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Incredible Sergio Perez wins dramatic Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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The Azerbaijan Grand Prix threw in late plot twists to spice up an already entertaining day of racing with Sergio Perez the chief benefactor of the chaos.

It seemed Perez’ Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen would extend his world championship lead until the Dutchman crashed out from the lead with five laps to go.

Verstappen wouldn’t lose ground to Lewis Hamilton, as the reigning world champion locked up on the penultimate lap to finish 16th in a hugely dramatic race through the streets of Baku.

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Leclerc lead didn’t last

Charles Leclerc led away from pole, but he was passed for the lead by Lewis Hamilton with no need for DRS, so strong was the tow, on the second lap of the race. Verstappen then swept past the Ferrari man on Lap 7. Perez following suit soon after.

Hamilton tried to ndercut the chasing Red Bull’s but his 12th lap stop for hards was far from smooth with traffic in the pit lane costing him time, Both Verstappen and Perez would manage quicker stops and come out ahead of the Mercedes.

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Red Bull took control after a tricky restart in the wake of the safety car deployed following Lance Stroll’s terrifying accident, when the Aston Martin driver’s left-rear tyre appeared to gave way on the pit straight.

Verstappen inexplicably crashed from the lead on Lap 47, spinning after after an apparent tyre issue of his own which saw him put the car into the wall. That crash also triggered the Safety Car, which turned into a red flag that suspended the race on Lap 48. 

Sprint finish to Azerbaijan Grand Prix

The race resumed with a standing start 35 minutes later on Lap 50, giving us two laps of flat-out action, the field all having switched tyres during the stoppage.

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Perez would lead Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Pierre Gasly and Leclerc off the line for the re-start. Hamilton got away well, his nose seemingly ahead of Perez’s, but the Briton locked-up heavily and went into the Turn 1 run-off. He finished 16th, leaving Perez in the lead, Vettel second and Gasly – having held off a charging Leclerc in the final laps – to take the final podium place.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix results

1 11 Sergio Perez RED BULL RACING HONDA 51 3:33.686 25
2 5 Sebastian Vettel ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES 51 +1.385s 18
3 10 Pierre Gasly ALPHATAURI HONDA 51 +2.762s 15
4 16 Charles Leclerc FERRARI 51 +3.828s 12
5 4 Lando Norris MCLAREN MERCEDES 51 +4.754s 10
6 14 Fernando Alonso ALPINE RENAULT 51 +6.382s 8
7 22 Yuki Tsunoda ALPHATAURI HONDA 51 +6.624s 6
8 55 Carlos Sainz FERRARI 51 +7.709s 4
9 3 Daniel Ricciardo MCLAREN MERCEDES 51 +8.874s 2
10 7 Kimi Räikkönen ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 51 +9.576s 1
11 99 Antonio Giovinazzi ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 51 +10.254s
12 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 51 +11.264s
13 47 Mick Schumacher HAAS FERRARI 51 +14.241s
14 9 Nikita Mazepin HAAS FERRARI 51 +14.315s
15 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 51 +17.668s
16 6 Nicholas Latifi WILLIAMS MERCEDES 51 +42.379s
17 63 George Russell WILLIAMS MERCEDES 48 DNF
18 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING HONDA 45 DNF

* Provisional results

Watch race highlights here

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