Sergio Pérez has won the Sprint Race in Baku.
The Mexican held off Charles Leclerc and teammate Max Verstappen to take all eight points on a Saturday.
World Champion Verstappen was under pressure from the off and lost third place to Mercedes driver George Russell, the Dutchman unhappy with the latter’s move. Not even one lap had been completed before the virtual safety car was thrown, after Yuki Tsunoda hit the wall, losing his rear right tyre. With debris on the track, the full safety car came out a lap later, Tsunoda still trundling around with a damaged car that his pit crew couldn’t sort.
The SC came in at the end of lap five with Verstappen getting Russell back into turn one, with the latter’s teammate Lewis Hamilton scrapping away with Carlos Sainz. With only laps remaining already, you could tell it was a sprint race, with everybody desperate to make up places. Lando Norris gambled for a set of soft tyres under the safety car, to try and be fast until the finish.
Sergio Perez took the lead on lap eight, using his Red Bull’s straight-line speed with DRS to get past polesitter Charles Leclerc into turn one. Starting to pull away, the Mexican helped his teammate Max Verstappen to catch Leclerc by keeping the Ferrari driver out of DRS.
It was busy in the midfield too. On lap 15 Hamilton was the centre of an Aston Martin sandwich between Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll. Alex Albon was holding on to a respectable ninth place in his Williams, ahead of Oscar Piastril. However, with points only being scored down to eighth, neither would be adding to their tally.
Aston Martin took their first-ever points from a Sprint, finishing in sixth and eighth.
Pierre Gasly and Nyck de Vries, who have had struggles so far all weekend, improved to take 13th and 14thplace, but still no points for their respective teams.
The Grand Prix takes place at 12:00 on Sunday.
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