Azerbaijan GP: Perez wins as Vettel grasps podium in action-packed display

After three yellow flags, two safety cars and one race restart, Sergio Perez deservedly took the victory in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Despite the impressive performance, Perez was not the race leader until the final five laps.

Crossing the line to start his 49th lap, Max Verstappen suffered a race ending tyre failure. The race leader had a flawless performance fending off both his teammate and his biggest rival, Lewis Hamilton, until an unexpected meeting with the wall of the main straight.

The failure of the Red Bull’s rear left tyre was almost identical to the earlier issue encountered by the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll which brought his race to a premature end.

An investigation is to be carried out after the race following the controversy around the performance of the Pirelli Tyres.

The red flag wreckage led to a disputed standing-start restart which cost Mercedes the entire race. Hamilton got away ahead of Perez but ,due to a lock up, continued on straight into the run-off at Turn 1 handing Perez the Victory and putting his team out of the points. Hamilton ended the race in 16th below his team mate, Valtteri Bottas, in 12th.

Baku brought only catastrophes for much of the grid today. Charles Leclerc’s glimpse of redemption was quickly snatched out of reach after being knocked out of the podium positions 8 laps into the race.

Following the race restart, Leclerc found himself crossing the line in fourth.

Amidst the mayhem and disappointment, Sebastian Vettel achieved his first podium of the season coming in second behind Perez, scoring 18 points for Aston Martin.

Behind the overjoyed Vettel was the Alpha Tauri of Pierre Gasly. After a bustling last lap with Leclerc for the final podium position, Gasly found himself crossing the line in third.

After a shaky start, Lando Norris worked his way up the grid until the race restart where he couldn’t quite keep up with the Ferrari and Alpha Tauri in the fight for the points. The McLaren crossed the line in fifth.

Fernando Alonso finished in sixth, his best result in Baku since 2018 after climbing four positions at the restart.

Adding more points to Alpha Tauri’s total, the rookie, Yuki Tsunoda, finished in seventh place after another impressive performance.

Carlos Sainz finished in eighth behind the rookie, a disappointing result for the Spaniard after a podium finish last week in Monaco.

To round off the points was Daniel Ricciardo in ninth and Kimi Raikkonen in 10th.

Following today’s results, Red Bull are now running away with the Constructors’ Championships as they sit 26 points ahead of Mercedes and the rest of the grid.