Sergio Perez drove a consummate race with assist from the security automobile to beat Crimson Bull team-mate Max Verstappen and win the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Perez and Verstappen fought an extended, flat out battle after the Mexican leapfrogged forward by with the ability to save time by making his pit cease underneath the security automobile.
Perez had Verstappen’s measure, holding him at simply over a second behind for a very long time earlier than starting to edge additional forward within the closing levels, and his second win of the yr diminished the Dutchman’s championship result in six factors.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc – who began the race from pole, was quickly dispatched by each Crimson Bulls after the beginning, and by Verstappen for a second time after the safety-car interval – received a good battle with Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso for the ultimate podium place.
It was a much-needed fillip for Leclerc and Ferrari after a disappointing and troublesome begin to the season.
The Monegasque’s team-mate Carlos Sainz took fifth, succeeding in holding off Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, which dropped out of the highest 10 after the security automobile.
Security automobile helps the spectacle once more
The race outcome might have turned on the timing of the security automobile interval and the way it intersected with the pit methods of the main groups.
Verstappen had handed Leclerc for the lead initially of lap three, as quickly because the DRS overtaking help was made out there.
Perez adopted him previous a few laps later and started to shut in on Verstappen, lowering the lead from a second, to 0.8secs, to 0.6secs on consecutive laps because the world champion started to wrestle with tyre put on.
Verstappen pitted for recent tyres on lap 10, simply earlier than Alpha Tauri driver Nyck de Vries clouted the within wall at Flip 5, breaking his entrance suspension and bringing his automobile to a halt within the run-off space at Flip Six.
The protection automobile was deployed and that enabled the remainder of the front-runners to pit – a cease underneath warning takes about half the 21 seconds of 1 underneath racing situations – and Perez emerged within the lead, with Leclerc additionally leaping again forward of Verstappen.
The Dutchman handed Leclerc inside three corners of the restart however Perez was in a position to maintain him at simply over a second behind, stopping Verstappen benefiting from the lap-time benefit of the DRS.
It was a tense combat as they circulated like that till simply after half distance, when Perez started to creep additional forward, extending his result in three seconds or so, and once more holding it there.
Verstappen tried to come back again at him, however Perez had the tempo he wanted and the win – arguably one of the best of his profession – was secured.
The protection automobile helped Perez on his approach, however even earlier than that he had appeared as if he may need an edge on Verstappen, placing huge strain on his team-mate, forcing him to pit early for recent tyres, and thereby creating the prospect to profit from the chance that then fell into his lap.
As soon as within the lead, he managed the race fantastically to maintain Verstappen at bay and at last break his problem.
Behind the Crimson Bulls
Leclerc was left behind by the Crimson Bulls as he performed an identical cat-and-mouse sport with Alonso.
The veteran Spaniard drained his common tactic of holding again, saving his tyres, within the hope the Ferrari’s often excessive tyre degradation would play into his arms.
However Leclerc has been in consummate kind round one in all his favorite circuits, and he was clever to the sport.
And when Alonso tried to push and shut in through the closing levels, Leclerc did the identical, underlining he was managing his tempo by setting the quickest lap of the race, though his mark was later crushed by Verstappen, Alonso after which, with the assistance of a recent set of tyres, Mercedes’ George Russell.
Behind them, Hamilton had, like Verstappen, misplaced out due to the security automobile. He dropped out of the highest 10 as a result of he stopped a lap earlier than Verstappen.
However Hamilton was in a position to cross his team-mate Russell with an audacious dive down the within at Flip One, then the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll earlier than closing in on Sainz.
Nevertheless, the Mercedes’ lack of tempo on the straight, even with DRS open, meant he couldn’t cross the Ferrari and he discovered himself caught in sixth place.
Stroll, Russell, McLaren’s Lando Norris and Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsunoda took the ultimate factors positions.
There was a scary incident on the finish of the race when Esteban Ocon made a pit cease for tyres on the ultimate lap solely to seek out personnel milling about within the pit lane as he accelerated in the direction of his storage.
An error by officers had allowed personnel from governing physique the FIA and a few photographers into the pit lane too early, when it was nonetheless closed.
Stewards investigated the incident and charged officers with discovering methods to make sure it couldn’t occur once more.