Red Bull’s Sergio Perez drives to victory at 2021 Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix

The 2021 Formula One World Championship saw another thrilling race with the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday at the Baku City Circuit.

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen looked set to win but it was his teammate, Sergio Perez, who ended up crossing the finish line first, followed by Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel in second and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly in third.

Verstappen had led for much of the race but a tire failure at one of the fastest sectors of the track pitched him into the wall with three laps to run, ending his day and setting the stage for a two-lap shootout between Perez and Mercedes-Benz AMG’s Lewis Hamilton. But first there was a safety car period to clear up the debris from Verstappen’s mishap.

Following the safety car restart, bad luck then struck Hamilton. The defending world champion accidentally switched on a brake balance setting normally used during the safety car period, causing his car’s brakes to lock at Turn 1. He was able to rejoin the race but could only manage 15th place at the finish.

Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Perez at the 2021 Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix

The race started with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on pole and Hamilton by his side on the front row, and Verstappen directly behind them. Leclerc made a good start but was passed by Hamilton on the second lap and Verstappen on the seventh. Verstappen was then able to move into the lead on lap 13 after Hamilton was slowed during a pit stop. He then managed to build up his lead but lost some of the gap due to a crash by Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll on lap 31, which also appeared to be a caused by a tire failure.

Further down the field, there was a brilliant fight between Leclerc, Gasly and Vettel, with Vettel having moved up from his 11th starting place on the grid, thanks in part to the race stops. Both Gasly and Vettel were able to get ahead of Leclerc who had to settle for fourth at the end of the race. Rounding out the top five was McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Following the weekend’s action, Verstappen remains in the lead spot in the 2021 Drivers’ Championship with 105 points, versus Hamilton in second with 101 points and Perez having moved up into third with 69 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull leads with 174 points versus the 148 of Mercedes and 94 of Ferrari. The next race on the calendar is the French Grand Prix in a fortnight.

In other F1 news, it was confirmed on Sunday that veteran McLaren shareholder Mansour Ojjeh had died earlier in the day from health issues while at his home in Geneva, Switzerland. He controlled 14.32% of McLaren Group via his TAG Group, which first became a shareholder of McLaren in 1984.

Red Bull Racing's Sergio Perez at the 2021 Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Perez at the 2021 Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Below are the full results from the 2021 Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix:

1) Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing
2) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin +1.385 seconds
3) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri +2.762 seconds
4) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari +3.828 seconds
5) Lando Norris, McLaren +4.754 seconds
6) Fernando Alonso, Alpine +6.382 seconds
7) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri +6.624 seconds
8) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari +7.709 seconds
9) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren +8.874 seconds
10) Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo +9.576 seconds
11) Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo +10.254 seconds
12) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-Benz AMG +11.264 seconds
13) Mick Schumacher, Haas +14.241 seconds
14) Nikita Mazepin, Haas +14.315 seconds
15) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz AMG +17.668 seconds
16) Nicholas Latifi, Williams +42.379 seconds
17) George Russell, Williams DNF
18) Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing DNF
NC) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin DNF
NC) Esteban Ocon, Alpine DNF

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