Ferrari’s disastrous form continued with both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz having to stop less than halfway through the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez took the lead from pole sitter Charles Leclerc into the opening corner after a solid start, which allowed him to hold onto his inside line. A lock-up for Leclerc also hurt him.
Stream all the action from the F1 Azerbaijan GP this weekend on Kayo. Pre-race coverage starts on Sunday at 7:30 PM AEST, with live racing from 9:00 PM. New to Kayo? Try now 14 days free >
Perez already had a 1.9 second lead over Leclerc after two laps completed, in a huge start for the reigning race winner.
Williams’ Nicholas Latifi was given a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for a grid violation after a team member touched his car while not allowed to.
Daniel Ricciardo, who started 12th and was the top starter on the hard tires with everyone ahead of him on the mediums, threatened teammate Lando Norris because of DRS on the straight as soon as it was activated.
Max Verstappen, who finished third, got into Charles Leclerc’s DRS range on lap 5, but the Ferrari – slower in a straight line – kept holding back the Red Bull.
McLaren asked Ricciardo to pull back and stop challenging Norris so they could build a lead over Esteban Ocon who was 13th behind them.
“If this is his best pace, I’ll have more,” Ricciardo told the team.
In yet another disaster for Ferrari’s out-of-form Carlos Sainz, he was forced to stop at Turn 4 on lap 9 due to hydraulic problems and his race was over. The virtual safety car was deployed.
Leclerc pitted for hard tires during the VSC, as did George Russell (fourth) and Lewis Hamilton, but the veteran ended up behind Aston Martin’s Seb Vettel through the stops as he was held up in the pits.
The concern for those who stopped was that it was too early, given the warmer-than-expected weather, to run a clean one-stop race. Ricciardo was seventh, behind Norris and Fernando Alonso who had not yet pitted, but ahead of Pierre Gasly and others.
Vettel tried to overtake Esteban Ocon for ninth, and had clearly done so, but blocked in a corner and ran up the breakaway.
Verstappen took the lead from Perez at the start of lap 15 thanks to the DRS, with Perez saying “don’t fight”, but Leclerc quickly came closer knowing that if he got close he could pass them late in the race via a two- stop strategy.
Verstappen immediately took a three-second lead within a lap, proving he had the pace to take the lead from his teammate. Perez pitted for hards on lap 17, made a slow stop and fell into a battle with Russell for third.
With all the cars struggling to get past the fast-in-a-straight-line Alpines, Hamilton had to go into a deep corner to pass Ocon for ninth, but managed the move on lap 19. Verstappen then went to the pits for hards, fell in second well behind Leclerc.
Ricciardo nearly passed Norris on turn one with the DRS, but clearly stopped just before he actually passed him, with commentator Paul Di Resta calling it “team orders”.
McLaren explained that Norris was allowed to stay up front to try and pass Alonso, before Norris finally went into the pits and failed, leaving Ricciardo behind in fourth but quickly passing Gasly as he feared.
On lap 21, Leclerc’s engine exploded when entering the straight, forcing him to stop.
“Problem Problem. engine. It’s gone. No no, it’s done,” he said.
Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu became the third dropout on lap 23 due to a technical problem.
Ricciardo was passed by Hamilton for fifth on lap 26 as the Aussie tried to go long during his first stint on the hard surface, hoping for a safety car later in the race.
Hamilton jumped on the team radio to declare that his back “killed him” due to the porpoises and collision of the Mercedes along the track on the straight.
Follow the Azerbaijan Grand Prix live below!
#Ferrari #error #cars #explode #Ricciardo #smokes #team #orders #LIVE