Max Verstappen extended his championship lead to twenty-one points, after an imperious performance saw Verstappen claim victory at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The Dutchman quickly made his way past Charles Leclerc early on, before hunting down his team-mate prior to the first round of pit-stops. The Dutchman’s RB18 was in a league of its own, as the reigning World Champion cemented his place as the championship favourite.
Verstappen did fall behind Leclerc after his first stop, due to the Scuderia Ferrari driver pitting under a Virtual Safety Car. However, neither Oracle Red Bull Racing driver had to find a way past Leclerc, as the Monegasque driver suffered yet another power unit failure and retired from the race.
Once back in the lead it was complete domination by Verstappen, who will be looking to take his form into next weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.
The Dutch driver was very pleased with both his, and the team’s result in Baku.
“Today we had incredible pace in the car, we could really look after the tyres and we could chip away for the lead. Checo did a good job at the start getting ahead of Charles, I got blocked in and couldn’t go anywhere. Once I was on the hard tyres and in the lead and I could just manage it and could control the gap.
“It would have been good to have had a battle with Charles today but he had a DNF. To get a 1-2 for the Team was really good, we’ve scored some good points today and made the gap bigger to Ferrari. There’s still a long way to go, it’s a long season so we need to keep pushing as a Team.”
“I got some bad degradation on my rear tyres” – Sergio Pérez
Sergio Pérez made an electric start to the race from second-place, and was in the lead of the race by the first corner. The Mexican tried to build a gap early on, but destroyed his tyres in the process.
This made the Monaco winner vulnerable to Verstappen’s superior pace, meaning that no battle was pursued when the Dutchman breezed his way past. Pérez was informed by the team though not to battle with his team-mate, meaning we’ll never know if he could’ve fought back.
Pérez is pleased with his second-place finish which sees him rise to second in the standings, however, is hoping the team can unlock some more performance ahead of Canada.
“I started really well, we were leading and felt we had things under control. We were a little unlucky with the timing of the VSC which made things a bit more difficult for us. When you are leading the race for the first stint, which is normally the harder one, then you think you are looking strong but that wasn’t to be the case today and that is racing. I got some bad degradation on my rear tyres, which meant I couldn’t keep Max behind, he was extremely fast and it made sense for him to pass me rather than fight it.
“We were told to keep certain pace on the hards once both Ferraris were out of the race and we managed the rest of it well. We have to understand where we could have got more out of the car today and go forward to Canada and make sure we are in contention once again. Today was a great result for the Team and a good day in the Constructors’ Championship.”