Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Baku Street Circuit, 2022

Verstappen cruises to Azerbaijan GP win as Ferrari suffer double retirement

2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix summary

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Max Verstappen claimed a comfortable victory in Baku after Charles Leclerc retired from the lead with a power unit failure.

Both Ferraris of Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr retired with mechanical faults in the first half of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, allowing Verstappen and Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez to take an unchallenged one-two finish.

George Russell finished third ahead of Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton in fourth, with Pierre Gasly taking fifth for AlphaTauri.

Track temperature was approaching 50C when the field lined up on the grid, with Leclerc on pole position and Perez alongside on the front row. All drivers who lined up in the top 10 opted to start the race on the medium compound tyres.

When the lights went out, Leclerc locked up under braking for the first corner and ran slightly wide, allowing Perez to sweep through into the lead. Behind, Verstappen and Sainz held their third and fourth positions, with Russell, Gasly and Hamilton in seventh.

Over three laps, Perez pulled over two seconds away from Leclerc in second, while Verstappen in third began putting his closest championship rival under pressure. However, the Red Bull was seemingly unable to get close enough even with DRS to attempt a pass on the Ferrari.

On lap nine, Sainz suddenly lost power in his Ferrari and pulled off the circuit at turn four, bringing out the Virtual Safety Car. Leclerc pitted from second place for hard tyres, but despite a slow stop, he rejoined in third place. Behind, Gasly, Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Yuki Tsunoda all pitted for hards, with Vettel jumping ahead of Hamilton through the stops.

With Leclerc out of his way, Verstappen began catching his team mate, the race leader as Leclerc, on hard tyres, began lapping over a second quicker than Perez, 12 seconds off the lead. Further back, Vettel ran off the circuit trying to pass Esteban Ocon for ninth, losing tenth to Hamilton.

At the end of lap 14, Verstappen had caught up to the rear of his team mate. Using DRS along the main straight, Verstappen slipped to the inside of Perez, who did not put up much resistance, to take the lead of the race. Perez immediately lost two seconds to his team mate over the course of the next lap and Perez pitted for hards at the end of lap 16, but lost around three extra seconds through a slow stop before rejoining in third behind Leclerc.

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Verstappen eventually pitted at the end of lap 18, switching onto the hard and rejoining ahead of team mate Perez in second, around 14 seconds behind the new race leader, Leclerc.

Verstappen began setting purple fastest sectors in pursuit of the leader, but then, on lap 20, smoke suddenly began billowing from the rear of Leclerc’s Ferrari along the main straight. The leader pulled into the pit lane and out of the race, promoting Verstappen into the lead, Perez to second and Russell’s Mercedes to third place.

With no Ferrari to worry about, Verstappen steadily pulled out lead over Perez. Such was his advantage, Verstappen’s race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase asked his driver to reduce his pace to help save his tyres.

On lap 33, Kevin Magnussen became the fourth Ferrari-powered car to pull out of the race with a mechanical problem after the two works Ferraris and Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo. The Virtual Safety Car was deployed, allowing the top three of Verstappen, Perez and Russell to all pit for a second set of hards, with Hamilton also pitting and rejoining in sixth behind the two AlphaTauris, who remained out.

With Hamilton’s fresh tyres to his advantage, he passed Tsunoda to take fifth, before heading off in pursuit of Gasly in fourth. By the end of lap 42, Hamilton was tucked into the slipstream of Gasly’s AlphaTauri and two laps later, Hamilton relieved Gasly of fourth using DRS on the run to turn three.

Out front, Verstappen had established a lead of almost 20 seconds over Perez. He ticked off the remaining laps to cross the line and claim his fifth victory of the season and fourth in the last five races. Perez finished second, over 20 seconds adrift of his team mate by the chequered flag.

Russell finished third to complete the podium, 45 seconds behind Verstappen, with Hamilton finishing fourth behind his team mate. Gasly claimed fifth for AlphaTauri, ahead of Vettel and Fernando Alonso in seventh. The two McLarens of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris finished eighth and ninth after McLaren imposed team orders to hold position, with Esteban Ocon taking the final point in tenth.

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2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix reaction

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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82 comments on “Verstappen cruises to Azerbaijan GP win as Ferrari suffer double retirement”

  1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    12th June 2022, 13:50

    Give Hamilton an Oscar for that performance. Even good ‘ol Mansell didn’t come close to that level of faking when he pushed his car….

    1. What do you mean? Getting your back beaten like that over 2 hours will definitely hurt you. Even the team acknowledged that they have to change something

      1. It’s better to ignore comments like this. It was the same for Vettel, Alonso and will be for Verstappen. They look to criticize them at any moment instead of appreciating their accomplishments.

