Azerbaijan GP: Perez wins as title rivals fail to score after dramatic ending

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Sergio Perez claimed his second Formula 1 win, and first for Red Bull, after a dramatic conclusion to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Teammate Max Verstappen had looked on course for victory entering the closing laps in Baku, but saw his race ended by a high-speed tyre failure with five laps to go.

That moment looked like giving Lewis Hamilton back the championship lead, but a mistake at the restart after Verstappen's crash also took the Briton out of the points.

The two incidents paved the way for Sebastian Vettel to claim second for Aston Martin, with Pierre Gasly completing the unexpected top three for AlphaTauri.

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Race Review

Polesitter Charles Leclerc holds the lead into Turn 1 as Hamilton and Verstappen stayed in formation behind, Perez gained two key places up to fourth.

Hamilton swept past Leclerc on the main straight to take the lead but is unable to pull ahead as the Ferrari remains in DRS range!

On the first lap the Monegasque slipped outside the one-second window, Verstappen would pounce for P2 with Perez following through on the next lap into third.

Leclerc would be the first of the leaders to stop for tyres, as Ferrari's pace began to falter. Worse for the Scuderia, a mistake from Carlos Sainz at Turn 8 dropped the Spaniard out of the points.

A slow pit-stop for Hamilton opened the door for both Verstappen and Perez to pit and resume first and second, demoting the Mercedes to third.

Gasly also jumped Leclerc into fourth, while Aston Martin ran long bringing both cars into the points.

Bottas was unable to make any progress from P10 on the grid, finding himself behind Lando Norris' McLaren after the pit-stop phase.

At the front, Hamilton tried to respond to Perez's overcut but couldn't stay close enough through Sector 2 as the Red Bulls began to pull away.

A processional stint was brought to an abrupt halt by Lance Stroll suffering a left-rear tyre failure on the main straight, spinning his car into the wall at over 300kph.

After the resulting Safety Car, Verstappen produced the perfect restart to stay ahead as Perez just held Hamilton at bay in second.

Sebastian Vettel was the big mover passing Leclerc and Gasly for fourth, Charles narrowly avoiding his former teammate after a big lock-up into Turn 2.

Further down, Bottas had a terrible restart dropping to 14th as those who pitted behind the Safety Car enjoyed a tyre advantage over the Mercedes.

Just when victory was within grasp for Verstappen, Baku had other ideas as the Dutchman became the second driver to suffer a tyre failure on the main straight with five laps to go.

That triggered a red flag with just three laps to go with Perez leading Hamilton and Vettel in the top three.

More drama was to follow though as Lewis looked like he had taken the lead from the Mexican at the standing restart.

But the Briton had no brakes when he got to Turn 1 and would drop to the back of the field meaning both title contenders failed to score.

That cleared the way for Perez to take his second F1 win with Vettel scoring his first podium for Aston Martin in second.

In the fight for third, Leclerc looked to have passed Pierre Gasly on the main straight, but the Frenchman responded into Turn 1 and would hold on to take his third F1 podium.

Charles also held off a charging Lando Norris in fifth. Fernando Alonso was sixth, crossing the line just a quarter of a second clear of Yuki Tsunoda in seventh.

Sainz recovered to eighth after his early trip down the Turn 8 escape road, Daniel Ricciardo was ninth and Kimi Raikkonen completed the top 10.

Mercedes failed to score a point for the first time since Austria 2018 as Bottas ended 12th and Hamilton 15th.

Just 0.074s covered the Haas cars over the finish line with Mick Schumacher pipping Nikita Mazepin in 13th and 14th.

Nicholas Latifi was penalised for failing to enter the pits behind the Safety Car late on en route to 16th.

George Russell's Williams came to a halt just before the red flag restart but he was classified 17th.

Verstappen and Stroll joined Esteban Ocon on the list of retirements after the Alpine had pulled in early with mechanical issues.

A simply unbelievable final few laps as Baku continues its reputation for drama right up to the chequered flag.

In the end, Verstappen still leads Hamilton by four points in the championship, as Perez jumps up to third, albeit 36 points behind.

Full results from Azerbaijan can be seen below: