It was redemption day in Baku for Max Verstappen, who took home his first win at Baku after a tyre failure in the penultimate stages last year saw him lose a near-certain win. While Red Bull celebrates another 1-2 finish, Ferrari is left going back to the drawing board after technical issues saw both cars retire.
The reliability issues have now seen Red Bull pull ahead in the constructors, with Perez leapfrogging Leclerc to become 2nd in the driver’s standings. Sergio Perez flags and ‘Max’ t-shirts are once again the must-have F1 merchandise.
We’re recapping everything you need to know about the Azerbaijan Grand Prix ahead of the paddock’s arrival in Montreal for the Canadian GP on Sunday.
Verstappen + Perez Race Ahead
When a driver wins a race 15 seconds ahead of the nearest car, you know they drove a dream race. For Verstappen, the race was won by lap 20 after Leclerc’s unexpected engine failure. The reigning World Champion took the remainder of the race slow and steady – driving to a delta time agreed with his race engineer.
Verstappen started P3 with his teammate, Perez, starting on the front row in P2. A contract renewal and his win in Monaco have regenerated the Mexican driver, who took the lead within the first corner.
After taking the lead, Perez struggled with his tyres during the first stint before his Dutch teammate was allowed to overtake to see off any challenge from Leclerc.
Perez’s second-place finish now puts him as Verstappen’s nearest rival for the championship with a 21-point difference and 13 points ahead of Leclerc.
Ferrari’s Nightmares Continue
While the Baku circuit was full of Leclerc Ferrari T-Shirts and Ferrari Team Caps, the Monegasque driver was left “more than frustrated” after the team’s double DNF. The weekend looked set for another Ferrari-Red Bull showdown, with Leclerc qualifying in pole position.
He briefly regained the lead after an early pit stop under the virtual safety car before a power unit issue saw him retire on lap 20. With both Ferrari drivers out of the race, Red Bull
Ferrari now sits 80 points behind Red Bull in the constructors, a mountain to climb amongst their other reliability issues. Two other Ferrari-powered cars, Magnussen’s Haas and Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo, were also forced to retire due to engine problems.
Hamilton’s Porpoising Issues
One of the main headlines from Baku was the return of Mercedes’ porpoising issue on Lewis Hamilton’s car. While George Russell claimed the title of “mr. consistency” with a third-place finish, the 7-time World Champion appeared visibly in pain when getting out of his Mercedes car after finishing 4th.
Team Principal, Toto Wolff, has raised concerns about Hamilton competing at the Canadian Grand Prix. With the British Grand Prix right around the corner, we’re hoping Sir Lewis makes a full recovery.
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Elsewhere on the Grid
Gasly had one of his best weekends of the season with a 5th-place finish, while his teammate caused one of the most dramatic moments of the race when his DRS broke and was repaired with tape. Tsunoda finished outside the points in 13th place as a result.
Vettel finished in a season’s best 6th position after his Stroll had an early retirement. Alpine and McLaren got double points finishes, with Bottas finishing outside the points in 11th. Albon finished in 12th with Schumacher and Latifi in 14th and 15th, respectively.
The paddock now travels across the pond for the Canadian Grand Prix, bringing us one step closer to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on 1st July. Get race-ready by exploring the latest F1 merchandise arrivals here.