ALSO READ† What a drama for Ferrari in Azerbaijan GP: both Leclerc and Sainz have to leave the race early
In the Monaco GP, Mexican Sergio Pérez raced to victory after a tactical blunder at Ferrari. Mattia Binotto’s Italian team got a new chance in the Azerbaijan GP today: Charles Leclerc already started in pole position, although that was no guarantee of success in the previous races. World Cup leader Max Verstappen started third and indicated after the qualifications that he was not so satisfied: “I don’t feel very good in my car.”
How did the start go?
Leclerc on 1, Pérez on 2, Verstappen on 3 and Sainz on 4. Ferrari and Red Bull Racing once again secured the top 4 of the starting grid. But we saw changes from the first corner: Pérez got off to a perfect start and shot straight past Leclerc into first place. Even before the start of the second round, the Mexican was more than a second ahead of Leclerc. What a start.
How did the victory come about?
Except for Pérez’s leapfrog at Leclerc, initially nothing changed. Pérez drove imperturbably on and even had a lead of more than 2.5 seconds after six laps, while Leclerc and Verstappen battled it out for second place. In lap 9, Sainz missed his corner, leaving the Ferrari rider out. The yellow flag was raised, and Leclerc took advantage of it to head for the pit stop and Verstappen took over second place. Both Red Bulls were in the front, and that immediately resulted in another change as the Dutchman made good use of his DRS to pass his teammate. But Verstappen was not allowed to enjoy that first place for long, because Leclerc again took over first place after Verstappen’s pit stop. Until disaster struck him too: due to engine trouble, the Monegask also had to leave the GP: Red Bull was offered the top 2 on a tray. Verstappen completed the race skillfully and finished with a large lead over teammate Pérez, who completed Red Bull’s party.
Who distinguished himself?
Citing the winner may be cliché, but we really can’t ignore it: Max Verstappen is doing a golden thing in the World Cup position. The Dutchman is already 34 points ahead of Leclerc and is chasing his second consecutive World Cup title more than ever. In addition, Pérez also skipped Leclerc in the World Cup position to complete Red Bull’s party.
Who didn’t have their day?
Mattia Binotto will remember the Azerbaijan GP for a long time. And not in the positive sense. The Ferrari team boss saw Sainz retire after nine laps, and to make matters worse, Charles Leclerc also retired ten laps later. A drama for Ferrari, which sees Red Bull progress further in the constructors’ standings. Striking: Zhou and Magnussen also had to give up due to engine trouble, and they also drive a Ferrari engine.
How high was the spectacle value?
Very high. Nobody would have dared to think that both Ferraris had to leave the race early. It did ensure that the race in the front was already in a decisive fold after 20 laps.
What do we remember from this race?
First of all, we remember the record of Marcos Alonso: the Spaniard can now call himself a Formula 1 driver for 7,770 days: with that he knocks Schumacher (7,763 days) off the throne.