Auto Culture

Sergio Perez Wins Chaotic 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix


Red Bull’s Sergio Perez won a chaotic 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix ahead of a surprise second place finish from Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly in the third and final podium position.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc began the race as the pole-sitter but Leclerc was fortunate to be there as a crash just before the end of the qualifying session prevented both Formula One series leader Max Verstappen and seven-time defending F1 world champion, Lewis Hamilton, from taking their flying laps.

Hamilton started in second alongside Leclerc and Verstappen was right behind both of them in third while Perez began the race in a distant sixth. Leclerc was almost immediately passed by both Hamilton and Verstappen but Hamilton was passed by both Verstappen and Perez during early pit crossovers switching from soft to hard tires and fell to third place where he sat for much of the race.

The drama began on Lap 31 when Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll – who had begun the race on hard tires and had not yet pitted – was in fourth place and suffered a tire failure directly in front of the pit lane entry, preventing any cars from entering the pit for three laps. On the fourth lap, Vettel switched to soft tires and quickly moved up to fourth place after the rolling re-start on Lap 35.

Only 11 laps later, Verstappen, comfortably leading the race, suffered the same fate as Stroll, as his tire failed and knocked him out of the race, seemingly setting up Hamilton to either take the victory from Perez on the race re-start or take the series lead with a second-place finish. The race was red-flagged while debris was cleaned off the track and all cars were allowed a tire change – resulting in all cars switching to soft tires.

On the ensuing standing re-start Hamilton briefly passed Perez but locked up his brakes going into the first corner and was forced to go into the emergency run-off area, where he emerged in last place and was effectively out of contention. Perez went on to win comfortably over Vettel – his first victory of the season and only his second F1 win overall.

In the overall driver’s standings, Verstappen maintains his slim four-point margin over Hamilton – 105 points to 101 points – while Perez moves into third place with 69 points.

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Top 10

1] Sergio Pérez Red Bull
2] Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin
3] Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri
4] Charles Leclerc Ferrari
5] Lando Norris McLaren
6] Fernando Alonso Alpine
7] Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri
8] Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari
9] Daniel Ricciardo McLaren
10] Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo

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