F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2023 LIVE! Reaction, updates and latest news after Sergio Perez wins

·24-min read
F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2023 LIVE! Reaction, updates and latest news after Sergio Perez wins

F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE!

Sergio Perez breathed fresh life into this season's world championship by beating Max Verstappen to victory in Sunday's F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Perez took advantage of an early safety car to stop for new tyres and leapfrog Verstappen in the other Red Bull. The Mexican controlled the remainder of the race to take the chequered flag 2.1 seconds clear of Verstappen.

Charles Leclerc, who started on pole position, finished third for Ferrari with Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso fourth. Lewis Hamilton finished sixth, two places ahead of Mercedes team-mate George Russell.

Perez's win moves him to within six points of Verstappen in the drivers' standings.

F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix highlights

  • LIGHTS OUT! Leclerc leads off pole

  • OVERTAKE! Verstappen takes first place

  • SAFETY CAR! De Vries goes off

  • CHEQUERED FLAG! Perez wins

Thanks for joining us!

14:12 , Marc Mayo

A quick turnaround for Miami in a week’s time.

This title race is very much on!

Recap the action with our race report!


14:06 , Marc Mayo

Christian Horner tells Sky F1 that the new weekend format meant Max Verstappen was on a “voyage of the unknown” in terms of set-up.

That explains his improved times in the final ten laps, when he finally landed on a more “comfortable” balance for the car.

Utter madness at the end

14:00 , Marc Mayo

Big questions to be answered as to who let those photographers and engineers on the pit lane before the race ended.

Time for the champagne!

13:56 , Marc Mayo

A delighted Sergio Perez grabs the bottle and joyfully sprays the podium as gold ticker-tape goes up over Baku.

13:50 , Marc Mayo

In the cooldown room, Charles Leclerc describes that race as the “loneliest ever”.

Race winner Sergio Perez on his victory

13:47 , Marc Mayo

“It was looking good, then the safety car and bunched everyone up.

“It was very close between us, we pushed to the maximum. We both hit the wall and he pushed me hard. We managed to keep it under control.

“I had a bit of luck [hitting the wall] especially with that front right!”

Max Verstappen next up

13:45 , Marc Mayo

“The safety car was a bit unlucky but the tyres overheated a bit because of following Perez.

“Once I got some issues sorted the last 10 laps were pretty good, but a lot of things learned and a good team result.”

Charles Leclerc gives his reaction

13:44 , Marc Mayo

“They have so much more race pace than us, they’ve found something we haven’t. Everyone’s working flat out to close the gap.

“Honestly, the feeling is a little bit better but when I see the gap, it feels like not eveyrone is pushing 100 per cent.

“You don’t really know how much it’s closed.”

13:40 , Marc Mayo

Max Verstappen tells team radio the safety car pit call was a “bit unlucky”, he seems not too disheartened by it.


13:39 , Marc Mayo


13:37 , Marc Mayo

A Red Bull 1-2!


13:36 , Marc Mayo

Red Bull engineers are running across the pit lane in preparation for their celebrations...

And Ocon is coming into the pits!


Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 50/51

13:35 , Marc Mayo

In comes Russell for Softs, while Ocon stays out in ninth - he’ll have to pit as he crosses the chequered flag.

He started the race in the pits, he’ll finish it in the pits!

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 49/51

13:32 , Marc Mayo

A fastest lap for Alonso as he looks to make a late charge on Leclerc for a podium place.

He’s still 2.7 seconds back, mind.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 47/51

13:29 , Marc Mayo

Once again, the Mercedes garage is readying tyres with a potential bid to pit Russell for a fastest-lap point.

His lead over Ocon means he has a free pit stop.

In the battle for the other single point on offer, Piastri is on Tsunoda’s tail as Hulkenberg continues to hold the AlphaTauri up before his mandatory stop.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 46/51

13:27 , Marc Mayo


Norris gets the job done on Hulkenberg into Turn 7 and he’s into the points places!

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 44/51

13:24 , Marc Mayo

Leclerc banks the fastest lap! Where did that come from?

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 42/51

13:21 , Marc Mayo

Still no pit stop for Ocon and Hulkenberg, in ninth and tenth, much to the chagrin of Norris and Tsunoda.

They do have to stop at some point - so they’re clearly still waiting for a safety car or red flag.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 41/51

13:19 , Marc Mayo

Fifth place up for grabs as Hamilton drags Sainz into view yet just can’t get close enough for an overtaking opportunity, and the second DRS zone is also not long enough.

Ten laps to go!

