Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was leading the race when his power unit failed after 20 laps due to a virtual safety car caused by teammate Carlos Sainz’s retirement.
Sergio Perez of Red Bull had taken the lead from poleman Leclerc at the start and held it until teammate Verstappen passed him on Lap 15; both Red Bulls then pitted, allowing Leclerc to retake the lead until his retirement shortly after.
Verstappen cruised to victory, pulling well clear of Perez to extend his world championship lead.
The Azerbaijan Grand Prix unfolded
On the short run to Turn 1, Leclerc maintained his pole position, but Perez leapfrogged him at the first corner to take the lead. Verstappen had to defend against Sainz at Turn 3, but he still finished third. Mercedes’ George Russell finished first, followed by Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), and Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin).
By the time DRS was activated, Perez had extended his lead to 2 seconds, while Verstappen began to press Leclerc for second place on Lap 5. Perez complained about a lack of traction, but he maintained his lead over Leclerc and Verstappen.
On Lap 9, Sainz pulled off at Turn 4 due to a hydraulic failure, resulting in a virtual safety car, which Leclerc, Russell, Hamilton, Vettel, and Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) chose to pit under. Leclerc made a slow pit stop, while Hamilton lost a position to Vettel after stacking in the pits behind Russell.
As the race began, Perez led Verstappen by 2.3 seconds, with Leclerc in third but 13 seconds back on fresh hard tyres.
On Lap 15, Verstappen caught Perez and passed him for the lead at Turn 1, while Leclerc was catching them both on his new rubber. On Lap 17, Perez pitted for new hards, suffered a slow stop, and rejoined in third, just ahead of Russell.
Verstappen pitted on lap 19, giving him a nine-lap lead over Leclerc as he rejoined 13 seconds later. However, Leclerc’s race was cut short when his power unit failed near the end of lap 20 and he smokily toured into the pits.
Verstappen led by more than 6 seconds at the halfway point and increased his lead in the second half of the race.
On lap 33, Kevin Magnussen’s Haas came to a halt, resulting in a virtual safety car. Verstappen, Perez, Russell, and Hamilton came to a halt once more, with Gasly and Tsunoda remaining out, the latter gaining a position from Hamilton.
Hamilton quickly reclaimed fifth place from Tsunoda, who then suffered a DRS flap failure. He pitted for some quick repairs and was warned not to use DRS again, but he was now 13th. On lap 44, Hamilton passed Gasly for fourth place.
Despite a trip down an escape road, Vettel finished sixth. Early on, he attempted to pass Esteban Ocon’s Alpine at Turn 3, but overshot the corner and spun out, dropping him to 12th. It took him over ten laps to properly catch and pass Ocon, but in the end, his blunder only cost him one position behind Hamilton.
The point scorers were Fernando Alonso (Alpine), the McLarens of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris, and Ocon.
2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix race results
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||51||–||25|
|2||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||51||20.823||20.823||20.823||19|
|6||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||51||1’24.099||1’24.099||6.800||8|
|11||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||50||1 lap|
|12||Alex Albon||Williams||50||1 lap|
|13||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||50||1 lap|
|14||Mick Schumacher||Haas||50||1 lap|
|15||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||50||1 lap|
|16||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||46|
|Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo||23|