F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE! Verstappen wins - Race result, reaction and latest news from Baku today

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·22-min read
F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE! Verstappen wins - Race result, reaction and latest news from Baku today
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F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE!

Max Verstappen extended his championship lead by racing to victory at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez took second to complete a commanding one-two finish for Red Bull after both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz failed to make it to the chequered flag with mechanical gremlins on a desperate afternoon for Ferrari in Baku.

Verstappen's title advantage over Leclerc has increased from nine points to 34 following what could prove a pivotal race in this season's championship battle.

Perez is now the closest challenger to Verstappen after leapfrogging Leclerc in the standings. The Mexican, who took a bonus point for the fastest lap, is 21 points adrift of his Red Bull team-mate.

George Russell came from third with Lewis Hamilton battling bouncing issues to finish fourth. The next race takes place in Canada in a week’s time.

Keep up to date with the race in Baku via Standard Sport’s live blog...

Race highlights

  • LIGHTS OUT! Perez takes the lead

  • VSC! Sainz pulls over with an issue

  • LECLERC OUT! Double DNF for Ferrari

  • VSC! Magnussen retires

  • CHEQUERED FLAG! Verstappen wins in Baku

That’s a wrap from Baku

14:55 , Marc Mayo

Red Bull bagged a one-two victory at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as Max Verstappen won his fifth Formula One race of the season -amid Charles Leclerc and Ferrari suffering a fresh disaster.

Thanks for joining us and you can recap the action with our race report.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Next up... Canada!

14:48 , Marc Mayo

14:43 , Marc Mayo

14:38 , Marc Mayo

Charles Leclerc was left stunned as his Formula One world championship hopes continued to fizzle with a retirement from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

After losing the race lead to Sergio Perez at the first corner, the pole-sitter gambled on fresh tyres under the virtual safety car brought out by teammate Carlos Sainz’s DNF from a hydraulic failure.

That enabled him to have at least an outside shot of fighting back to win the race yet Leclerc was forced to retire himself when his engine blew out after 21 laps in the Baku sun.

“It hurts, we really need to look into that for it to not happen again,” he told Sky Sports as the race continued.

Read the full story.

14:29 , Marc Mayo

Lewis Hamilton up next

14:23 , Marc Mayo

“That’s the only thing, just bite down on my teeth in pain... just adrenaline. I can’t express the pain that you would experience, particularly on the straight here.

“At the end you’re just praying for it to end. We’re in such a good position still, third and fourth is a great result for the team, we did a great job with the strategy and once we fix this bouncing we’ll be right up there in the race. But we’re losing at least a second just with bouncing.

“I’ll be at the factory tomorrow, we’ve got to have some good discussions and keep pushing.”

Christian Horner gives his reaction

14:18 , Marc Mayo

“Unlucky for Ferrari today but a great day for our boys who drove brilliantly. Max seemed to have a little less degradation than Checo, when Charles went out there was still over half the race. We asked them to give each other space if they found themselves racing and they did that.”

The winning moment

14:14 , Marc Mayo

14:07 , Marc Mayo

Check out the latest Drivers’ Championship standings after that race.

Read here.

Carlos Sainz gives his reaction

14:04 , Marc Mayo

“We know we need to improve on [the reliability] side, from my side we’ve been unlucky all season. It’s been tough to get momentum and I cannot do two consecutive races without anything happening. I need laps and to complete races to understand the car. It’s a shame but we’re a team and we will stay united.”

Final classification

13:59 , Marc Mayo

The champagne!

13:55 , Marc Mayo

After the national anthems and as the sun begins to set on Baku, Verstappen collects his trophy. That dousing of champagne will go down well in this heat!

Lewis Hamilton very gingerly exited his car

13:49 , Marc Mayo

“We all know this is a bit of a **** to drive at the moment, sorry for the back also,” Toto Wolff told Hamilton over team radio after a good finish filled with bouncing for the Brit.

He replied: “Well done guys, great job with the strategy and thank you for continuing to push. Let’s definitely make some changes, okay.”

That run of top-five finishes continues...

13:47 , Marc Mayo

13:42 , Marc Mayo


13:38 , Marc Mayo

A massive one-two finish for Red Bull, with Sergio Perez second with the fastest lap.