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 39/51

13:14 , Marc Mayo

Perez bags the latest fastest lap and he leads Verstappen by 3.5 seconds, so it will take something absolutely mighty for the Dutchman to fight for this win.

Meanwhile, Mercedes are preparing for a tyre change...

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 38/51

13:12 , Marc Mayo

Zhou retires as Alfa Romeo’s woes continue, he was nowhere near the points.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 36/51

13:09 , Marc Mayo

Ferrari radio into Sainz to confirm he will not need to stop again, with Hamilton barely over a second behind preparing for a last push at fifth place.

At the back, Bottas pits for a third time on a sour afternoon.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 35/51

13:07 , Marc Mayo

Fastest laps are being traded at will by the Red Bulls, Verstappen taking the latest but he’s still over two seconds back!

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 34/51

13:06 , Marc Mayo

Here’s your top ten as the final 15 laps approach:

  1. Perez

  2. Verstappen

  3. Leclerc

  4. Alonso

  5. Sainz

  6. Hamilton

  7. Stroll

  8. Russell

  9. Ocon

  10. Hulkenberg

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 31/51

13:00 , Marc Mayo

To add insult to injury, Perez lobs off Verstappen’s fastest-lap point with the best time of the race.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 30/51

12:58 , Marc Mayo

The Red Bulls don’t appear to be holding much back, with Verstappen now 13 seconds ahead of Leclerc.

But Perez has put half a second on Verstappen in the meantime, now 2.3 ahead. The Mexican is very much the favourite to win this race.

Verstappen is unhappy with his engine braking...

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 28/51

12:56 , Marc Mayo

Into the second half of the race now as Sainz is offered either Plan A or Plan C by Ferrari team radio.

He’s happy with Plan A, with a 5.7-second gap to Alonso and 1.7 lead on Hamilton.

Plan B must have been rubbish.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 27/51

12:53 , Marc Mayo

Guenther Steiner on Sky F1 makes very clear that it is Ocon in ninth holding up Norris and Co, not Hulkenberg in tenth who has also not pitted yet.

What it has done is bring Albon and Magnussen into the picture at the back of the DRS train.

Alpine must be hoping for a safety car, or something.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 25/51

12:50 , Marc Mayo

Russell tells team radio that Stroll is losing his rears as he lines up a move on the Aston. Further up the road, Hamilton is fancying a look at Sainz.

But DRS is not enough for either to make the move into Turn 1.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 23/51

12:47 , Marc Mayo

A big battle forming for the final two points places, which are held by Ocon and Hulkenberg. Neither have pitted.

Norris, Tsunoda and Piastri and hot on their tails - the trio that have shown good pace all weekend.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 22/51

12:45 , Marc Mayo

Russell is the only driver within DRS territory of the car in front, but he cannot make a move on Stroll down the start-finish straight.

Ferrari tell Sainz to “go hunting” on Alonso, who has built almost a two-second lead on his fellow countryman.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 20/51

12:41 , Marc Mayo

A bit messy from Stroll as he runs wide into Turn 16, allowing Hamilton to breeze past into sixth place under DRS!

The Aston was less than a second behind Sainz before that moment...

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 19/51

12:39 , Marc Mayo

Verstappen is not biding his time on Perez, his tyres are a little bit older than his teammate’s.

The gap is down to 1.1 seconds after a fastest lap, with Leclerc 5.3 back.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 17/51

12:36 , Marc Mayo

Down at Turn 4, Stroll hits the wall just as De Vries did... but avoids snapping his suspension and carries on with a shred of advertisement board stuck to his wheel rim.

“Car is okay,” he says.

Stewards’ verdict

12:34 , Marc Mayo

That was quick... no penalty for Perez! Right call.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 16/51

12:34 , Marc Mayo

“Well that was a s*** restart, sorry guys,” says Russell over team radio.

Meanwhile, race control are checking a potential unsafe release on Perez as his pit stop ended just in front of Leclerc under the safety car.

It was marginal, but surely legal.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 15/51

12:32 , Marc Mayo

Good stuff from Hamilton, he’s up to seventh after a fine restart and now a move into Turn 1 on Russell.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 14/51

12:31 , Marc Mayo

Great stuff from the Aston Martins!

Stroll gets Russell into Turn 2 after the Brit ran wide on the restart.

And then Alonso boulders past Sainz into Turn 4!

Green flag!

12:30 , Marc Mayo

Perez defends well from Leclerc with Verstappen also fighting Leclerc...

Into Turn 3 he makes the move!

