The Azerbaijan Grand Prix wasn’t as dramatic as we’ve seen in previous seasons, but it was an amazing race and Red Bull loved it. The championship leaders took the win and extended their lead to Ferrari. Max Verstappen won the race, followed by Sergio Pérez, a very important one or two for Red Bull.
It was an unforgettable afternoon for Ferrari, with Carlos Sainz out with a hydraulic problem and Charles Leclerc out with a power unit issue. With five cars out of the race, four of the five had Italian powerplants, it was another dark weekend for Ferrari. Third place is “Mr. Consistency”. George Russell took advantage of Ferrari’s exit to finish third. A very discreet but equally efficient game. Lewis Hamilton complained of back pain, but that didn’t stop him from finishing fourth after a fine race with fifth-placed Pierre Gasly.
Sebastian Vettel finishes sixth in a great race for the German, Fernando Alonso is seventh ahead of McLaren despite mistakes The duo (Norris level from Ricciardo’s reasonable recovery and good play) and Ocon rounded out the top 10 in a race full of fighting and demanding strategy.
20 drivers lined up at the finish line for the eighth round of the F1 World Championship. Charles Leclerc started from pole and was joined by Sergio Perez, with Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz in the second row. George Russell and Pierre Gasly are in the third row. The heat felt at the start will be one of the factors to consider in this race, the rubber is more affected in these conditions.
All cars in the top 10 had medium tires selected. Throughout the race, only Daniel Ricciardo, Esteban Ocon, Valtteri Bottas, Lance Stroll and Mick Schumacher started the race on hard tyres and tried different strategy, the first stop is long, waiting for the safety car to move them to the ascending position.
Charles Leclerc got off to a good start but missed going into Turn 1 and saw a better start Sergio Pérez move into the lead of the race. Leclerc managed to hold on to second place under pressure from Max Verstappen, with Carlos Sainz slightly behind under pressure from George Russell and Pierre Gasly. Perez had the right to pass second on the first lap. At the start, Sebastian Vettel took eighth from Yuki Tsunoda and Alex Albon took two (15th). ), while Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas lost their places and Nicholas Latifi was also given a 10-second penalty. Stop & Go violation in start-up procedure (mechanic touching car after allotted time).
On the 3rd lap, DRS started and Verstappen started to attack Leclerc. Further back, Daniel Ricciardo was attacking Lando Norris for 11th, but Norris was on medium tires and Ricciardo was on It’s a hard tire.
With the help of DRS, Verstappen came dangerously close to Leclerc, while Carlos Sainz was left behind. On lap 5, Perez was already 2.5 seconds ahead of the duo. Leclerc resisted pressure from Verstappen and managed to get close to Perez in a solo fight without Sainz’s help. George Russell remains fifth, with some advantages over Pierre Gasly, who is defending his own Lewis Hamilton.
Ferrari’s race took a turn for the worse, as Sainz appeared to stop at the exit of Turn 4, prompting a virtual safety car. Charles Leclerc took the opportunity to enter the pits and put on hard tyres, George Russell, Pierre Gasly, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Yukada Ji is the same. Pérez remained on track, followed by Verstappen, both still on medium tires.
At the end of the virtual safety car, the order is Pérez, Verstappen, Leclerc, Russell. Alonso, Norris, Ricciardo, Gasly, Ocon and Vettel.
With Leclerc 15 seconds behind Verstappen, Ferrari had to choose whether to pick up the pace or try to keep the tires running to the end of the race.
Sebastian Vettel was the loser in the race against Ocon as the error failed to brake at Turn 3 and only lost two positions. It was Hamilton’s turn to press Ocon.
Up front, Verstappen was close to Pérez, and on lap 15 car No. 1 took the lead. Leclerc was pushing and betting on a two-race strategy, and in four laps he got six seconds from Verstappen, who responded to Leclerc’s challenge to gain three seconds in just one lap.
On lap 17, Perez came on for hard tires and the pit stop was a bit long. Leclerc finished second and Perez had to fend off Russell. A little further back, Lando Norris started to press Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo was watching what was going on, and Gasly was nearby. After a few laps, Alonso stopped and dropped to 15th.
On lap 18 Hamilton managed to pass Ocon for ninth and is now trying to catch Gasly. On the next lap, Verstappen stopped to change to hard tyres and handed the lead to Leclerc. The gap between Leclerc and Verstappen is now 13 seconds.
The fight for fifth intensified, with Ricciardo pressing Norris, but the Australian did not appear to be allowed to attack his team-mate.
But on lap 20, tragedy struck Ferrari. Charles Leclerc’s engine stalled and the Monaco was out of the race. Red Bull won easily and Russell was promoted to third. Lando Norris stopped at that point and Ricciardo finished fourth but was pressured by Gasly. The French beat Ricardo.
Zhou Guanyu, who was also forced to withdraw from the race due to engine unit problems, gave up 10th in what was a very smooth race for the Chinese. At that point, Vettel returned to attack Ocon, which was successful on the next lap.
On lap 25, halfway through the race, the top 10 were Verstappen, Perez, Russell, Gasly, Ricciardo (not yet stopped), Hamilton, Kakuda, Vettel, Ocon (not yet stopped) stop) and Magnussen. Hamilton passed Ricciardo on the next lap for fifth. Alonso came at breakneck speed and tried to pass Magnussen and Ocon in two laps to get back in the standings. Hamilton complained of back pain in the Dolphins, a condition that may have plagued George Russell, who was isolated in third place.
Up front, Verstappen leads at will, he is the fastest two on the track, nearly 10 seconds ahead of Perez, who is 18 seconds ahead of Russell, who is in turn 21 seconds ahead of Gasly.
On lap 33, Magnussen’s Haas showed up on the track and another car with a Ferrari power unit came to a stop, prompting another virtual safety car. Red Bull took the opportunity to replace the tyres on both single-seaters, preserving the seats and ensuring the integrity of the tyres until the end of the race. Russell also prevailed, as did Gasley and Hamilton. Ricciardo also stopped, put on medium tyres and entered the track in ninth place, ahead of his team-mate. Alpha Tauri stayed on track and didn’t use the VSC to change tires like Vettel did.
Hamilton dispatched Kakuda on lap 36 (one lap after the VSC) and finished fifth. But the Japanese had a problem with the rear wing, which snapped in half, forcing driver number 22 out of the race. But the team decided to tape the flanks and the Japanese fell out of the scoring spot.
With ten laps to go, Verstappen was ordered not to use DRS, Lewis Hamilton was attacking Gasly, the Briton forgot the pain and tried to finish fourth, which he did on lap 44.
McLaren used team orders to have Ricciardo attack Alonso for seventh and Norris waited to see what Ricciardo would do. Norris was a little disturbed by the team’s decision to keep those places, as he believes he has made more progress than Ricciardo. Lance Stroll was forced to withdraw due to very strong vibrations.
In the end, Verstappen crossed the line first, followed by Perez and Russell. Hamilton finished fourth, visibly limited when he got off, with back pain (next week in Canada) and Pierre Gasly fifth. They were followed by Vettel (great game, but could have been better without that mistake), Alonso (great defence at the end), Ricciardo (great self-motivation), Norris (play Somewhat upset at the end) and Esteban Ocon.