13:36 , Marc Mayo

Lap 50/51: Concern for Verstappen who has felt something hit his car, while Hamilton claims his seat has gone cold. With the chequered flag so near, both should comfortably make it home.

And McLaren tells Norris to hold position in ninth and finish behind Ricciardo as Alonso holds his Alpine up ahead nicely.

13:32 , Marc Mayo

Stroll retires due to “oscillations” from outside the points. Add his name to the list of drivers very keen to forget this weekend.

13:31 , Marc Mayo

Lap 47/51: A five-second time penalty for Latifi for ignoring blue flags. Add that to the earlier ten-second stop-go penalty for a grid infringement and the Williams, running last, has had a torrid afternooon.

Meanwhile, a battle is brewing for the final points places with Norris to be given a run at Alonso in seventh. McLaren want the Brit to swap with Ricciardo from two-seconds back and hand the position back if he cannot jump Alonso as a result.

13:25 , Marc Mayo

Hamilton takes a look on Gasly into Turn 1 and even the next corner as he heads into the next DRS zone, with a big pace advantage on the AlphaTauri...

And he makes it stick! That’s fourth place for Mercedes and a very decent points haul coming up.

13:20 , Marc Mayo

Lap 41/51: No DRS for Verstappen for the rest of the race, Red Bull tell the race leader. More issues on the rear-wing for the team with the precaution taken for when he laps cars. Perez is 15 seconds back.

13:17 , Marc Mayo

AlphaTauri mechanics rush out with the tape to strap us Tsunoda’s rear wing and send him on his way!

No DRS for him with Soft tyres plugged on the car now back in 13th place.

13:15 , Marc Mayo

Running sixth, it looks like Tsunoda will have to retire with a rear-wing failure. Only half of his DRS flap is opening, which is considered a safety issue and if AlphaTauri cannot fix the Japanese racer’s car up, that will be that.

Good news for Vettel, running seventh, with Alonso, Ricciardo and Norris currently completing the top ten.

13:12 , Marc Mayo

Lap 36/51: Nicely done from Hamilton, whose Merc has been bouncing like mad dwon the straight all race, and he now has ten seconds to catch up on Gasly for a fourth-placed finish.

Verstappen clocks the fastest lap out front as he looks to build a whopping 35-point lead over Leclerc in the title fight. Perez then beats that time, with a bit of a duel for an extra point emerging in the final laps.

Green flag!

13:09 , Marc Mayo

The AlphaTauri pair of Gasly and Tsunoda did not come in and now sit fourth and fifth, respectively, ahead of Hamilton.

13:06 , Marc Mayo

Pit stops from the top three as fresh Hards go on for Verstappen, Perez and Russell.

In comes Hamilton too, from fifth with Gasly in fourth carrying on.

13:04 , Marc Mayo

Lap 33/51: Magnussen is out! “Stop the car, stop the car,” his mechanics say over team radio as white smoke pours out in just the same way it did from Leclerc, another Ferrari-powered car.

Virtual Safety Car deployed!

13:00 , Marc Mayo

Red Bull tell Verstappen over team radio: “You know full well what it’s like to lose a race around here, 1:48 is the target, keep your head down.”

The Dutchman has a comfortable 9.1-second lead over Perez, an advantage which is growing gradually.

Meanwhile, Hamilton has pulled to within 2.8 seconds of Gasly in the battle for fourth.

Charles Leclerc gives his reaction to DNF

12:57 , Marc Mayo

“It hurts, we really need to look into that for it to not happen again.

“I can’t really find the right words to say, it’s very disappointing. We really need to look into it. We’ve been fast and we didn’t have reliability problems earlier in the season, now we seem to have them and we didn’t change massive things - if anything we made it better.

“It’s difficult to understand, we have to analyse it. I don’t have the full picture, personally it hurts.”

12:52 , Marc Mayo

Lap 26/51: Hamilton moves past Ricciardo into fifth place in what is looking like a pretty decent race for Mercedes, after all. Russell is running third with it set to be a rather lonely, if productive, afternoon.

12:48 , Marc Mayo

“Are you kidding me, again?” Zhou is stunned after being told to retire his Alfa Romeo from 12th place having put in a really decent race so far, overtaking teammate Bottas a couple of laps ago.

More issues for Ferrari-powered cars...