Safety car coming in

12:29 , Marc Mayo

De Vries had clipped the wall and lost control of his front-left to incur his DNF.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 13/51

12:27 , Marc Mayo

Here’s your top ten under the safety car:

  1. Perez

  2. Leclerc

  3. Verstappen

  4. Sainz

  5. Alonso

  6. Russell

  7. Stroll

  8. Ocon

  9. Hulkenberg

  10. Hamilton

All eyes on the pits

12:25 , Marc Mayo

Verstappen did not save any time under his pit stop - with the safety car called for just as he left the pit lane.

In come Perez, Leclerc, Sainz, Alonso and Stroll from the top five.

Russell goes wheel to wheel with the Aston at the entry!

As it all shakes out, Verstappen is THIRD!


12:22 , Marc Mayo

De Vries has gone into a run-off area and looks to be struggling to drag himself off the kerb!

Red Bull respond by pitting Verstappen... and a safety car is called out just as he leaves!

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 10/51

12:21 , Marc Mayo

Hamilton pits and comes out 13th behind a bunch of midfield runners on new Hard tyres.

Scratch that, he’s 12th after Magnussen runs wide at Turn 3!

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 10/51

12:20 , Marc Mayo

Verstappen calls into Red Bull team radio to advise that he’s just clipped the wall... then does the fastest lap!

There has been a mistake though, with Perez suddenly half a second closer to the race leader. We’ve not seen any pictures of it yet, though.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 9/51

12:18 , Marc Mayo

So, where are the battles ahead?

Alonso and Stroll will fancy their chances at Hamilton in the battle for fifth, with the Mercedes unlikely to threaten Sainz.

Russell is also just over a second behind Norris, running eighth and ninth. Piastri will also fancy his chances against Tsunoda for tenth.

Then, of course, there is the battle for the lead. Verstappen has 1.3 seconds over Perez.


Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 7/51

12:16 , Marc Mayo

Stroll tells team radio he’ll hold off attacking Alonso as the Aston Martin pair bide their time in sixth and seventh.

The Spaniard reckons Hamilton’s tyres are letting go in front of him. Solid team work there, if it pays off.

At the back, early pit stops for Gasly and Bottas. They take the Hard tyres.


12:13 , Marc Mayo

Nice and easy for the other Red Bull, they now have a 1-2 with 1.3 seconds between Perez and Verstappen.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 5/51

12:11 , Marc Mayo

Perez is already on Leclerc’s tail with DRS almost providing him sufficient boost to grab second place into Turn 1...

This may not take long either!


12:09 , Marc Mayo

Verstappen’s first DRS shot sees him slingshot into the lead!

That was easy into Turn 1.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 3/51

12:08 , Marc Mayo

Russell has made up a couple of places early on, rising to ninth ahead of Piastri and Tsunoda.

Stroll also up a place, into seventh past Norris.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Lap 2/51

12:07 , Marc Mayo

No DRS yet down the start-finish straight and Leclerc is comfortably ahead of Verstappen back through Turn 1, he’s still well within the one-second gap needed for the rear-wing boost when that comes online at the end of this lap.

That yellow flag was a bit of Magnussen wing on the track after some contact, and has been cleared.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix - lap 1/51

12:05 , Marc Mayo

A good jump from the Ferrari forces Verstappen to settle in behind and play the waiting game over the next 50 laps.

Alonso locked up behind Hamilton but no contact through Turn 1.

A bit of debris in sector one brings out a yellow flag.

Into Turn 1...

12:04 , Marc Mayo

Leclerc leads off the line!


12:03 , Marc Mayo

It’s go, go, go at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix!

Formation lap

12:01 , Marc Mayo

The sun is beating down on Baku as the drivers head around the track before forming up on the grid.

It’s almost time...

Tyre choices revealed

12:00 , Marc Mayo

So, the tyre blankets are off and it is Mediums all the way down the pack until De Vries at the back on Hards, along with Ocon and Hulkenberg in the pit lane.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Starting grid reminder

11:58 , Marc Mayo

Azerbaijan Grand Prix countdown

11:55 , Marc Mayo

Not many pundits expect Charles Leclerc to last long with Max Verstappen on his tail, but can Carlos Sainz help him out with a good jump from fourth on the grid?

Tyre strategy

11:53 , Marc Mayo

A one-stopper is being tipped by Pirelli today.

Yet, warmer temperatures and faster degradation may force teams into a two-stopper.

Aggressive gameplan for George Russell

11:50 , Marc Mayo

Toto Wolff wants to see George Russell launch off the line and make up places “quickly” from 11th on the grid.

