Perez wins second Azerbaijan GP, Leclerc completes podium
Sergio Perez won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with Max Verstappen in second and Charles Leclerc, the polesitter, third.
The entire field got through turn 1 unscratched but things started to get heated right after it. Several drivers made contact further down the track - first, it was Norris and Russell as they were fighting for position with Stroll, and then, it was Alexander Albon on Oscar Piastri. The Williams touched the McLaren in the rear tire and suffered wing damage; and, as a chain result from the incident, Kevin Magnussen made contact with an Alfa Romeo.
It wasn't long until the Red Bulls monopolized the lead of the race - Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were already P1 and P2 by lap 6. They were followed by polesitter Charles Leclerc, and his teammate, Carlos Sainz.
The battle was on between Lewis Hamilton and Alonso for P5. However, the Mercedes pitted on lap 10, fitting a new pair of hards and coming out on P11 behind Nico Hulkenberg. The Aston Martins were yet to pit and running on the medium compound. Verstappen pitted a lap later for the same compound, and then, the Safety Car was out right after it, allowing multiple other drivers to pit during this period, including the Ferraris.
Nyck de Vries retired on lap 10 and was the cause of the Safety Car. The AlphaTauri driver clipped the wall and broke his suspension, stopping at the side of the track, unable to continue.
The race resumed on lap 14 with Perez in the lead followed by Leclerc and Verstappen. It didn't last long for the Monegasque, as the current World Champion quickly overtook him for P2 several turns later. Not much changed from there; the Mexican driver maintained the lead with 15 laps to go, and his teammate was sitting within 2 seconds from him in P2.
Hamilton was chasing Sainz for P5. The 7-time World Champion took advantage of the DRS on the straight but didn't manage to catch him. At the same time, Guanyu Zhou was told to box due to "an issue," and retired from the race.
In the end, the lead was unchallenged and it was Perez who took the win, with Verstappen and Leclerc behind. Alonso was unable to catch the Monegasque and finished fourth, just ahead of Sainz.
Hamilton, Stroll, Russell, Esteban Ocon, and Lando Norris completed the top 10 of the race.