Azerbaijan F1 GP 2022: Verstappen leads Red Bulls’ 1-2 amidst Ferrari’s fiasco

Max Verstappen has claimed a comfortable win at the Azerbaijan F1 GP 2022 this Sunday at the Baku Street CircuitHis teammate Checo Pérez (fastest lap) completed Red Bull’s 1-2. George Russell (Mercedes) has taken his third podium of the season, defeating his rank leader Lewis Hamilton, fourthonce again. 

Ferrari, on the other hand, has had another disastrous day after both Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc‘s races on the shores of the Caspian Sea ended in abandonment. An especially painful experience for the young Monegasque, for whom this is the third time he retires from a race this season while on the lead 

The Italians have been dealt a severe blow which jeopardises their title bid in both the driver and team competitions. Conversely, the Austrian team, couldn’t have fared better at the Azerbaijan F1 GP 2022 which has helped them consolidate their dominance in both the drivers’ and teams’ World Championships. 

After his fitth triumph (Saudi Arabia, Emilia-Romagna, Miami & Spain) Verstappen has stretched his lead in the driver’s standings from nine to 21 pointsOn top of this, Pérez, winner in  Monaco, has ousted Leclerc (116 points) from his second place in the standings with 129 points. Red Bull’s third 1-2 this season takes the Austrian team even closer to their dream.

Pérez passes pole setter Leclerc after a great start  

In the first corner of the Azerbaijan GP2022 Pérez passed Leclerc with a great manoeuvre. Verstappen and Sainz held on to their third and fourth starting positions. After the third lap, Pérez imposed a blistering pace, escaping with 2.3 seconds ahead of Leclerc, who was containing the Dutchman by eight-tenths of a second.

The pressure exerted on #16 by the reigning champion was becoming suffocating after the first eight laps. MeanwhileSainz was running fourth, one second behind Verstappen before retiring on the ninth lap due to a failure in the brake system. 

Dance in boxes  

The incident triggered a period of virtual safety car in the subsequent lap, used by Leclerc to change his compounds to hard ones. A poor 5.4-second stop, however, handed second place to Max, who had yet to go through boxes himself. 

From that moment on, the Monegasque had to focus on closing his 12.6-second deficit. Hamilton, Tsunoda and Magnussen also took part in the pit frenzy. 

Twelve laps into the race and Pérez escaped ahead whit a 1.7-second advantage over his teammate. Following the Dutchman were Leclerc, in third, and Russell, in fourthboth dreaming of the champagne. 

Max steals Pérez’s lead 

On the 15th lap, Max overtook Checo and retained the lead until the end. The Mexican’s tires had unexpectedly and with no warning, given in. The deterioration was so that soon he had lost three seconds to Leclerc, now just seven away.  

Pérez, eager to remediate his failing tires, went to pits on lap 17, this however was already two or three laps too lateAdded to this tactical error was a slow pit stop (5.7 seconds), which relegated him to third place. 

Two laps later, Max made his pit stop to mount hard compounds, returning to action 13.6 seconds behind Leclerc, now leader.

Leader Leclerc abandons the race   

On his 20th run over the finish-line straight, Leclerc had to abandon for the third consecutive time this season. On this occasion, it was yet another engine problem. Russell inherited third place.     

And that is where the excitement of the Azerbaijan F1 GP 2020 and the World Championship really ended. Max now just had to manage his lead over Pérez. Despite another virtual safety car on lap 34, nothing changed.

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To make things a bit more exciting, both blue cars took advantage of the safety car to make their second pit stopanother slow one in the case of Pérez.  And this is how Verstappen claimed his 25th F1 win in his career, escaping ahead in the battle to defend his crown. After the Dutchman came his outstanding teammate Pérez, and an extraordinary Russell. 

Images of Azerbaijan F1 GP 2022: Red Bull Racing.

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