Red Bull’s Sergio Perez won a drama-filled and chaotic Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday after his teammate Max Verstappen had a high-speed crash, leading to the race getting halted for some time. Verstappen remained unhurt but was seen extremely disappointed and dejected because he was headed for victory before the crash happened with just three laps to go. This is Perez’s first win for Red Bull and only the second of his career. Strangely, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who was P2 after the crash, did not even finish in Top 10 with Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly finishing second and third, respectively.
The drama on the streets of Baku left Verstappen retaining the lead in the drivers standings.
Perez said: “I’m so happy for today. Normally Baku is pretty crazy but I have to say sorry to Max.
“He deserved the win today and it would have been good for the team to get a 1-2 but the win is a fantastic result.
He inherited the lead when his teammate Verstappen’s left rear tyre shredded triggering a high-speed crash in the straight as he was set to cash in on his second straight win and third of the season.
“Tyre,” shouted a distraught Verstappen on the team radio.
After a red-flag stoppage lasting over half an hour to clear debris from Verstappen’s stricken car the grand prix resumed with a two lap sprint to the chequered flag.
Hamilton looked to have the measure of Perez but spun off at turn one leaving Perez to collect an unlikely win.
Pole-sitter Charles Leclerc came in fifth and Hamilton out of the points like Verstappen in 15th.
(With AFP inputs)