12:44 , Marc Mayo

Lap 22/51: That leaves us with Verstappen first and five seconds clear of Leclerc.

Russell is third and far clear of Gasly in fourth, having just overtaken Ricciardo who is yet to pit. Hamilton runs sixth.

12:41 , Marc Mayo

LECLERC IS OUT! A blowout on the Ferrari!

White smoke pours of of the back of his car as he heads into the main straight and it’s a second retirement in three races for Leclerc.

12:39 , Marc Mayo

Verstappen pits and comes out 13 seconds behind Leclerc...

Can he close the gap to either overtake the Ferrari or end any hopes of a two-stop? Perez is flying on the Hards to prove the Red Bull’s pace back in third.

12:37 , Marc Mayo

Lap 18/51: Great move by Hamilton! The seven-time world champion moves past Ocon into ninth and has a six-second gap to Gasly ahead of him.

12:35 , Marc Mayo

Perez pits for Hards and that is a slow stop, 5.7 seconds.

Leclerc flies through and even Russell has a look, Perez coming out only about a second in front in third.

Can he make a move? The run down into Turn 3 is just not long enough for the Merc.

12:32 , Marc Mayo

Lap 16/61: Is Leclerc on a two-stop? The Monegasque driver is flying on the Hard tyres and has chopped about six seconds off his deficit to the Red Bulls since pitting.

If he can pull towards them, he has a set of Mediums available for a late push for the win.

Meanwhile, Perez was told “no fighting” over team radio before losing the lead - not like he had any choice anyway. That gap is already 2.9 seconds.

12:30 , Marc Mayo

Of course, Leclerc being taken out of the equation has allowed Verstappen to move up to the rear end of Perez...

The Dutchman dives down the inside into Turn 1 and leads the race!

12:28 , Marc Mayo

Lap 14/51: Vettel, who likes Baku remember, is on the tail of Ocon with fresher tyres and throws in a move down the outside into Turn 3 - but locks up and heads into the run-off area!

It could have been ninth place but now the Aston Martin is 12th! He had taken the place with ease, too.

12:26 , Marc Mayo

Green flag!

12:23 , Marc Mayo

Leclerc is running third with a 14-second gap off Perez and a long old stint ahead of him on the Hard tyres.

12:21 , Marc Mayo

Lap 10/51: Leclerc pits! A gamble from Ferrari under the VSC with a ten-second saving on pitting compared to under normal conditions.

It’s a slow stop with Russell, Gasly Hamilton and Vettel also coming in. That double-stacking from Mercedes has allowed Vettel to take seventh off Hamilton.

Sainz pulls over!

12:20 , Marc Mayo

Down at Turn 4, the Spaniard has pulled into the run-off area after a big judder under braking.

Virtual Safety Car deployed.

12:18 , Marc Mayo

Ah, McLaren tell Ricciardo to hold off challenging Norris on team radio. So much for that battle!

“If this is his best pace... I’ve got more,” says Ricciardo.

Hamilton is losing time on Gasly and has Vettel just over a second behind for company...

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

12:16 , Marc Mayo

Lap 7/51: Leclerc has stopped falling back on Perez, who now leads by only 2.1 seconds in what is most likely the Mexican saving his tyres at the front of the pack.

Sainz is 4.3-seconds back on Verstappen with Russell fifth. A battle for 11th is also brewing between the McLaren duo of Norris and Ricciardo - the Aussie will certainly fancy jumping his teammate.

12:14 , Marc Mayo

Verstappen is losing a bit of time in the tight final section where Ferrari are quicker, with DRS active but not quite powerful enough to deliver him an overtaking opportunity.

Further back, Hamilton in seventh has DRS on Gasly. Can he push the Mercedes up the order?

12:10 , Marc Mayo

Lap 4/51: DRS is open and it is hard to see how Leclerc will keep Verstappen behind him with the Red Bull far quicker on the long main straight.

Perez has put 2.4 seconds on the Ferrari already...

“Red Bull is quick,” Sainz tells team radio. It sure is!

12:08 , Marc Mayo

Already a 1.8-second lead for Perez at the front and Verstappen is under a second off Leclerc, with Sainz 1.6-seconds back in fourth.

Meanwhile, Latifi is handed a ten-second stop-go penalty for a grid infringement. A mechanic continued to work on the car on the grid past the allotted time.


