Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (1/3 – Divers’ Championship Outright) claimed victory at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday, as reliability woes once again cost Ferrari in Baku.
Reigning world champion Verstappen led home a Red Bull one-two at Baku City Circuit, as team-mate Sergio Perez (12/1) came in second, that after engine issues had forced Ferrari pair Carlos Sainz (125/1) and Charles Leclerc (10/3) to retire early in the race – the latter while he was leading.
For Verstappen, it is his fifth race victory of the season and first ever at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, as he extended his lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship standings to 21 points, with Perez now his nearest rival after the Mexican moved ahead of Leclerc.
Verstappen was certainly happy with his afternoon’s work, although he conceded his team were fortunate to benefit from the retirements of both Ferrari cars (Red Bull 3/10, Ferrari 5/2 – Constructors’ Championship Outright).
“Maybe a tiny bit lucky with the retirement but nevertheless our car was really quick today to close that gap then you have a race on your hands,” Verstappen told reporters.
“Overall, really happy with the balance of the car today.”
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It really was a day to forget for Ferrari as, after an hydraulic failure saw Sainz retire on lap nine, Leclerc’s engine was then up in smoke 12 laps later, bringing the Scuderia’s hopes of landing a first race victory in Baku to an end.
It is the second time in three races that Leclerc has been forced to retire, while it is also the fourth race in a row where he has started on pole, but has been unable to hammer home that advantage.
“I am more than frustrated,” Leclerc said. “It is more than significant. I don’t really have the words. It is just a huge disappointment and I hope we can jump back from it and be on top of those things.”
The Red Bull duo were joined on the podium by Mercedes’ George Russell, who remains the only driver to have secured top-five finishes at every race to date in 2022.
Russell’s team Lewis Hamilton was fourth, with the seven-time world champion showing plenty of skill and determination to battle back from at one stage dropping to 11th on the grid.
Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly came in fifth ahead of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and the Alpine of Fernando Alonso, while the top 10 was completed by McLaren duo Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris and the second Alpine of Esteban Ocon.
The 2022 Formula 1 season continues this coming week, as the teams head across the Atlantic for the first staging of the Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve since 2019.
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