Formula 1 Racing

Sergio Perez wins Azerbaijan GP sprint

Sergio Perez wins Azerbaijan GP sprint

In the first sprint race of the season, which followed a new qualifying format (see below), Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc led from pole ahead of Perez, as Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and George Russell (Mercedes) clashed over third. After a safety-car interruption, Verstappen retook third from Russell.

Perez used DRS to pass Leclerc on lap eight of 17 and pulled clear to take victory, while Leclerc clung to second ahead of Verstappen, whose car’s floor and sidepod were damaged during his clash with Russell.

2023 F1 Azerbaijan sprint results

How the 2023 F1 Azerbaijan sprint unfolded

Leclerc held his pole position advantage on the run to Turn 1, ahead of Perez. Verstappen and Russell banged wheels through the opening corners, with Russell getting into third at Turn 3 as Verstappen clipped the wall on exit.

Further around the opening lap, Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri hit the wall at Turn 14, causing a safety car to clear the debris, and his right-rear tyre, off the track.

At the restart on lap six, Leclerc led Perez, as Verstappen passed Russell for third at Turn 1. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) overtook Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) to run fifth and sixth.

Perez blasted by Leclerc with ease using DRS at the start of lap eight, and sprinted away to win by over four seconds.

Leclerc tried to remain in the Mexican’s DRS range to help keep Verstappen, who had suffered floor and sidepod damage in his opening-lap contact with Russell, at bay.

Despite losing DRS from lap 11, Leclerc held off Verstappen in the closing stages to finish second.

Russell finished a distant fourth, ahead of Alonso and Hamilton. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) passed Alex Albon’s Williams to claim eighth, with Oscar Piastri finishing 10th.

2023 F1 Azerbaijan sprint fastest laps

 Cla   Nº   Driver   Car / Engine   Time   Gap   Kph 
11 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda RBPT 1’43.616   208.566
16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1’43.646 0.030 208.505
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda RBPT 1’43.723 0.107 208.351
55 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1’44.398 0.782 207.003
63 George Russell Mercedes 1’44.409 0.793 206.982
4 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1’44.484 0.868 206.833
14 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin/Mercedes 1’44.544 0.928 206.714
44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’44.601 0.985 206.602
81 Oscar Piastri McLaren/Mercedes 1’44.776 1.160 206.257
10  18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1’44.855 1.239 206.101

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