12:04 , Marc Mayo

Perez takes the lead into Turn 1 with Leclerc locking up - and just holding onto second!

A great jump off the line and he has the inside line to swoop through and build an early lead. Verstappen had a look at Leclerc but Sainz did a good job from fourth of keeping the Red Bull man honest.

Tyre choices...

12:01 , Marc Mayo

The pack is split between the Medium and Hard tyres, although the frontrunners are all on the Mediums.

“Elbows out into Turn 1,” Red Bull tell Perez over team radio.

Formation lap begins!

12:00 , Marc Mayo

The pack heads out into the streets of Baku ahead of the race getting underway...

It’s going to be a hot one!

11:56 , Marc Mayo

11:52 , Marc Mayo

Sergio Perez says ahead of the race: “Today it’s important to maximise the result, hopefully get both cars ahead of the red car.”

He starts second behind Charles Leclerc with Max Verstappen in third.

“We’ll try to have a good race for sure,” adds Verstappen. “They’re very quick in the corners so staying close won’t be easy but it’s a bit warmer now so hopefully we’ll have good tyre degradation and make it difficult for them.”

George Russell previews the race

11:50 , Marc Mayo

“P5 is going to be the maximum today on merit unless anything happens. Maybe a long afternoon with this heat but we’ll see what we can do. If we fall behind anybody I don’t think we’ll be able to overtake as unfortunately we’re the slowest on the straights.”

How the tyre strategy looks for today’s race

11:48 , Marc Mayo

P2 and P3 on the grid for Red Bull

11:46 , Marc Mayo

11:43 , Marc Mayo

How qualifying panned out

11:39 , Marc Mayo

Charles Leclerc will start the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on pole after a stunning final lap got the job done in Baku.

It’s now four poles in a row for Leclerc, who will be desperate to bounce back from disappointment on home soil in Monaco a fortnight ago when Ferrari made a number of strategic errors.

Teammate Carlos Sainz led the way in Baku after the initial runs in Q3 but Leclerc delivered when he needed to, almost three tenths clear of Sergio Perez, race winner in Monte Carlo, in second.

Read the full story.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

11:34 , Marc Mayo

Charles Leclerc has called on his Ferrari team to banish the mistakes ahead of today’s race.

“Good start, no mistakes, just try and do what we did in the last races without the mistakes,” he said after taking pole.

“The pace is there, the pace has been there in Barcelona, it has been there in Monaco. In Barcelona, it happens what happened and in Monaco we did a mistake and we will learn from it.

“If we do everything perfect tomorrow I think we can bring the win home.”

Just 30 minutes until lights out...

11:29 , Marc Mayo

Race preview

11:27 , Marc Mayo

For 12 days, Charles Leclerc has only needed to look out the curtains of his Monaco home to be reminded of the one that got away.

Strategic errors by his Ferrari team — an unwanted trademark in recent years but not so this season — cost him victory at a home race which had looked his for the taking all weekend.

Not normally one to point the finger, he aired his grievances very publicly in the aftermath of the race.

Read Matt Majendie’s look ahead to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Pit lane opens!

11:22 , Marc Mayo

The cars start to take to the track ahead of forming up on the grid...

The stage is set!

11:20 , Marc Mayo

A tough Saturday for Norris and Ricciardo, the McLarens back in 11th and 12th

11:16 , Marc Mayo

In the week: FIA president backs off in Lewis Hamilton row

11:13 , Marc Mayo

Mohammed Ben Sulayem has insisted that he does support Formula One drivers promoting social change after suggesting he was against Lewis Hamilton “imposing his beliefs” on the sport.

The seven-time world champion, along with Sebastian Vettel, has been a vocal advocate for greater diversity and environmental concerns in F1 - something FIA president Ben Sulayem appeared to disagree with.

However, he has since sought to clarify his stance and the 60-year-old tweeted on Thursday: “As a driver, I have always believed in sport as a catalyst of progress in society.

“That is why promoting sustainability, diversity and inclusion is a key priority of my mandate. In the same way, I value the commitment of all drivers and champions for a better future.”

Read the full story.

All smiles at Ferrari

11:08 , Marc Mayo

11:04 , Marc Mayo

With just under an hour to go until lights out, brush up on the Drivers’ Championship standings.

