Azerbaijan Grand Prix | Max Verstappen gets his fifth win of the season

(Paco) With Charles Leclerc’s championship chances dwindling, Max Verstappen is there to capitalize.

Updated yesterday at 2:38 PM.

Verstappen consolidated his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship by winning the Formula 1 Grand Prix for Azerbaijan, where Red Bull offered a double, while Leclerc and Ferrari did not finish the race due to an engine problem.

Leclerc started from the lead on Sunday, but immediately lost the race lead to Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Pérez, in the first corner. The Ferrari driver regained the lead with the help of a good stopping strategy as the cars were subject to a speed limit, while Red Bulls remained on the right track.

Monegasque seemed to have reached his cruising speed toward victory when his car began spitting smoke, at 20e The Grand Prix lap was set at 51. He had to get back into the pits, where he had to retire for the second time in three races.

This painful. We really have to check it out so it doesn’t happen again. I can’t find the exact words to describe how I feel, but it’s totally frustrating.

Charles Leclerc

Verstappen passed Perez a few laps before Leclerc’s troubles and raced the defending champions to his fifth win of the season, more than 20 seconds ahead of his teammate.

The victory comes a year after Verstappen appeared to be heading for victory in Baku, before one of his tires exploded and pushed him into the wall by three laps. He again ran into some trouble at the end of the course, when he warned his team that the car was reacting strangely to braking, but he managed to make it to the finish line.

“We can never take back this race from last year, but today [dimanche]We had a lot of rhythm. Verstappen explained that we were able to manage the tires well to catch up and gradually overtake to take the lead. We were also a little lucky to give up [de Leclerc]. I still think our car was very fast today and we would have closed the gap. »

George Russell, in a Mercedes, completed the podium, ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Perez, who won that race last year, said Red Bull made the right decision by asking him not to fight Verstappen, saying he struggled to manage his worn tyres.

PHOTO NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA, AFP

Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen

Ferrari had a bad day, with Carlos Sainz Jr. also unable to cross the finish line, as well as Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo and Kevin Magnussen’s Haas, both Ferrari-powered cars.

This is the first time since the 2020 Italian Grand Prix that both Ferraris have had to retire.

Ferrari’s lethargy comes at a time when Red Bull seems to have solved all of its problems. Verstappen and Pérez also had engine problems that forced them to retire in Bahrain, the first Grand Prix of the season and the first race with Red Bull engines.

21 bullet points

Verstappen is now 21 points clear at the top of the standings, ahead of Perez, while Leclerc has slipped to third, 34 points behind the Dutchman.

Seven-times champion Hamilton has complained of back pain caused by Mercedes’ tendency to porpoise at high speeds. He also had trouble getting out of the car after the race to protect his lower back.

“We will definitely be making changes,” said team principal Toto Wolff after the race.

Quebec’s Lance Stroll was unable to take Aston Martin to the finish line, but teammate Sebastian Vettel finished sixth behind Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Toure.

Fernando Alonso (Albin) had two McLarens, Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris, to finish seventh. His teammate, Esteban Ocon, completed Top 10.

“It is a shame that we had to retire from the car,” Stroll said in a statement. The engineers saw that the car had a vibration problem, so they told me to go back to the pits. We don’t know exactly what this problem is just yet, so we’ll have to work on the car over the next week.

“Sebastian has proven that our car can keep up, so let’s hope we can find the problem before the Canadian Grand Prix at home, which I’m really looking forward to participating in.”

Canadian Nicholas Latifi (Williams) concluded 15e Place, one lap from Verstappen.



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