F1: Perez Snatches Baku Sprint Race Win From Leclerc, Verstappen Tangles With Russel

Perez overtook Leclerc on the second lap after the safety car restart, and never gave him the opportunity to close the gap later.

By Mihir Barve


2 mins read


Published on April 29, 2023

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  • Russel made contact with Verstappen on the opening lap as he tried to overtake the Red Bull
  • Verstappen sustained a damaged sidepod and floor after the incident, but he retook P3 from Russel.
  • Tsunoda suffered a puncture after running over debris from the Red Bull and made contact with a wall, triggering an early safety car to clean the track.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez made headlines today after winning the first F1 Sprint Race of the season, and his first sprint race win ever. The Mexican started the race from second place behind Leclerc. He immediately overtook Leclerc after the race resumed after the first safety car period, taking advantage of DRS down the long straight of Baku. Perez looked strong throughout the race, never giving Leclerc a whiff of a chance to retake the lead.

His Red Bull teammate Verstappen on the other hand had a poor race by his own high standards. Verstappen was passed by Russel on the opening lap and the pair made contact while this was happening, leaving Verstappen’s Red Bull with a damaged sidepod and floor. The incident also caused more repercussions as Yuki Tsunoda ran over the debris and sustained a puncture. Tsunoda’s tyre got separated from the wheel in the process and lay stray on the track, triggering a safety car to clear up the debris on the opening lap. Tsunoda later retired from the race from a broken rear suspension, as he had made contact with a wall whilst his tyre was punctured.

Verstappen then retook P3 from Russel despite the damage in a clean move on turn 1 using the DRS advantage, but couldn’t find enough pace to catch Leclerc for second. In a Ferrari car that was struggling hugely in the opening 3 rounds of the season, Leclerc showed incredible skill to bring home P2 after grabbing pole position for the sprint race as well as the main race.

In the end, Russel managed to finish fourth ahead of Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari, with Fernando Alonso edging out Lewis Hamilton for 6th. After battling it out for the last point on offer, Alex Albon’s “slippery” Williams lost its position to Lance Stroll, who finished 8th after his DRS started working again post issues in qualifying.


Last Updated on April 29, 2023

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