Event: Azerbaijan F1 Grand Prix
Track: Baku street circuit
Weather: dry 25.1°C
Tarmac: dry 45.9°C
Wind: 1.7 m/s W
Pressure: 1009.5 bar
Max Verstappen scored his 25th F1 race win today. The Dutch driver won the Azerbaijan F1 GP for the first time. It was his 5th race win of the 2022 season. The Red Bull driver started from P3 and could easily drive to the lead. It was the 81st race win for Red Bull Racing.
2022 Azerbaijan F1 GP Race Report
The top 11 started on medium tyres compounds. The start of the race was clean and Red Bull driver Sergio Pérez who started from P2 had a perfect getaway when the red lights gone out. He was just a little bit quicker with his reaction time and got pole sitter Charles Leclerc already at turn 1. Not much more positions changed.
In lap 4 the DRS system was activated. Max Verstappen was on P3 behind the Ferrari of Leclerc. The Red Bull had a very high top speed and put full pressure on the Ferrari driver, but could not pass it right away.
The other Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz who was already 5 seconds behind Verstappen on P4 retried his car in lap 9. Race control decided to use a virtual safety car period to recover the Ferrari of Sainz. Several drivers took advantage of the situation and made a ‘free’ pitstop. The drivers of the top 10 were Leclerc, PIerre Gasly, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Yuki Tsunoda.
Vettel was pushing Esteban Ocon for P5 and almost had him in lap 14 at turn 3. The Aston Martin driver couldn’t make it stick and even had to use the escape road to loose a lot of places. He came back on P12, behind Tsunoda.
Verstappen had closed down the gap towards his teammate in lap 15 and overtook Pérez at turn 1 for the lead. In lap 17 Pérez pitted for a new set of hard tyres, but had a very slow pitstop of 5.7 sec. The Mexican driver returned to the race just in front of George Russell on P3.
In lap 19 taceleader Verstappen pitted for his new set of hard compound tyres. In the same lap Hamilton finally passed the Alpine of Ocon for P8. One lap later the engine of Leclerc blew up at the straight and ended his race.
Chinese driver Zhou Guangyu retired in lap 24 with a power unit problem. On the other side of the track Vettel was again battling with Ocon for P8 and could overtake the Alpine one lap later.
In front Verstappen looked to be cruising to the victory and his first ever podium finish and was already 16 seconds in front of his teammate. In lap 34 the next Ferrari power unit retired. This time it was the Haas of Kevin Magnussen who had to retire his car. A virtual safety car again was used to recover the Haas. All drivers who still had to do their pitstop got a great opportunity for a ‘cheap’ stop and after one lap of VRC the race was on again.
Hamilton who had picked up a fresh set of hard 7tyres overtook Tsunoda right away for P5 and saw his chance to even get Gasly who was 10 seconds in front on P4 with 15 laps to go.
Tsunoda had a problem with his rear wing and received a black and orange flag, because race control wanted his team to fix it. He pitted in lap 39 and got a set of soft tyres and the team fixed the problem with ducktape and send the Japanese driver off again..
With 7 laps to go the Gasly and Hamilton had a good battle for P4. Gasly did all he could and made some great defending moves to try and keep the seven times champ behind. After several laps Gasly had to let Hamilton pass coming on to turn 3 when the Mercedes driver had the inside line.
Hamilton had a very sore back and hardly could get out of his car when the race was finished.
Classification 2022 Azerbaijan GP
Fastest lap: 1:46.046 min by Sergio Pérez, Red Bull Racing (no.11) on lap 36
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