to be cleared of debris.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo won what will be regarded as a race for the ages following three safety auto periods, one red flag and a series of notable incidents. Vettel's Ferrari sustained front wing damage and complained: "He just brake tested me!" "It was nice to get one vehicle home and on the top step so thanks to the whole team".

Mercedes AMG's Lewis Hamilton continued to rewrite Formula One history Saturday, when he qualified on-pole for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at the expense of boyhood hero Ayrton Senna. "We want to race wheel to wheel". Unable to clip it back in fully, Hamilton was left to try and manage it as best he could to keep the head protection in place.

Later, Hamilton was forced into an unscheduled pit-stop amid safety concerns over a malfunctioning headrest.

Up ahead, Hamilton asked over the radio where Bottas was, perhaps concerned his teammate would not be able to protect him from Vettel later in the race.

Vettel was handed a 10 second stop/go penalty but the Brit driver was not satisfied with the punishment.

It was an extraordinary performance from Stroll, the son of a billionaire, who faced heavy criticism earlier in the season.

Magnussen was powerless to stop the Mercedes-powered cars from passing, with Bottas also overhauling Ocon to take third. By doing so, Vettel would still remain No. 1 on the FIA World Championship table regardless of Hamilton's potential victory in Baku.

"The 2017 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix has been organized very well", he added.

The Aussie headed home Valtteri Bottas and Williams rookie Lance Stroll, the latter picking up a maiden podium just two weeks on after scoring his first points in F1 with a ninth-place finish in Montreal.

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