The Mercedes team boss describes his driver’s spat with Max Verstappen as “banter” - but isn’t expecting to catch Red Bull with his car“overall just lacking” compared to the leaders and Ferrari.

National anthem complete

11:48 , Marc Mayo

The formalities are finished with the Azerbaijani anthem very interesting, singers bedecked in green, red and blue deliver a pretty impressive choral performance.

Went on a while, too.

‘Tricky’ race ahead for Lando Norris

11:46 , Marc Mayo

Lando Norris admits strategy has been thrown a little bit in the air today with a stronger wind and higher temperatures.

With not much gained out of his McLaren update package, he tells Sky F1 it “won’t be easy” to hold onto seventh place with Lance Stroll and George Russell chasing him down.

Still, a “fun race” ahead, he says.

Not long to go...

11:44 , Marc Mayo

Just a quarter of an hour until we race in Baku!

Are you sitting comfortably?

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Max Verstappen back in the zone, says Christian Horner

11:41 , Marc Mayo

After his fury with George Russell in the sprint race, Max Verstappen is “absolutely fine” ahead of the grand prix.

That’s according to Red Bull boss Christian Horner, who has told his drivers they are free to race if fighting for the win - but doesn’t want a repeat of his drivers’ crash in 2018.

On that day, Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo tangled with bad consequences.

Williams not expecting much

11:36 , Marc Mayo

James Vowles, Williams team principal, admits that he’s not hopeful of Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant picking up points while starting 12th and 14th.

Despite their good form in qualifying, he says the car “unfortunately just drops back” in race pace, particularly in the warm.

He adds to Sky F1 that the top five teams are “exceptional”, demanding perfect conditions for any points finishes. However, this is Baku and he foresees a number of incidents this afternoon.

Latest odds: Max Verstappen the favourite despite starting second

11:33 , Marc Mayo

Max Verstappen - 2/5

Charles Leclerc - 7/5

Sergio Perez - 3/1

Lewis Hamilton - 22/1

Fernando Alonso - 25/1

Odds provided by Sporting Post, subject to change.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix countdown

11:30 , Marc Mayo

The grid is a hive of activity half an hour out from the race starting.

Podium the target for Lewis Hamilton

11:26 , Marc Mayo

In five races here in Baku, Lewis Hamilton has only managed two podium finishes including one race victory.

Fans may remember the Brit hitting the brake ‘magic’ button at a late restart in 2021, sending him off at Turn 1 before finishing 15th.

He starts fifth today.

Toto Wolff addresses Charles Leclerc rumours

11:21 , Marc Mayo

There had been talk of Mercedes approaching Charles Leclerc about one day replacing Lewis Hamilton ahead of this weekend.

Not true, according to team boss Toto Wolff.

He told Sky in Germany: “I haven't had a single conversation with Charles.

“Except at the airport where we discussed whether we should go to Starbucks or not, so zero. I don't know where the rumours come from. So [they are not true], not at all.”


Azerbaijan Grand Prix countdown

11:18 , Marc Mayo

The pit lane is open in Baku!

That means a chance for the drivers to get to grips with their cars, before some final tune-ups on the grid.

Alpine put through the wringer

11:10 , Marc Mayo

It’s been a tough weekend for the French marque, starting with Pierre Gasly’s car catching fire in first practice. He then hit the wall in qualifying.

The late changes to Esteban Ocon’s set-up has pulled him into pit-lane starts for both the sprint and grand prix.

Get to know Baku City Circuit

11:06 , Marc Mayo

It’s a track Ferrari have never won around with five different winners in the five years F1 has raced in the Azerbaijani capital.

Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Sergio Perez, and most recently Max Verstappen have all taken the chequered flag here.

Racetrack architect Hermann Tilke designed what must be described as one of his better circuits.

Running at almost exactly six kilometres, today’s race will run around the 20 turns over 51 laps. The DRS zones are between Turns 2 and 3, and down the start-finish straight.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Azerbaijan Grand Prix countdown

11:00 , Marc Mayo

Just an hour to go until lights out in Baku!

Tyre choices available to each team

10:57 , Marc Mayo

Ferrari have an extra used set of Mediums available for Charles Leclerc, while Red Bull have kept back new sets of Hards for both Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen.

Will that play a role in strategy?

We’ll find out who starts on what tyres just before the race.

Nico Hulkenberg to start in pit lane

10:52 , Marc Mayo

We have two pit-lane starters today, which is very much a consequence of the new weekend format.

Both Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg have been pulled from the starting grid after Alpine and Haas broke parc ferme rules to adjust their car’s set-up.

Having only one practice session to work on their set-up, plus the relative futility of the sprint for many drivers, has pushed them to gamble on a tune-up and starting at the back.