Read the full story.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton previews the race

10:58 , Marc Mayo

“I’ve tried literally everything with this car, all year I’ve been trying to do something different. I would say a good portion of the time it’s not worked well - but it is what it is and we’re faced with this reality and we have to keep working. It’s crazy to think how far off the frontrunners we are.

“I’m just conscious of whether we can make it through the race with the bouncing, it’s a track we are at risk of being overtaken.”

In the week: Daniel Ricciardo hits back at critics

10:54 , Marc Mayo

Daniel Ricciardo has insisted he has “not forgotten how to drive” amid talk of the Aussie losing his Formula One seat with McLaren.

A poor start to the season has created doubt over the 32-year-old’s future with McLaren CEO Zak Brown talking publicly of potential break clauses in Ricciardo’s contract, should he continue to be outperformed by teammate Lando Norris.

But the former Red Bull and Renault driver is adamant that he can come out the other side of this rough patch.

“It kind of ebbs and flows where sometimes I’ll get down on myself,” Ricciardo told Crash. “But then other times, I’m fired up and motivated to prove a lot of people wrong and prove myself right.”

Read the full story.

Two sets of Medium tyres left for Leclerc as Red Bull hold back the Hards

10:50 , Marc Mayo

Another record for Fernando Alonso

10:44 , Marc Mayo

Sergio Perez explains qualifying stutter

10:40 , Marc Mayo

Red Bull were unable to get Sergio Perez out for Q3 as quickly as they wanted on Saturday and the Mexican has discussed the “rush” before putting his car second on the grid.

He said yesterday: “I need to speak back to the guys. The car wouldn’t turn on, so I think there was a miscommunication. We just lost too many seconds and got all in a bit of a rush because it was tough getting there to make the lap.

“I think when you look back at it… to gain three-tenths is probably too much – probably realistically I don’t think pole was achievable today but certainly we could have been quite a bit closer – but I was on my own and that seemed to be quite costly here, especially on the back straight, not having a tow from the cars ahead.

“I could just see my delta, losing lap time through it. Basically, through all the straights I was losing quite a bit of time. But P2, we can still race from here, we should be strong tomorrow in the race and hopefully we can keep Charles [Leclerc] under pressure.”

Qualifying recap

10:35 , Marc Mayo

Lights out in just 90 minutes...

10:27 , Marc Mayo

Lots of build-up to come in the meantime!

10:23 , Marc Mayo

Brush up on the latest Constructors’ Championship standings ahead of today’s race.

Read the full story.

In the week: Nico Rosberg banned from F1 paddock

10:17 , Marc Mayo

Former world champion Nico Rosberg is unable to attend the Formula One paddock after it was revealed that he is refusing to get vaccinated for Covid-19.

F1 requires VIP guests, members of the media, team staff and drivers entering the paddock to be fully jabbed against the virus - something Rosberg, 36, is not.

Despite that, Sky Sports have continued to employ the German and are reportedly content to continue doing so, Rosberg having joined their coverage of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix via video link from his Monte Carlo home while commenting on the recent Monaco Grand Prix from just outside the paddock’s entrance.

Rosberg is quoted as telling German channel Sport1 that getting vaccinated made “no sense” for the 2016 world champion.

Read the full story.

The drivers’ parade is about to get underway

10:12 , Marc Mayo

It’s all over in F2

10:08 , Marc Mayo

Denis Hauger has claimed his first Formula 2 feature race with this morning’s victory in Baku.

Today’s starting grid

10:03 , Marc Mayo

Weather forecast

09:59 , Marc Mayo

Clear blue skies and barely a drop of rain in the sky!

No chance of rain upsetting this one with the Azberaijani capital bathed in sunshine today, temperatures topping 27°C.

How to watch

09:53 , Marc Mayo

TV channel: The race will be shown live on Sky Sports F1 and Main Event, with coverage beginning at 10.30am before lights out at noon.

Live stream: Sky Sports subscribers can also tune in online via the Sky Go app.

Free highlights: Channel 4 will be airing full free-to-air race highlights at 6.30pm on Sunday evening.

Good morning!

09:38 , Marc Mayo

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

It is a bit of an early start for F1 fans today with the race getting underway at noon, UK time.

So buckle up and join us for what promises to be another fascinating race...

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