Double bad luck for Ferrari in Baku: Vettel dusts off not to stop Verstappen

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has been dominating qualifying in Formula 1 for weeks.

Double bad luck for Ferrari in Baku: Vettel dusts off not to stop Verstappen

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has been dominating qualifying in Formula 1 for weeks. But things are not going well in the race, as is the case for teammate Carlos Sainz. While Ferrari struggles, world champion Max Verstappen delivers. Sebastian Vettel drives a very strong race and Mick Schumacher comes to the finish.

World champion Max Verstappen has overcome his Baku trauma and is pulling away after the next debacle for Charles Leclerc and Ferrari in the Formula 1 title race. The Dutchman celebrated an unchallenged victory at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday, also smothering emerging discussions about his Red Bull supremacy.

Verstappen, who had never finished on the podium at the Caspian Sea city race before, celebrated his fifth win of the season ahead of his in-form Mexican team-mate Sergio Perez. The British Mercedes duo with George Russell and record world champion Lewis Hamilton finished third and fourth.

For Ferrari, a promising starting position turned into the worst-case scenario: Carlos Sainz (10th lap) as well as pole setter and title aspirant Leclerc (21st) retired with technical defects. "It's quite difficult. It's very disappointing, I can't find the words. We have to look at it very carefully," said Leclerc: "It hurts." Despite probably having the most powerful engine in the field, the Reds have been waiting for a triumph for over two months. The last time Leclerc won was in Australia.

Verstappen, who achieved his 25th success in the premier class, extended his lead in the drivers' championship. The 24-year-old now leads Perez by 21 points. Leclerc fell back to third, 34 points behind. Despite a driving error, Baku specialist Sebastian Vettel achieved his best result of the season after an actually successful overtaking maneuver on the 13th lap. In the end, the Aston Martin driver finished in sixth place and thus again scored points.

Mick Schumacher missed the hoped-for liberation. Starting from last place on the grid, he finished the race without an accident, but the race to catch up in 14th place was far from enough for the first World Championship point of his Formula 1 career. The growing criticism of his performance - most recently publicly presented by team boss Günther Steiner - is apparently increasingly affecting the German. After qualifying, Schumacher seemed agitated and spoke of being "annoyed". Before the start, Steiner complained about a "split from the outside". The situation at Haas remains tense.

Leclerc confidently secured his sixth pole of the season on Saturday. However, since this is worth less on the overtaking-friendly track in Baku than on other circuits, this was by no means a guarantee of success. However, Leclerc gambled away the good starting position right from the start: Perez passed the inside before the first corner, and Leclerc parried Verstappen's attacks with difficulty in the following laps. Sainz's retirement changed the dynamics of the race. Leclerc came into the pits on lap ten and changed the hard tire compound very early on. The Red Bull duo fell by the wayside, Perez led the field in front of Verstappen, but gave up his place five laps later without a fight.

All tactical considerations at the Red Bull command post in the long-distance duel with Leclerc became superfluous shortly afterwards. Smoke rose from Leclerc's Ferrari, with an engine failure, the Monegasse had to park his car. His bitter streak of bad luck continued in Baku: the technology went on strike in Barcelona, ​​and in Monaco strategic errors cost the long-awaited home win - despite pole position. Verstappen then controlled the race at the front and drove safely towards success.

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