Sergio Perez doubled up on the streets of Baku by adding to his Sprint race triumph with victory in Sunday’s drama-filled Azerbaijan Grand Prix, leading Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc home to boost his title push.
Verstappen and Perez overhauled pole-sitter Leclerc in the early stages and proceeded to trade fastest lap times at the head of the field, with the defining moment of the race coming when a Safety Car was deployed either side of the Red Bull drivers pitting.
With Verstappen pitting under yellow flags brought out when Nyck de Vries stopped on track, and Perez coming in under a Safety Car that followed, the Mexican cleared his team mate and rejoined the action in the lead.
Verstappen fell to third, meaning he had to overtake Leclerc for a second time. While that was a formality when the race resumed, he could not make inroads on Perez during the run to the chequered flag and had to settle for second.
|1 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing||1:32:42.436||25|
|2 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing||+2.137s||18|
|3 Charles LECLERC Ferrari||+21.217s||15|
|4 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin||+22.024s||12|
|5 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari||+45.491s||10|
Leclerc held off a late charge from Fernando Alonso to take third, meaning the two-time champion’s 2023 podium run came to an end – though fourth still represented another strong haul of points for the Aston Martin driver.
Carlos Sainz crossed the line fifth in the other Ferrari, fending off Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes in the closing stages, with the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll and Silver Arrow of George Russell picking up minor points after a close call in the pits early on.
Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg rose from the pit lane to hold points-paying positions for much of the race, as they extended their first stints on hard tyres, but late mandatory pit stops meant they were banking on more Safety Car drama that never arrived.
McLaren’s Lando Norris moved into the points with a late move on Hulkenberg, before gaining another spot when Ocon pitted, while Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top 10 to salvage a result for AlphaTauri.
Categories: Formula 1, Race Recap
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