Verstappen wins Azerbaijan GP and escapes championship

Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull) won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday in the streets of Baku, his fifth success of the season and the 25th of his career, and escaped the Formula 1 world championship.

Verstappen beat Mexican Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) and Briton George Russell (Mercedes). The reigning world champion is widening his lead at the top of the drivers’ standings, with 21 points ahead of Pérez and 34 over Monegasque Charles Leclerc, who started on pole position but was forced to retire from his Ferrari before halfway. .

“We had an incredible pace today, we had to be careful with the tyres. I managed to take the lead and we were a bit lucky with Ferrari’s retirements, but we had the pace,” commented Verstappen after the race.

Starting in the second row behind Pérez and Leclerc, Verstappen patiently built up his victory, overtaking his teammate who had damaged his tires too much at the start of the race, then witnessing from a distance the failure of Leclerc’s engine on the 20th of the 51 laps of the circuit. city ​​of Baku.

“The key was tire management, that’s what’s needed here. Every weekend is different, you have to be precise, it comes down to small details in the race,” added Verstappen. He will be able to fly to Montreal with peace of mind for the next Grand Prix, in a week in Canada.

On the contrary, Ferrari will have to rack their brains. The Scuderia saw Leclerc retire with an engine problem, just a few laps after the retirement of Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr, whose car suffered hydraulic problems.

Leclerc remains on three disappointing Grand Prix: three weeks ago he retired in Spain at the Barcelona circuit, and two weeks ago he had to settle for 4th place in Monaco, following a big strategic mistake by his team.

Undisputed king of qualifying this season (6 pole positions in eight sessions), Leclerc sees Verstappen take off in the standings. In the constructors’ standings, Red Bull Racing inflicted a 44-0 on Ferrari this weekend in Baku, counting the fastest lap point for Pérez. Red alert for the Scuderia.

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