    2. @barryfromdownunder

      Bad take. Hamilton is often a bit childish but this is absolutely not one of those times. I suspect you have never bottomed out in anything as even just once can be quite a shock. Constantly for over 2.5 hours can be damaging and Merc seem to be the worst offender.

      It is 100% on Merc to fix, but it is a very real problem.

  2. That is Ferraris limit, they can not compete and follow through the seasons with upgrades.

    They were lucky in Schumacher era, where you could have infinity of tests and could upgrade how much cash you have.

    Charles and Carlos will get ruined emotionally by incompetent Ferrari.

    Charles should look Mercedes seat.

    1. Specially now that Max and RB are putting Checo’s Telcel money to good use. Ferrari are done.

      1. 😂 Bill. Or should that be Dollar Bill.

        1. Ferrari is changing their logo to a Check Engine Light.

  3. This might be deemed as racist, but…Ferrari needs to Anglicise their team.

    They need a base in the UK, they need more British engineers, have English as the language of work, all of which will attract better minds to the team.

    The ‘Italian mentality’ was mentioned by newcomers to the team in the mid ’90s (the work ethic, the lack of attention to detail), and I feel it has crept back in. The lack of composure and persistence is something you saw with their football team (last time they reached a World Cup knockout was 2006, and the next opportunity is not before 2026). And you’re seeing this with Ferrari too.

    Celebrating pole positions after the recent record you have had is just so stupid when stuff like this happens.

    1. The lack of composure and persistence is something you saw with their football team (last time they reached a World Cup knockout was 2006, and the next opportunity is not before 2026).

      Didn’t Italy just win Euro 2020, though? And do you remember against which team they played the final and where?

      1. @hotbottoms That’s basically my point. The success went to the head of every single individual in the team, so much so they failed to qualify for the world cup, while England brushed off the disappointment and are going into the tournament as one of the favourites. Ultimately, looking at the results of Italian national football, Euro 2020 will be looked upon as a fluke.

        You keep seeing the same thing with their F1 team. Success on Saturday not translating into Sunday. Success in Australia has been followed by abysmal performances, every single race. Operationally, they’re probably not even in the top 3 or 4 of all the teams in F1.

        1. @wsrgo
          I’m not disagreeing with you on Ferrari’s issues and moving to England might help them (given that England has a huge Formula One industry).

          But linking this to the football teams of England and Italy is a bit ridiculous in my opinion. You know, the rest of the world thinks England is a constant underachiever in football – reaching the Euro 2020 final being the rare exception.

        2. petebaldwin (@)
          12th June 2022, 14:27

          I’m not sure comparing Italy to England in football is the best idea. One is wildly inconsistent but when they’re good, they win. The other is consistently bad…

    2. From the looks of it given these were all power unit or hydraulic failures they should look to Japan and not the UK. Honda/RBT are the class of the field.

    3. Why are all the other English teams doing so badly?

      1. I’m talking about a UK base. Red Bull has a UK base. Most of their personnel is British, and English is the language of work.

        1. But so many other teams have English bases and mainly English personnel and they haven’t won anything of note in years, if ever.

          1. Well Ferrari have the pedigree, the experience and the means. But their operations need a massive upgrade in efficiency, which could help if they were able to attract a more diverse personnel pool, but restricting all bar high-level engineers to Italy (and even that is dominated by Italians) makes it harder for them to attract talent, and keep them motivated by having a more open work culture.

    4. This might be deemed as racist, but…Ferrari needs to Anglicise their team.

      Being a life long Ferrari fan, I have to correct you on this one. This is a metropolitan legend parroted by the biased British anti-Ferrari media to denigrate the Italian engineers and to attribute Ferrari success to the British mentality.

      They need a base in the UK, they need more British engineers, have English as the language of work, all of which will attract better minds to the team.

      Ferrari have had a base in England, the design office in Guildford established by Barnard. What were the results in terms of championships. Zero. The team regained competitivity once they have closed that base in the UK and brought all the operations back in Maranello under the leadership of Luca Di Montezemolo. Ferrari since its creation has always been a multicultural environment decades before even the diversity and inclusion concepts become popular.

      They have currently a lot of British engineers some of them are senior leaders of the F1 team. For example, the strategist Ravin Jain as well as Jock Clear. The English is indeed the language of work, I don’t know what makes you think otherwise. It’s not uncommon for foreign staff and especially British engineers to work for Ferrari since the days of Harvey Postlethwaite, Jean-Claude Migeot, John Barnard, Steve Nichols… Some of them have succeeded and some of them were massive failures like James Allison, Pat Fry, Steve Clark…

      Even the dream team, apart from Ross Brawn and Nigel Stepney the other senior figures were either Italians (Di Montezemolo , Martinelli…) or other foreigners (Jean Todt, Rory Byrne…). The dream team was multicultural and not British. What football has to do with this ?

