Max Verstappen Wins 2022 F1 Azerbaijan GP, Leclerc’s Engine Fails
Both Ferrari drivers had to exit the race early, giving Max Verstappen and team Red Bull an easy win.
Max Verstappen just won the 2022 F1 Azerbaijan GP, following both Ferrari drivers exiting the race before the halfway point, increasing his lead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in the driver's championship. The Azerbaijan GP got off to an exciting start, with Red Bull's Sergio Perez jumping ahead of Leclerc, who started from P1, after he suffered an early lockup. However, Leclerc was able to not only hold off Red Bull's Verstappen but continue to create distance. Behind Verstappen, was Leclerc's Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz.
In lap nine, Carlos Sainz went off and crashed, suffering some sort of hydraulics failure. "Something has failed," said Sainz over the radio, as his day ended early in Azerbaijan. Sainz's crash caused a virtual safety car, which allowed Leclerc to pit for hard tires, dropping him to P3, leaving Max Verstappen in P2, who followed his teammate Sergio Perez in P1. However, team Red Bull told Perez to let Verstappen by and he did, giving Verstappen the lead.
By lap 17, Perez hit the pits, which allowed Leclerc to head into P2, behind Verstappen and gaining. Just two laps later, Verstappen headed into the pits, giving Leclerc the lead and some hope to break his several-week streak of bad luck. However, just another two laps after that, tragedy struck Leclerc yet again, as he suffered engine failure, ending his day in Azerbaijan in lap 21. “It hurts, we really want to look into it to see it doesn’t happen again. It’s really disappointing. We didn’t change too much, if anything to make it better. I have no news, I don’t know what’s going to happen.” said Leclerc after his exit.
With team Ferrari entirely out of the race, only team Mercedes posed a real threat to Red Bull, as George Russell in P3 threatened Perez in P2. Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton took P4 after passing AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly. However, Mercedes' car troubles continued, as the cars' bouncing issues were causing Hamilton serious back pain, which gave team Red Bull a comfortable lead.
In the end, Verstappen and Perez would cruise to an easy one-two victory for team Red Bull, with team Mercedes' Russell and Hamilton taking positions three and four, respectively. Today's win in Azerbaijan puts Max Verstappen comfortably in the lead for the 2022 F1 driver's championship, with 150 points. After Leclerc's engine failure, causing not only another DNF but his fourth race in a row without a podium finish, he drops to third place in the driver's championship, with 116 points. Leclerc's drop allowed Sergio Perez to jump in to second place, with 129 points.
Next up is the 2022 F1 Canadian GP, next Sunday July 19, where Verstappen will look to increase his lead in the driver's championship, as Leclerc and team Ferrari look to break their streak of bad luck and finally get back on the podium.
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