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.
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.
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.
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|
|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|
|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|
|13||47||Mick Schumacher||HAAS FERRARI||51||+14.241s|
|14||9||Nikita Mazepin||HAAS FERRARI||51||+14.315s|
|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|
|NC||18||Lance Stroll||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||29||DNF|
|NC||31||Esteban Ocon||ALPINE RENAULT||3||DNF|
* Provisional results