      The Italian mentality in football is about punching beyond your weight which demands a lot of hard work, sacrifices and discipline. Italy is one of the most successful nation in football history, second only to Brazil in terms of world cups. The Euro 2020 was won by Italy against England at Wembley.

      Look at Real Madrid this year with Ancelotti in charge, they have made miracles and won against much stronger competitions. Same team that failed last year with the great Zidane. England has a poor football record compared to Italy. I don’t know why you have brought football into the discussion to prove that the British mentality is better than the Italian mentality.

    5. That’s what I was thinking when many say they’re underperforming given their possibilities. Yeah, they have money and facilities, but in the end the people are the most important: having the best people, motivation etc. Given their nationalism, they kinda reduce their chances since UK is obviously a bigger/better pool of talents than any other country. Anyway, wouldn’t be so harsh as they have quite a number of foreigners in the team, then Mercedes, RBR and McLaren have the same possibilities for long time, the upper hand being the personnel. Actually, at least Mercedes always was a significantly more potent company in all departments.

    6. José Lopes da Silva
      12th June 2022, 23:32

      It’s not racist because italians are not a race.
      It’s just a stereotype. Like saying that Mansell got his ass kicked by Prost at Ferrari because he lacked English mentality.

  4. Leclerc’s WDC hope could be effectively over, although anything can happen over the remaining season.
    Surprising how 4 out of 6 Ferrari-powered drives retired for unreliability.
    RBR team order was unsurprising, perhaps even done to please Jos.

    1. @jerejj right. because Perez wasn’t pulling away from Charles, the team decided it was better that Sergio didn’t fight Max for the sake of Jos.

      Had the strategies been more similar and had the Ferraris stayed in the race, leaving Perez in front would have compromised RBRs chance at a win.

    2. Am all in for a fair fight – but 20 sec ahead, that too driving conservatively at the end? Come on mate.

      Even Checo said he was suffering with severe deg on the mediums and didn’t complain on the radio.

      1. @neiana @Just a Fan
        True, but a team order at the time, which eventually proved correct.

    3. Jos Verstappen Racing is indeed alive and well. Jos owns RB at the moment. Safe to say Max will be 22 Champion.

    4. @jerejj What team order?

      1. @robbie No fighting.

        1. Lol that’s common sense. Why fight a teammate when you are 2 seconds a lap slower.

        2. No fighting killed Checo’s morale. And then RB sent the real message. Checo’s combined pit stops took around 10 seconds whilst Max’s took around 5 seconds. Checo sent a passive aggressive message with the fastest lap. Also, for those that insists the 2 cars are the same, only Max was told not to use DRS at the end.
          If someone has the stats for the last few years, I would love to see Max’s pit stop totals vs his teammate’s totals. And then compare other team totals between their drivers. I think RB would be statistically different.

          1. I remember a massive difference between hamilton and bottas too, I think that’s not a thing that happened only at red bull.

          2. For the pit stops I mean.

    5. José Lopes da Silva
      12th June 2022, 23:35

      Here we have the “Jos Verstappen has secret compromising photos of Dietrich Mateschitz” theory again. We were missing it

  5. Even as a Ferrari fan, I hope Mercedes improves. Only then we may get a good championship. Ferrari have lost it.

    1. @knightameer Unfortunately, Mercedes is too far behind on outright pace to join the championship battles anymore.

    2. Sorry, 2022 is in the bin for Mercedes regarding the titles.

  6. Seems Riccardo cooked his medium tyres to quicky, the team orders screwed his first stint should of let take Norris in the first ten laps

  7. RB hand a win to Max by holding PER back. What a borefest this season is not worth watching anymore really.

    1. Oh wow didn’t know red bull could control Checo’s car and made him finish 20 secs behind. Should have done that from race 1.

      Come on, mate. Fair fight is what we want but it’s plain obvious VER was too fast today.

  8. Easy Max championship this year not as exciting as I hoped it would be to be honest. I have better things to do on Sundays

    1. And early Leclerc championship (since the situation kinda reversed now) would be more exciting? This season fluctuates from the start, from one extreme to another. But yeah, it doesn’t seem like we’re in for another twist of fate. Luckily, I don’t watch F1 because of battling for wins and championships (I welcome that, but it’s not too common), there are many good battles to be seen outside of top 3 teams.

