The action-packed 2022 Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix saw Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to take on the highest stand on the podium of winners in Baku on Sunday.
Verstappen’s dominant performance and Ferrari’s double retirement fetched him an easy win to extend the lead in the rankings by adding 25 points to his overall score.
“Today, we had an incredible pace in the car,” Verstappen said in his podium interview after the race.
“We could really look after the tires and chip away at it, [then] pass for the lead. Then, maybe also, a tiny bit of luck with the retirements. But I think, nonetheless, our car was really quick today, and we could have closed that gap and we would have had a race on our hands. Really happy with how the balance of the car was today.”
Verstappen’s fellow driver Sergio Perez finished the Azerbaijan Grand Prix second, while Mercedes’ George Russell took the podium as the third-place winner. The seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton came in at number four, followed by AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly. Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo, Lando Norris, and Esteban Ocon have made up the 10.
Meanwhile, the race in Baku turned into a nightmare for Ferrari’s team. On the ninth lap Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz got off track due to what he felt was a brake-by-wire issue. Sainz’s teammate Charles Leclerc, however, was leading the race on the 20th lap when smoke was seen pouring from the back of his car.
“We were in the lead of the race, I was managing the tires well, we just had to manage the tires and the race till the end, which I think was… we were definitely in the best position possible to do that. Another DNF [did not finish] – it hurts…We really need to look into that for it to not happen again,” Leclerc said after the retirement.
The Azerbaijan Grand Prix was the eighth round of F1 championships in the 2022 calendar. The next stage of the race - Formula 1 Aws Grand Prix Du Canada 2022 – will take over 70 laps of the 4.361-kilometre Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal from June 17 to 19, 2022.
The first Formula One Grand Prix was held in Azerbaijan as the European Grand Prix in 2016. A year later, in 2017, Baku City Circuit hosted the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The following episodes of the race took place in April 2018 and April 2019. In 2020, the tournament was postponed in a joint decision by the officials at BCC, FIA, and the government of Azerbaijan due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2021, the F1 race in Baku took place without an audience.
The Baku City Circuit racetrack runs through several major streets of Baku, close to the main promenade along the Caspian Sea. Along with many long straights that make it the “fastest street circuit in the world,” the Baku circuit challenges the drivers with an extremely narrow section next to the Old City walls, a historical site in the centre of Baku. Measured 6.003 kilometers in length, the Baku City Circuit is the second-longest on the current F1 calendar after Spa Francorchamps (7.004km) in Belgium.