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Sergio Perez wins the Azerbaijan GP

After an intense and red-flagged end of qualifying yesterday, Charles Leclerc came up on top for the start of the race. Lined up behind him was Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in P3.

Written by Hafiz Akbar, Edited by Tanishka Vashee

The race started well enough for Charles Leclerc. The young Monegasque got away from his lines quickly and secured a lead for the first couple laps of the race. Verstappen, on the other hand, got unlucky and had Hamilton slipping away past him coming into turn 1. The front four is basically the same but just a bit shaken up in between themselves although Sainz is under massive pressure from Perez.

Lando Norris, who was slapped with a 3-place grid penalty, lost 3 more places in the start. Which resulted in relegating him to 12th but he eventually came back to his starting position of 9th.

Esteban Ocon had a horrid race this weekend. The Frenchman had his gearbox give up on him and the car lost power. He had a DNF after just 4 laps around the track.

The laps following Ocon’s retirement is practically uneventful. Until a big wobbling tank slapper made Lance Stroll lose control of his Aston Martin after the left rear tyre failed–keep this in mind–, sending the Canadian into the wall. The stewards pull out the safety car to clear the track of debris. This basically deleted Max Verstappen’s 8-second lead over his championship rival, Lewis Hamilton.

On the restart, the top 3 remained the same with Perez holding up Hamilton to allow Verstappen to take back the lost 8-second lead over Hamilton. That would be in vain, for Max Verstappen was slammed into the wall owing to a left rear tyre Failure-simulate to that of Lance.

That was the end of what was his race basically on the bag. Questions must be asked on the conditions of the tyres since it was rare enough as it is to have one tyre failure without any warning on the team telemetry, based on radio conversations between Race Control and the Red Bull pit wall, let alone two.

The race was promptly red-flagged to clear out Verstappen’s debris from the pit straight. Nicholas Latifi, who was caught not going through the pit lane when it was instructed by Race Control was slapped with a drive-thru penalty.

The restart was full of emotions going up and down, side to side like a rollercoaster. When it seemed inevitable that Lewis was going to win the race, he locked up and went straight into turn 1. Sergio held on to his lead and was followed by Sebastian Vettel in second place. Third place was tightly contested between three off-track friends, Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris. Pierre emerged on top and took third place.

This is the first time since Austria 2018 that Mercedes didn’t score any points in a race and I would like to extend my condolences to Toto Wolff’s table. This extends Red Bull’s lead on the championship by a further 25 points, making it a 29-pts lead.

Next up in the calendar is the French Grand Prix, which will take place in the Circuit de Paul Ricard. It will be a double header, in the place of the cancelled Canadian GP. Will this spark an evolution of “undefeatable” Lewis in the second half of the season or will this be Max’s season? Only time will tell.

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