On another planet: Sergio Pérez, winner of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday ahead of his teammate Max Verstappen, championship leader, the Red Bulls gave their opponents no chance on the streets of Baku.
“Everything worked today for us! “Reacted Pérez after the arrival of the 4th round of the season. He had already won in Baku in 2021 and becomes the first driver to win twice on this circuit, adding his victory in the sprint race on Saturday.
On the shores of the Caspian Sea, where more shows were expected in the narrow and tricky streets of the Azerbaijani capital, poleman Leclerc did not resist the onslaught of the Red Bulls for long.
Second on the grid, Verstappen took the advantage over the Monegasque at the start of the 4th lap, Pérez at the start of the 6th.
The intervention of the safety car could have reshuffled the cards, especially as Verstappen, called into the pits too early to change his tires, found himself behind Pérez and Leclerc.
But when the race restarted, Leclerc was once again dominated by “Mad Max”.
On arrival, more than 20 seconds separate Verstappen from Leclerc. “They play in another category when it comes to racing,” reacted disillusioned the Monegasque on arrival. “They have so much more pace than us, everyone is working hard to figure out what we can do in the race to close the gap.”
– Alonso at the foot of the podium –
Big winner of the weekend, Pérez leaves Azerbaijan with 36 of the 37 points offered this weekend. Only the point of the fastest lap, recovered by the Briton George Russell (Mercedes), escapes him.
Already the day before, the Mexican had won the sprint, taking the eight points for victory.
Thanks to his two weekend victories, the 33-year-old has closed the gap with Verstappen in the championship and is now only six lengths behind the reigning double world champion.
Behind, the Spaniard Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin), retains 3rd place overall. He finished off the podium for the first time since the season, in 4th place.
The fourth round of the season marked the return on Saturday of a sprint race, a format introduced in 2021 and which will be found at five other GPs this season. But, contrary to what has been done until now, F1 has revised its format to ensure the show.
Thus, the sprint, which usually determined the grid for the GP contested the next day, no longer has any impact for the day on Sunday. He also has his own qualifying session disputed earlier on Saturday during which Leclerc had taken pole.