Formula 1

Verstappen Wins Azerbaijan Grand Prix After Double DNF For Ferrari

4 Mins read
Image: Mark Thompson/Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool.

Max Verstappen won the 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, after reliability issues for both Scuderia Ferrari cars put them out of contention mid-race. The Dutchman started third on the grid after being out-qualified by team-mate Sergio Pérez, but showed stronger pace in the early stages of the race around Baku City Circuit.

Pérez took the lead from Charles Leclerc at Turn One, and controlled the race until a Virtual Safety Car was deployed, where Oracle Red Bull Racing opted to stay out and take track position. Another opportunity for pit stops appeared for the Milton Keynes-based team shortly after, and after switching to the Hard compound of tyre, Verstappen overtook a struggling Pérez for the lead. The Mexican was instructed to not fight the lead change, prompting an easy one-two finish for the team.

Unlucky Ferrari, lucky Mercedes

Disaster struck for Ferrari as early as lap ten, when a hydraulic failure for Carlos Sainz Jr at Turn Four saw the Spaniard retire for the third time in the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship – bringing out that initial Virtual Safety Car that many drivers decided to pit under. Ten laps later, Leclerc’s engine went up in smoke along the pit straight, yielding an unfortunate second retirement in three races for the number sixteen driver. After taking pole position and fourth-place in qualifying on Saturday, Ferrari will certainly be disappointed with a pointless Sunday afternoon.

For Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, Ferrari’s retirements were a blessing, as the Silver Arrows capitalised to finish third with George Russell and fourth with Lewis Hamilton. Mercedes opted to double-stack its drivers in the pitstop phase of the race, with Russell having track position, but a slow stop for Hamilton dropped him further down the pack.

Russell remained in third-place for the majority of the race, while Hamilton fought back with overtakes on Esteban Ocon, Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly to take fourth-place overall. The Briton did, however, complain that the porpoising was hurting his back, and struggled to get out of the car post race.

AlphaTauri – The best of the rest!

Scuderia AlphaTauri‘s Gasly finished in a very respectable fifth-place, after battling with Hamilton for the majority of the race. The Frenchman split the two Mercedes in qualifying and was able to hold Hamilton up in the first stint. However, both Gasly and Tsunoda opted not to pit in the second Virtual Safety Car period, which gave Hamilton the opportunity to pass them both on fresh tyres. Tsunoda, who was running in sixth-place after Hamilton passed him, sadly dropped out of the points when a crack in his rear wing meant that only half the DRS flap was moving.

Tsunoda was given the black and orange flag (a flag that instructs a driver to pit immediately due to a potentially hazardous mechanical fault) as a result of this, and the Italian team quickly tried to secure the wing with tape and send the car back out. Tsunoda would finish the race in thirteenth, which is disappointing after AlphaTauri were set to score a good number of points.

Credit: LAT Images.

What happened to those behind?

Sebastian Vettel had a great race for Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team, after qualifying an already-good ninth-place on Saturday. The four-time World Champion was fighting with Hamilton and Ocon at the start of the race, before locking up into Turn Three during one of his overtakes and spinning himself back on track. Despite this error, he was able to recover to a brilliant sixth-place in order to put the British-racing green team equal on points with the Haas F1 Team. Lance Stroll, meanwhile had to retire the car with a handful of laps to go, as a precaution due to strong oscillations in what was a weekend to forget for the Canadian.

BWT Alpine F1 Team scored double points on Sunday afternoon, with a seventh-place finish for Fernando Alonso and a tenth-place finish for Ocon. The pair were fighting with the likes of Hamilton and Vettel earlier in the race, but ultimately couldn’t close the gap in the second stint.

McLaren F1 Team were also able to score double points in the race, with Daniel Ricciardo finishing ahead of his team-mate at the chequered flag. Ricciardo crossed the line in eighth, while Lando Norris was very close behind in ninth. McLaren had opted for a team orders situation when trying to hunt down Alonso, with Ricciardo set to move aside for Norris to give him a chance at overtaking the Spaniard, and returning the place if it didn’t work out; however, the papaya-coloured team opted to hold position when they found Alonso’s pace was too fast for them to match.

McLaren also instructed the pair to hold position in the final laps of the race. Norris picked up the pace and showed he could have overtaken a cruising Ricciardo if he wanted to, but still respected the team’s wishes.

Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN narrowly missed out on points, with Valtteri Bottas finishing in a somewhat disappointing eleventh place; while Guanyu Zhou failed to finish the race due to engine troubles. Zhou was showing good pace in the race, but ultimately had to retire.

Alexander Albon, once again, showed a good performance on Sunday afternoon in Baku, coming close to points again with a twelfth-place finish for Williams F1 Team. The Thai driver has had some great races so far this season, only finishing below thirteenth on one occasion when he does complete the race. Meanwhile, Nicholas Latifi would cross the line last of the running drivers in fifteenth-place.

Finally, Haas continue their unlucky run, with Kevin Magnussen suffering a power unit issue that put him out of the race in the second half, while Mick Schumacher would cross the line in fourteenth-place. Four Ferrari power units would fail to finish at Azerbaijan, which does not look good from a reliability standpoint as Mercedes continue to be the only constructor to finish every race this season.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix Full Results:

POSNO.DRIVERNATTEAMTIME
11Max
Verstappen
NEDOracle
Red Bull
Racing
1:34:05.941
211Sergio
Pérez
MEXOracle
Red Bull
Racing
+20.823s
363George
Russell
GBRMercedes-AMG
Petronas Formula 1
Team
+45.995s
444Lewis
Hamilton
GBRMercedes-AMG
Petronas Formula 1
Team
+71.679s
510Pierre
Gasly
FRAScuderia
AlphaTauri
+77.299s
65Sebastian
Vettel
GERAston Martin
Aramco Cognizant
Formula One
Team
+84.099s
714Fernando
Alonso
ESPBWT Alpine
F1 Team
+88.596s
83Daniel
Ricciardo
AUSMcLaren
F1 Team
+92.207s
94Lando
Norris
GBRMcLaren
F1 Team
+92.556s
1031Esteban
Ocon
FRABWT Alpine
F1 Team
+108.184s
1177Valtteri
Bottas
FINAlfa Romeo
F1 Team
ORLEN
+1 lap
1223Alexander
Albon
THAWilliams
F1 Team
+1 lap
1322Yuki
Tsunoda
JAPScuderia
AlphaTauri
+1 lap
1447Mick
Schumacher
GERHaas
F1 Team
+1 lap
156Nicholas
Latifi
CANWilliams
F1 Team
+1 lap
1618Lance
Stroll
CANAston Martin
Aramco Cognizant
Formula One
Team
DNF
1720Kevin
Magnussen
DENHaas
F1 Team
DNF
1824Guanyu
Zhou
CHNAlfa Romeo
F1 Team
ORLEN
DNF
1916Charles
Leclerc
MONScuderia
Ferrari
DNF
2055Carlos
Sainz Jr
ESPScuderia
Ferrari
DNF
The results of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship Azerbaijan Grand Prix, data courtesy of Formula 1.
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Joe McCormick is a 20-year old Formula 1 journalist and writer from Devon, who loves everything F1!
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