Max Verstappen wins Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Max Verstappen wins Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Max Verstappen’s Formula 1 title chances got a huge boost with a commanding win in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Verstappen passed Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez for the lead and the race win in the first third of the race and then saw title rival Charles Leclerc have to retire his car because of an engine issue. The win for Verstappen and the lack of points for Leclerc means Verstappen has a 34-point lead over Leclerc in the points standings. Verstappen entered the race just nine points ahead of Leclerc after taking over the points lead two races ago in Spain.

The 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix was one of the wildest races of the season. Verstappen had the race seemingly locked up late before a tire failure caused him to crash. Lewis Hamilton then looked poised to take the win and a lead in the standings before he overdrove Turn 1 on the ensuing restart and finished outside the points as Perez won the race.

Perez was second to Verstappen on Sunday as no one else was able to come close to the Red Bull cars in what became a very straightforward race after Leclerc’s retirement. Mercedes’ George Russell finished third while Lewis Hamilton was fourth after a late pass from Pierre Gasly. The Mercedes cars each finished more than 40 seconds back of Verstappen and 20-plus seconds back of Perez.

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN – JUNE 12: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 overtakes Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 for the lead during the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at Baku City Circuit on June 12, 2022 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Red Bull’s big points day

Red Bull scored 44 points as a team for Verstappen and Perez’s 1-2 finish. Ferrari didn’t get a single point after Carlos Sainz had to retire before Leclerc with an engine issue of his own.

Red Bull had a 36-point lead over Ferrari in the constructor standings before the race and that lead is now up to 70. Mercedes is now 28 points back of Ferrari in third after scoring 27 points between Russell and Hamilton.

Mercedes has won the last eight constructor titles and Red Bull is now very well-positioned to break that streak with Ferrari’s troubles. Four Ferrari-powered cars had to retire from the race because of engine-related issues. Kevin Magnussen and Zhou Guanyu also had to quit the race because of power problems.

Leclerc’s retirement was his second in third races after another power unit problem derailed his Spanish Grand Prix. Those reliability issues are the main reason why he’s behind Verstappen in the points standings after Verstappen failed to finish two of the first three races of the season.

Ferrari has been able to keep pace with Red Bull so far this season even if Red Bull may have the slightly faster car overall. But if Ferrari can’t figure out what’s plaguing its engines before next week’s race in Canada, Red Bull and Verstappen could build a nearly-insurmountable gap over the Scuderia in both sets of points standings.

Race results

1. Max Verstappen

2. Sergio Perez

3.George Russell

4.Lewis Hamilton

5. Pierre Gasly

6.Sebastian Vettel

7. Fernando Alonso

8. Daniel Ricciardo

9. Lando Norris

10. Esteban Ocon

11. Valtteri Bottas

12. Alex Albon

13. Yuki Tsunoda

14. Mick Schumacher

15. Nicholas Latifi

16. Lance Stroll

17. Kevin Magnussen

18. Zhou Guanyu

19. Charles Leclerc

20. Carlos Sainz

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