Red Bull twice in Baku with Verstappen and Perez.  Ferrari, what a blow!

In the eighth race of the World Championship the Dutchman triumphed in front of the Mexican. Disappointment for the reds who retire: engine knocked out for the Monegasque, hydraulic problem for the Spaniard. On the podium Russell with the Mercedes ahead of Hamilton, Gasly and Vettel

by the correspondent Giusto Ferronato

– baku (azerbaijan)

Losing hurts when the car breaks down even more. Nothing to do for Ferrari in Baku: in Azerbaijan the Red Bull double with Max Verstappen triumphant ahead of Sergio Perez and now on the run in the world championship. The two reds of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz ended up knocked out, on foot by reliability problems (engine for the Monegasque and hydraulic for the Spaniard). In the case of Leclerc it hurts even more because the problem thwarted yesterday’s beautiful pole and took place on lap 21, while he was in the lead. Of course the Red Bulls were pushing and Charles was not sure of winning. But an engine failure when you are in the lead and that nullifies the fourth consecutive pole, looks a lot like a white flag. The World Championship is still very long, true, but Red Bull, after the problems, no longer made a mistake, while Ferrari, after Australia, only rejoiced four times. But on Saturdays. A lot more is needed for the title. Podium for the always very positive George Russell, who is driving over the Mercedes hopping problems. Then Lewis Hamilton, then the excellent Gasly with the AlphaTauri. Following in the points area Vettel, Alonso, Ricciardo, Norris and Ocon.

sainz soon ko

At the start Sergio Perez was very fast, who skewered Leclerc in the first corner under braking. Behind them Verstappen held Sainz at bay, followed by Russell, Gasly, Hamiltom and Vettel. Latifi took 10 seconds of stop and go for not respecting the rules on the starting grid, with a mechanic who touched his car 15 seconds from the start. Perez immediately attempted the extension, taking 2 ”2 ahead of Leclerc, closely followed by Verstappen, on the attack by Ferrari. Sainz instead found himself 6 seconds behind Perez. Leclerc defended himself with his nails in this phase, preventing Verstappen from approaching the long finish straight and also gaining something over Perez. The calm before the storm on lap nine, when Sainz unfortunately parked in turn 4 due to a hydraulic problem, retiring. Ferrari thus decided to call Leclerc back to the pits under the Virtual Safety Car, mounting the hard wheels. Small flaw with the front landing gear that did not move immediately, but the Monegasque restarted in third position just 14 seconds behind the two Red Bulls, who instead decided to continue.

white smoke

Like Leclerc, Russell, Gasly, Vettel, Hamilton and Tsunoda also mounted the hard bikes. Then on lap 15 the change of position at the top: Verstappen reached Perez at the end of the finish straight and slipped him into the lead. The Mexican had no rhythm at this stage, losing a lot of speed and lapping almost two seconds slower than his teammate. Checo’s return to the pits the next lap was inevitable: the stop was not very fast, but I returned to the track anyway in third position behind Verstappen and Leclerc, but ahead of Russell. Finally, here is Verstappen’s stop on lap 19: hard tire for him too (10 laps cooler than Leclerc’s) and back on track ahead of Perez at 12 ”9 from Verstappen. On lap 20, the two Red Bulls thus set out on the hunt for Ferrari. A hunt, however, lasted very little: on lap 21 white smoke from the F1-75 engine and goodbye dreams of glory for the Prancing Horse. Engine knocked out on red number 16, two Ferraris crippled by two reliability problems in the same race. Late night in Baku and Maranello.

quiet ending

The race continued with the two Red Bulls comfortably leading, followed at 21 seconds by Russell, 42 by Gasly and 46 by Hamilton. The withdrawal of Magnussen’s Ferrari-powered Haas, with the engine knocked out, is a confirmation that there is something to review at the engine level in Maranello. The race no longer gave great emotions, apart from Hamilton overtaking Gasly on lap 44 to take fourth position. Verstappen, up front, managed the race without problems and in the end crossed the line 20 seconds ahead of Perez, who thus overtook Leclerc in second place. And so the spell of Baku was confirmed, six different kings in six races: Rosberg, Ricciardo, Hamilton, Bottas, Perez and Verstappen. Next race in Canada, in seven days.



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