Pérez wins Azerbaijan GP and closes in on Verstappen in standings | Formula 1

Sergio Pérez wrote his name in Azerbaijan GP history by winning the race on Sunday and becoming the first to win twice at the Baku circuit since the track’s debut in 2016. The Mexican took advantage of a incident to take the lead and finish ahead of Max Verstappen. . Pole position Charles Leclerc came third, taking Ferrari’s first podium of 2023.

Sergio Pérez celebrates his second career win at the 2023 Azerbaijan GP; the first on the Baku circuit was in 2021 – Photo: Mark Thompson / Getty Images

After four races, the gap between championship leader Verstappen and runner-up Pérez fell from 13 to eight points. It was the RBR driver’s sixth career victory and his fifth on street circuits. Besides Baku, the Mexican has already won in Monaco, Singapore and Saudi Arabia.

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The two RBRs needed only four laps to secure their third double of 2023, passing Leclerc in succession. From then on, it only remained to decide which driver of the Austrian team would win.

Sergio Pérez and RBR celebrate victory at the Azerbaijan GP and the team’s fourth in 2023 – Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Now, the Austrian teammates each have two victories: Verstappen in Bahrain and Australia, and Pérez in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan. RBR, now with three doubles in 2023, remains absolute in the constructors’ championship.

Max, provisional leader, was injured by the bad timing of his tire change. The Dutchman was called to the pits on lap 11 when Nyck de Vries crashed. He returned to seventh place and, shortly after, the safety car entered the track and halted the double champion’s progress. Verstappen finished third and only managed to pass Leclerc to secure second place.

Sergio Pérez leads the 2023 F1 Azerbaijan GP – Photo: NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / AFP

Weekend trends around Ferrari, Aston Martin and Mercedes are confirmed; the Italian team, pole position for Sunday’s race and the sprint race with Leclerc, remained at the top of the table and reached the podium for the first time this year, despite the inefficiency in battling head-on with the RBR leader.

Aston Martin ceased to be a co-protagonist and found itself in a duel with Mercedes; this one, without presenting a great evolution despite the promises of improvements for the cars of the two teams. Alonso, however, remained the “best of the rest” and even emerged victorious in a straight fight with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

Hamilton ended the weekend as the best of his team, being the only one to reach Q3 in the standings and starting fifth. The seven-time champion, however, ended up being hampered by also stopping shortly before the safety car activated by De Vries and arriving in sixth place. Eighth-placed George Russell took the extra point for fastest lap at the checkpoint after starting 11th.


Azerbaijan GP result

Position Pilot Difference
1st Sergio Perez (RBR)
2nd Max Verstappen (RBR) +2s137
3rd Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +21s217
4th Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) +22s024
5th Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +45s491
6th Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +46s145
7th Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) +51s617
8th George Russell (Mercedes) +74s240
9th Lando Norris (McLaren) +80s376
10th Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) +83s862
11th Oscar Piastri (McLaren) +86s501
12th Alexander Albon (Williams) +88s623
13th Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +89s729
14th Pierre Gasly (Alpine) +91s332
15th Esteban Ocon (Alpine) +97s794
16th Logan SargeantWilliams +100s943
17th Nico Hulkenberg (Haas) 1 turn
18th Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) 1 turn
Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo) ABANDONED
Nyck deVries (Alpha Tauri) ABANDONED

F1 returns next Sunday, May 7, with the Miami GP – the fifth stop of the 2023 season. Find out here the championship schedule.

the beginning

Leclerc kept the lead safely ahead of Verstappen and Pérez. The first six positions were maintained. Below, however, Stroll moved up two positions and moved from ninth to seventh and Mercedes’ Russell entered the scoring zone after starting in 11th and reaching ninth. The one who lost the most positions is Bottas, who fell from 13th to 18th place.

Azerbaijan F1 GP start in 2023 — Photo: Resul Rehimov/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

At the back of the grid, Alexander Albon ended up touching Oscar Piastri and Kevin Magnussen was involved in the confusion. The Dane from Haas suffered damage to his front wing, but managed to gain three positions and climb up to 13th place. The incident did not stop the race.

Verstappen takes the lead

From the third lap, Verstappen managed to keep less than half a second behind Leclerc. The decisive maneuver comes at turn 4 of the following lap. After the slot of the double champion, the Monegasque of the Ferrari entered the sights of Pérez, who also passed him without difficulty on the sixth lap.


Stroll, seventh, made contact with Alonso on lap six. However, the Canadian warned his colleague from Aston Martin that he would not attack him because both were on the same strategy: overtaking Hamilton.

Informed by the team, the double champion of Spain however replied that his teammate could overtake him if he wanted to. Alonso and Stroll would move up to fifth and sixth respectively when the seven-time Mercedes champion makes his first tire change on lap 10.

The incident works in favor of Pérez

On lap 11, Nyck de Vries went straight ahead and hit the turn 6 guardrail. The RBR sent leader Verstappen to the pits still in the transition from the green flag to the safety car; the Dutchman joined the track in seventh position, behind Russell, just as the safety car appeared.

Pérez, Leclerc, Sainz, Alonso, Stroll and Russell made their changes under the safety car, lifting the two-time RBR champion to third place. The simultaneous stops generated abnormal movement in the pit lane; Russell and Stroll were side by side and Leclerc came out of his tire change very close to Pérez.

Good for Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg; the duo started from the pit lane to modify the car’s components and entered the scoring zone, in ninth and tenth. However, the Frenchman had not yet made his tire change.

Leclerc was an easy target for Verstappen on the restart, on lap 14; however, the two-time champion Dutchman trailed his teammate. At the same time, Alonso passed his compatriot Sainz and took fourth place in the race, which he kept until the end of the dispute.

Aston Martin vs Mercedes second chapter

After losing positions due to the arrival of the safety car after his tire change, Hamilton parked in seventh place behind Stroll. This time as a hunter, the seven-time champion took advantage of two errors that almost took the Canadian to the wall to defeat him in the 20th round.

Sixth-placed Sainz was the Briton’s next target, but Hamilton was only able to catch him late in the race. Meanwhile, the driver of the Aston Martin 18 car fell into the crosshairs of another Mercedes: that of Russell. Still, the Canadian maintained his position and even outclassed his British rival in the Drivers’ Championship; Stroll is now sixth in the table, one spot ahead of Russell.

Did not give the expected results

The “B car” promised by McLaren for the Azerbaijan stage did not go as planned, but at least secured two points for the British team.

Despite the expectations created by Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri’s strong performance throughout the weekend, the pair walked out of the points for most of the race; it was only in the closing laps that Norris was able to overtake Hulkenberg and then take ninth place.

In the last two rounds…

The extra point for fastest lap secured by Russell came because Mercedes had reserved a final set of new soft tires for him. The Briton was called into the pit lane on the penultimate lap.

Ocon, starting from the pit lane, managed to reach the points zone and held ninth place until the last lap – however, he had not made his pit stop, which he finally finished near the flag. The Frenchman from Alpine drops to 15th. However, the Frenchman was surprised by a crowd that had already gathered around the podium – located near the pit lane entrance. Ocon managed to dodge the group, despite the fright.

Julia Fleming

"Prone to fits of apathy. Beer evangelist. Incurable coffeeaholic. Internet expert."

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