Perez wins crazy Baku F1 race, Verstappen/Hamilton non-score - The Race
Formula 1

Perez wins crazy Baku F1 race, Verstappen/Hamilton non-score

Jun 6 2021
By Matt Beer

Sergio Perez took a highly dramatic first Formula 1 victory for Red Bull in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after his team-mate Max Verstappen crashed with a puncture while leading and then Lewis Hamilton went off at the subsequent restart.

Hamilton managed to grab the lead from Perez when the race resumed with a standing start for a two-lap sprint following a delay of nearly half an hour after Verstappen’s heavy crash.

But Hamilton plunged down the escape road at the first corner moments after grabbing a lead that would have put him back atop the world championship table and ended up finishing 15th.

Sebastian Vettel emerged from the chaos with an incredible second place for Aston Martin from 11th on the grid, with Pierre Gasly completing the podium for AlphaTauri.

Red Bull had been on course for its first one-two finish for almost five years thanks to a commanding performance by Verstappen and Perez until the sudden left-rear tyre deflation coming onto the start/finish straight sent the leader into a heavy accident four laps from the finish.

It was the second such accident in the race, with Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin suffering a near-identical tyre failure and crash just after half-distance.

The blow for Verstappen meant Hamilton looked certain to reclaim the championship lead even had he only finished second behind Perez, but instead Hamilton’s error means Red Bull remains in front in the title race.

Ferrari’s polesitter Charles Leclerc ended up fourth in the race, having only managed to lead until lap three before Hamilton cruised past him approaching the first corner.

The Ferrari hung on with the Mercedes at first but was overtaken in quick succession by the two Red Bulls across laps seven and eight – with Perez having pulled off a brilliantly aggressive first lap to progress from sixth on the grid to fourth.

Once up to second, Verstappen lurked behind Hamilton then stayed out one lap longer before pitting. A very strong in-lap from the Red Bull coupled with the Mercedes being held in its pit briefly as Pierre Gasly came past allowed Verstappen to rejoin 4s clear of his championship rival.

Perez ran one lap further and rejoined narrowly in front of Hamilton, setting up what appeared to be a Red Bull one-two ahead of the Mercedes, with only the occasional Hamilton pressure on Perez hinting at a possible change.

Even a long safety car period for Stroll’s crash didn’t cause a shake up. The Aston Martin had risen to fourth place after Stroll’s qualifying crash thanks to a very long first stint on hard tyres, but that stint was never completed thanks to the tyre problem that sent him heavily into the wall after 31 laps. Stroll’s car ended up in the pitlane entrance, meaning a closed pit initially and no opportunity for strategy gambles.

But Stroll’s team-mate Vettel provided huge consolation for Aston Martin with a brilliant drive. He made it past both Gasly and Leclerc (the Ferrari having fallen behind the AlphaTauri in the early pitstops) at the safety car restart following the sister car’s crash and then moved up to third with Verstappen’s exit.

Hamilton’s shock mistake at the restart half an hour later then handed Vettel second and Gasly third ahead of Leclerc, as Perez celebrated his second-ever F1 win.

Lando Norris made good progress at the last restart to emerge with fifth for McLaren ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Alpine and the second AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda. Carlos Sainz Jr picked up eighth place for Ferrari, recovering from a moment down the escape road that dropped him outside of the top 10 shortly after he made his pitstop.

Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen completed the scorers, as Mercedes’ misery was completed by a terrible result for Valtteri Bottas.

Off the pace all weekend, he fell as low as 14th having lost four places on the restart lap following the Stroll safety car and finished only 12th.

Race Results

Pos Name Car Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Sergio Pérez Red Bull-Honda 51 5 2h13m36.41s 1m44.687s 3 25
2 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 51 0 +1.385s 1m44.89s 3 18
3 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 51 0 +2.762s 1m45.22s 3 15
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 51 1 +3.828s 1m45.382s 3 12
5 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 51 0 +4.754s 1m45.326s 3 10
6 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 51 0 +6.382s 1m45.624s 4 8
7 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 51 0 +6.624s 1m44.939s 3 6
8 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 51 0 +7.709s 1m45.7s 3 4
9 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 51 0 +8.874s 1m45.713s 3 2
10 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 51 0 +9.576s 1m45.601s 3 1
11 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 51 0 +10.254s 1m45.575s 4 0
12 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 51 0 +11.264s 1m45.665s 3 0
13 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 51 0 +14.241s 1m47.624s 5 0
14 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 51 0 +14.315s 1m47.747s 6 0
15 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 51 9 +17.668s 1m44.769s 3 0
16 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 51 0 +42.379s 1m46.608s 2 0
George Russell Williams-Mercedes 48 0 DNF 1m45.959s 4 0
Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 45 29 DNF 1m44.481s 1 0
Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 29 0 DNF 1m46.207s 0 0
Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 2 0 DNF 1m46.207s 1 0

What did you think of this story?

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap