Perez wins F1 sprint at Baku
Red Bull Racing's Sergio Perez has taken victory at today's F1 Sprint Race at Baku, Azerbaijan. The Mexican breezed past Leclerc with DRS on the main straight to take the lead on lap 6. Ferrari's Leclerc finished second while a fuming Verstappen finished third.
Before the start of the race Williams' Logan Sargeant was withdrawn as the team were unable to repair the car in time following the American's crash during the Sprint Shootout earlier in the day.
Esteban Ocon also had his share of bad news as Alpine decided to get his car out of parc ferme to be able to adjust some rear suspension settings before the sprint race. With the revised sprint regulations this meant his was required to start from the back of the grid and will similarly have to do so in the main race on Sunday as well.
When the lights went out Charles Leclerc made a clean getaway to maintain the lead from pole, following by Sergio Perez who didn't appear to attempt an overtake on the Ferrari driver. The fighting was behind them as Russell enjoyed a great start and challenged Verstappen, passing him on the inside of Turn 2. It didn't happen without contact, resulting in some damage on the floor of Verstappen's car as he mildly came together with the Mercedes before touching the outside barriers with the right rear wheel.
Behind all this Yuki Tsunoda had a crash of his own and ended up losing the right rear tyre and various bits and pieces of his car. As he limped back to the pits yellow were first initiated, then a virtual safety car for nearly a full lap before bringing out the safety car to allow the marshalls to clean up all the debris.
On lap 6 the racing was on again. Leclerc made a very strong getaway and prevented Perez to challenge him into Turn 1. Max Verstappen on the other hand relaunched well and easily passed Russell to take back his third place.
As Carlos Sainz retained 5th, Alonso gained another position after also gaining one at the start. This moved the Spaniard up in 6th, followed by Hamilton, Albon, Stroll and Norris who completed the top 10.
Two lap later, the firs lap with DRS enabled, Perez breezed past Leclerc on the main straight to take the lead. This immediately brought Verstappen in DRS-range of the Ferrari driver but he was unable to get any closer than that and in fact failed to stay close enough. The same was valid for Leclerc a few laps later and virtually the entire field with almost nobody able to stay close enough to another car to have the DRS advantage.
Stroll passed Albon to take 8th midway through the sprint race but nothing else happened in the points scoring positions.
Lando Norris meanwhile appeared to have a car issue and pitted after losing several positions. Esteban Ocon was also strangely pitted 3 laps from the end, resulting in a return to last place.
Overall it turned out to be a pretty stale event after the initial lap. Verstappen soon ended up discussing the event with Russell and later saying he didn't "understand how he could take that much risk. We all have cold tyres so to understeer into me and create a hole in the sidepod....". Russell on the other hand didn't seem impressed by Verstappen's antics and was happy to take 4th place.
|1||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||17||33:17.667||8|
|3||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||17||+5.065s||6|
|6||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||17||+11.613s||3|
|8||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||17||+18.417s||1|
|9||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||17||+21.757s||0|
|10||81||Oscar Piastri||Mclaren Mercedes||17||+22.851s||0|
|11||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||17||+27.990s||0|
|12||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||17||+34.602s||0|
|13||10||Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault||17||+36.918s||0|
|14||21||Nyck De Vries||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||17||+41.626s||0|
|15||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas Ferrari||17||+48.587s||0|
|16||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||17||+49.917s||0|
|17||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||17||+51.104s||0|
|18||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||17||+60.621s||0|
|NC||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||2||DNF||0|