McLaren eyeing more points

10:47 , Marc Mayo

Lando Norris starts seventh in the grand prix after a bold switch to Soft tyres for the sprint failed to pay off.

That was not enough for the Brit though, who said post-qualifying: “The sequence of the upgrades working well, the car working well on this circuit, feeling like I did a good job with my driving, we should have been a lot better.

“We should have been P4 today. Bit disappointed honestly. We as a team didn’t make the right decisions in terms of what to do, but apart from that things were still positive.”

Meanwhile, Oscar Piastri is tenth, just where he finished in the sprint.

Final preparations for today’s pole-sitter

10:40 , Marc Mayo

It’s been a miserable season so far for Charles Leclerc, can he turn it around with a victory?

Reactions to Verstappen-Russell tussle

10:34 , Marc Mayo

Max Verstappen told George Russell that space will be at a premium in their next scrap after confronting the Mercedes driver post-sprint, labelling him a “d*******” after remarking: “Don’t expect it next time!”

For his part, Russell insisted: “I was on the inside and it was quite surprised that he was resisting it so much.

“I'm here to fight and the move was. Ever since we're in go-karts at the age of eight, you're on the inside of a corner at the apex is your corner and if you're trying to hold on the outside, you know the risk you're taking.

“If the roles were reversed, I'm sure he would have done exactly the same. It's part of racing. We'll move on, we're big boys and it's Formula One.”

Meanwhile, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff provided a diplomatic response.

He said: “If I'm Russell, I'm doing exactly the same. If I'm Max, I'm upset.”

Max Verstappen and George Russell collide in the sprint

10:29 , Marc Mayo

Will we see another battle between these two today? It’s unlikely, with Verstappen starting second and Russell back in 11th.

How the F1 World Championship looks ahead of today’s race

10:24 , Marc Mayo

F1 will be back in Baku

10:19 , Marc Mayo

Get used to seeing more of Baku.

The FIA has this week agreed a deal with the Azerbaijani capital to host F1 races through to 2026.

And it has also been announced that the city will be the location of the FIA's annual general assembly and prize giving in December, a ceremony which had traditionally been held in Paris.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix countdown

10:13 , Marc Mayo

With the drivers’ parade wrapping up shortly, they will filter back into their garages for the final preparations.

The pit lane opens around 11.20am BST before a final few tweaks on the grid, with the Azerbaijani national anthem set for 11.50am.

It’s then the formation lap and lights out at noon.


Tune into the grid parade live

10:07 , Marc Mayo

Baku weather forecast

10:03 , Marc Mayo

There is practically no chance of rain in today’s race.

Temperatures are steadily rising in the afternoon sun, heading towards a calm 24°C and a 12mph breeze is blowing across the track.

Starting grid

09:56 , Marc Mayo

  1. Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari

  2. Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull

  3. Sergio Perez (Mex) Red Bull

  4. Carlos Sainz (Spa) Ferrari

  5. Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes

  6. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Aston Martin

  7. Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren

  8. Yuki Tsunoda (Jpn) AlphaTauri

  9. Lance Stroll (Can) Aston Martin

  10. Oscar Piastri (Aus) McLaren

  11. George Russell (Gbr) Mercedes

  12. AlexAlbon (Tha) Williams

  13. Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Alfa Romeo

  14. Logan Sargeant (USA) Williams

  15. Guanyu Zhou (Chn) Alfa Romeo

  16. Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas

  17. Pierre Gasly (Fra) Alpine

  18. Nyck de Vries (Ned) AlphaTauri

  19. *Pit lane: Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Haas, Esteban Ocon (Fra) Alpine - due to breaking of parc ferme rules

How to watch the F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

09:51 , Marc Mayo

TV channel: The whole weekend will be shown live on Sky Sports with coverage of Sunday’s race starting at 10.30am on Sky Sports F1 and 11.55am on Main Event.

Free highlights are on Channel 4 at 5.30pm.

Live stream: Sky Sports subscribers can watch live via the Sky Go app.

F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE!

09:42 , Marc Mayo

Hello and welcome to Standard Sport’s coverage of the F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix!

Today’s race promises to be a cracker with Charles Leclerc on pole position, just as he was in yesterday’s sprint race - which he failed to convert as Sergio Perez took the win.

It is Max Verstappen starting second today however, and the championship leader will be confident of guiding his Red Bull to another victory.

Carlos Sainz may have something to say about that, from fourth on the grid.

Follow all the action from Baku City Circuit right here, with all the build-up, race action and reaction!