  9. Disappointed to see Red Bull going full-on team orders at this stage in the season when Pérez isn’t that far behind in the points table, and perhaps even more so to see him going along with it in a season that will probably be his only chance to win the title.

    1. I feel the pace advantage was very clear and proven after the overtake. Max was faster (as also Checo confirmed post race) which isn’t a surprise either since bar Monaco this has always been the case between the two of them.

    2. What team orders? Checo himself admitted it was the correct decision, he finished 20 sec behind in the same car.

    3. MichaelN Except that wasn’t what this was, but nice try. And why would this be Checo’s only chance? Even if he doesn’t win it this year he can always come out of the box swinging next year. It’s up to him to take the equipment and the support he has and best Max with it. And of course he has to beat the whole grid.

    4. MichealN, I suggest you rewatch the race! Verstappen was a second quicker than Perez on the lap before passing and the over a second quicker on the next laps.

      In asking Perez not to fight, it prevented any unnecessary additional time loss to Leclerc, even the commentary team said that if Max failed to pass Checo when he did, he would have easily done so on the next straight.

    5. José Lopes da Silva
      12th June 2022, 23:46

      Name a team fighting for the Drivers Championship against a rival team that did not put their eggs on the Lead Driver to maximize chances over the last 40 years, apart from:
      – Williams 1986
      – McLaren 1999 (I’m considering both Irvine and Frentzen because at Spa 1999 it should be obvious that at least Irvine was a threat.)

      1. That’s true, and I remember those cases well, however weren’t there also 2007 and 2008, with mclaren and ferrari respectively not putting all eggs in one basket? And this obviously cost mclaren the title in 2007.

  10. Damn, Verstappen is definitely a Schumacher, better race pace than quali pace. Reminds me of Schumi winning when not qualifying on pole (and hence 91 wins and ‘only’ 68 poles).

    Imagine is Ver has Senna’s (or even Leclerc’s) quali pace. Unstoppable.

    1. Mate VER’s car is definitely better than his teammates just search for the details. The flapping DRS wing in practice! VER gets the lighter car.

      1. That’s why he was outqualified by Checo’s worse car I guess?

    2. Completely different reasons for winning more than getting poles though.

      Schumacher was all about fuel strategies and out of this world race pace to make It work.

      Verstappen has a lot of different ones including races he should have started on pole but botched it, like mexico on all 3 of his wins there.

      1. That’s true, however verstappen’s pace is often very strong, that was also true in races like mexico the past years, before he even got a title contending car, it’s not uncommon for him to give 20 sec to the closest car behind, although obviously this wouldn’t happen with leclerc still in the race.

    3. Agree with verstappen being a schumacher and in fact I’d say leclerc is like senna, more specialised in quali, he can still be fast in the races ofc, as senna was.

  11. Bad news for RB, mercedes scored well, at this stage, mercedes might very well come back and win this.

    1. I cant see merc coming back

    2. @peartree 😂 I think they should start by seeing what they can do about the 40 to 60+ seconds per race they are lagging behind. Any suggestions as to what they can do to not only claw that back but even more, since they’ll have to start dominating with both cars very soon in order to do what you fantasize about?

      1. @robbie. They need to reduce the porpoising in order to get quicker.

        1. @maddme That’s not a given. But I’m sure would be a good start. But given Ferrari’s similar pace to RBR with all the porpoising they do, I don’t see eliminating porpoising as Mercedes’ golden answer. There’s got to be more to it than that or they would be closer to the top in spite of their porpoising. But yeah like I say I’m sure a good start for them would be to eliminate the porpoising, and then it would depend on how the car would be affected otherwise from the effects of whatever it took to eliminate the bounce. What if they have to raise the car but lose downforce?

      2. @robbie They have the reliability and they might evade penalties whereas RB might not. I’m sure we have not seen the best out of that PU, Barcelona was a glimpse of the power they have hidden only for use when it matters most.
        The car looked strong at Barcelona but on slow speed tracks it looks much stiffer than anyone else, they look to be sticking to what they know.

        1. @peartree
          In Barcelona Merc were able to run their car low and had no porpoising yet were still nowhere near the pace of Ferrari and Redbull. They have a lot more than porpoising to fix it seems.

          1. Hamilton was going to finish in front of one Ferrari.

    3. Oh boy…….

  12. Leclerc probably won’t even celebrate his pole positions anymore.

    What’s the point?

