Sergio Perez won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix which was interrupted by two serious crashes, both of which appeared to be caused by tyre failures.Max Verstappen crashed out of the lead. The Red Bull driver suffered an apparent tyre failure.
Perez lined up in pole position for the restart of the race alongside Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver got away better, but his brakes had been smoking heavily before the restart, and he failed to slow in time for the first corner, sliding into the run-off area. He took the chequered flag in 16th.
With Hamilton slipping back, Sebastian Vettel grabbed second place for Aston Martin. Pierre Gasly won a thrilling last-lap tussle with Charles Leclerc for the final podium place.
Behind them, Lando Norris recovered from a poor start to claim fifth and Fernando Alonso elbowed his way past Yuki Tsunoda for sixth. Behind Carlos Sainz Jnr in the second Ferrari, Daniel Ricciardo took points for ninth, despite being clouted by Antonio Giovinazzi at the restart
Kimi Raikkonen took the final point in 10th, his first point of the year. He passed Valtteri Bottas on the way, the Mercedes driver suffering a dire weekend as he laboured to 12th behind Giovinazzi.
Leclerc held his lead from pole position when the race began over two hours before the final restart. Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen held their positions from second and third, while Sergio Perez worked his way up to fourth position.
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Hamilton relieved Leclerc of the lead as lap three began. He did not draw away, however, and Verstappen stayed close. In time the Red Bull pair also made their way past the Ferrari driver and took up position behind Hamilton.
The Mercedes driver was the first of the three to pit, but lost time in his box as Pierre Gasly came in on the same lap. That meant Verstappen was easily able to take the lead after his trouble-free pit stop the next time around.
Perez also jumped ahead of Hamilton, despite a slightly slow pit stop, and took up second place behind his team mate.
While most of the other drivers made their pit stops within the first half of the race, Lance Stroll pressed on with his original set of hard tyres. But on the 31st tour his left-rear tyre appeared to fail unexpectedly, pitching him hard into the barrier. A shocked Stroll emerged from his car unscathed, while the race was neutralised by a Safety Car.
The leaders did not pit during the interruption, and Verstappen resumed his lead when the race restarted. He was five laps away from victory when he suffered a similar-looking failure to Strolls as he approached the pit straight, hitting the barrier opposite the pits. A disconsolate Verstappen kicked his left-rear tyre after climbing from his car, but Hamilton’s subsequent failure to capitalise on his exit may have improved his mood.
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2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix reaction
- Tsunoda’s Baku speed “really worried” team boss Tost
- Mercedes to revise ‘brake magic’ system behind Hamilton’s restart error
- Ferrari losing too much pace in traffic – Binotto
- Perez delivering “exactly what we’ve been looking for” – Horner
- Verstappen deserves points lead after Hamilton’s ‘huge mistakes’, says Villeneuve
- Verstappen’s tyres were not “abused” before race-ending failure
- “Really weird” lack of pace due to car fault or tyres, Bottas believes
- Mercedes “can’t keep losing points like this” says Wolff after worst two races since 2012
- FIA to examine Mazepin-Schumacher near-miss which was overlooked during race
- Engine problem almost cost Gasly podium finish
- Vettel: F1 “got lucky” drivers missed Baku’s pit entry barrier in high-speed crashes
- Pirelli’s suspicion falls on debris as FIA promise “thorough investigation” into crashes
- Leclerc backed off before Hamilton passed him for lead
- You can’t let crash fears get into your mind – Hamilton
- Why the Azerbaijan GP was stopped for Verstappen’s crash but not Stroll’s
- Aston Martin’s first podium a boost for Vettel after “very rough start to the season”
- Latifi given three penalty points for “dangerous” error after Verstappen crash
- Hamilton “lucky” to avoid similar failure to Verstappen as Pirelli discover cut tyre
- “Does he want to kill us” fumes Schumacher after beating Mazepin by 0.07s
- Hamilton reveals he hit button by mistake in race-losing restart error
- Verstappen had no warning of tyre problem before “dangerous” crash
- Red Bull reveal hydraulic problem almost cost Perez victory