  13. Really sad to see Ferrari implode (explode) like this. Again. So many seasons over the past decade or more they’ve started well and fallen back. But this year looked like theirs, finally, especially with Leclerc as their lead driver, capable of some outstanding qualifying laps. Red Bull only ever improve over a season, though, so unless Ferrari pull it altogether again rapidly, it’s all over.
    Mercedes/FIA: there’s a chance of serious long-term injury to your drivers. Just raise the ride height and accept your season is over. You’ve had the chance to sort it and failed. Admit defeat and protect the health of both drivers, whether they want it or not. It’s an obligation, they’re your employees, as we’re so often told.

  14. Usual RBR wingman strategy, no other team able to compete with them, easy cruise 1/2 for them. Championship is over already, as the only challenger will not be allowed to compete by his teams rules.

    1. Who is to say? The only challenger should firstly start with levelling Max race pace and consistency during multiple races. Then we can start talking about competing. A win in Monaco doesn’t suddenly qualify Checo as a competitor. Neither has any win ever qualified Bottas as one. The consistency of race pace is currently only matched by Leclerc (and Lewis in the past). All other drivers seem to have on and off days. That doesn’t win championships.

      1. True, but there’s more to racing than pace – and if Red Bull keeps engineering Pérez out of the way whenever he ends up in front of Verstappen (either because Verstappen takes a detour through the gravel, or has a mediocre qualifying result) then obviously Pérez is never going to be able to keep up in the championship.

        1. Bottom line, fair and square, Max is faster than Checo, but then we already knew that right? Hey I’m thrilled for Checo now that he is finally on a top team and in a top car and not in his rookie season on the team, and his elevated performance is showing because of that, but realistically when was Checo (no offence to you SP) ever touted as a Max/LH level driver?

          Today he was told not to fight because that was a no-brainer because Max simply had way more pace. If Checo can understand and accept that and be happy for his second place and fastest lap and second in the WDC, then anything any naysayers say is irrelevant.

          1. No doubt about it, but Hamilton was always generally faster than Rosberg too but because Mercedes was generally happy to let them race it out we, as the audience, still got two decent championship battles out of it that weren’t decided until the last race.

            Red Bull is now going out of their way to prevent that from happening, and they’re doing so very early in the season. That’s their prerogative, and Pérez doesn’t seem to want to fight for a title like Rosberg most definitely did want to do, but it’s still disappointing for the audience and also in light of Red Bull’s overall marketing efforts to position themselves as part of a celebration of competition and excitement across (extreme) sports.

          2. It’s easy to heap praise on lycra and commend them for letting Rosberg and Hamilton fight, but they had the luxury of having a car that was so far ahead of anyone else, they could easily afford to let their drivers battle it out.
            Red Bull are far from in the same camp. Ferrari are still quick, one DNF for Max and Charles is right there again.

            And this wasn’t even that. Max was clearly faster and Leclerc had the advantage of having had a cheap stop. Not letting the faster driver lose time was their best chance to win the race.

          3. I have no idea how my phone turned “Merc” into “lycra”. Sorry for that :)

          4. @matt: ahah, fun that lycra thing, I was wondering if mercedes was maybe owned by a company named lycra that decided to let hamilton and rosberg fight! But it’s indeed true, with a dominant car you can afford stuff like that, in any case I don’t find these 2 team radios unreasonable, I don’t think they’d have sent such a team order if perez, being ahead, could keep the same pace as verstappen.

  15. Gutted for Tsunoda. I joked they would duck tape the wing and they ended up doing exactly that

    1. Ahah, true!

  16. Championship over.

    1. nah, there are 6 maybe 5 cars with real chances right now. I can’t wait to see the top 2 when Europe races are done.

  17. I was not waiting for a race win on a track that suits to RBR car but DNF is really bad news. Leclerc is a very unique driver, I hope things turn to his favor soon.

  18. IfImnotverymuchmistaken
    12th June 2022, 17:20

    I don’t think Ferrari will be able to recover throughout the season, they are too sloppy.
    We know RB are good at development and upgrading of their car, and at this point they are already faster on race pace.
    Ferrari will just spiral down into the clutches of a recovering Mercedes. It’s far more likely Merc catches up to Ferrari till the end of the season than Ferrari to RB.
    Gone are the days when Todt and Brawn ran Ferrari like clockwork.

  19. Lost respect for NOR today. McLaren held up RIC early in the race. I think RIC would have finished ahead of ALO if he got past early in the race. NOR complaining that it was different at the end of the race is just dumb as every move and decision throughout the race affects the final result.

  20. Which problem would you rather have?
    1) Merc aero issues
    2) Ferrari’s reliability issues

    1. No.2
      Ferrari will be able to identify their problems and fix them. Merc still seem lost with their issues. I’d say it is having an affect on their plans for next year’s car too if its a fundamental design error that they haven’t figured out yet.

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