The 2023 F1 Azerbaijan GP was a dramatic and unpredictable race that saw Sergio Perez claim a win for Red Bull after a late twist. The result has helped his chances in the 2023 F1 standings. The Mexican driver started from third place and moved up to second after Charles Leclerc, who had taken pole position, dropped back in the opening laps.
In this article, we will review the highlights and results of the 2023 F1 Azerbaijan GP, the fourth round of the season and one of the most exciting races in recent memory.
2023 F1 Standings Azerbaijan – 28 April to 30 April
If anyone wanted a return to the old ways after the long 2023 F1 Season break between the Australian and Azerbaijan events, they were going to be disappointed.
In the week before the event the whole schedule was turned on its head and now looked as follows.
|Friday 28 April||Practice 1||10:30-11:30|
|Friday 28 April||Qualifying||14:00-15:00|
|Saturday 29 April||Sprint Shootout||09:30-10:14|
|Saturday 29 April||Sprint||14:30-15:30|
|Sunday 30 April||Race||12:00|
The Friday qualifying session determined the Sunday grid and the Saturday Sprint Shoot out (fancy term for quali) determined the grid for the Saturday Sprint.
Azerbaijan F1 – The Saturday Sprint
Max Verstappen And George Russel Collide!
From the grid Max came under immediate pressure from Russell and an exciting tussle followed through the opening corners.
With the both drivers not giving an inch and going wheel-to-wheel, Russell locked his wheels into Turn 2 and came together into Verstappen’s side, before eventually passing the Red Bull at Turn 3.
Max was very unhappy and continued to vent over the radio for the next few laps
The race director saw it differently and ruled the collision as a racing incident.
The collision caused a visible hole in Max’s left hand sidepod. Max drove a masterful race in his damaged car and achieved third place. At the end of the race Max had some choice words to say to George.
Meet “Dickhead” And “Princess George”
“Dickhead” and “Princess George” were two of the unflattering titles which Verstappen hurled at Russell following the sprint.
You can almost hear the insults!
Max Verstappen being a gentleman and as eminently gracious as he always is!
In the subsequent media briefings both drivers shared a different view!
Amusingly Lando Norris joked about it.
He did however tell George Russell that he takes Russel’s on the incident.
Yuki Tsunoda Lost A Wheel!
Yuki Tsunoda had an interesting race. Towards the end of the opening lap his AlphaTauri only had three wheels attached and the fourth was seen rolling down the Baku City Circuit some way behind.
The damage was caused when he hit the wall on the approach to Turn 15. He made it back to the pits on three wheels (after a virtual, and then full safety car was deployed.)
The team checked for damage and sent him back on track! The suspension ultimately failed and he was recalled to the pit where the car was withdrawn and his race was over.
The stewards fined the team €5000 because they sent a potentially dangerous car out on track.
The final sprint results are listed below.
|1st||Sergio Perez, Red Bull||8|
|2nd||Charles Leclerc, Ferrari||7|
|3rd||Max Verstappen, Red Bull||6|
|4th||George Russel, Merecedes||5|
|5th||Carlos Sainz, Ferrari||4|
|6th||Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin||3|
|7th||Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes||2|
|8th||Lance Stroll, Aston Martin||1|
|9th||Alexander Albon, Williams||0|
|10th||Oscar Piastri, McLaren||0|
F1 Standings Azerbaijan F1 – The Main Race On Sunday
Most of the teams started the race on medium compound tires. Only De Vries, Ocon and Hulkenberg chose to run a strategic race on hard compounds.
With Charles Leclerc sitting on pole, Max Verstappen next to him, Sergio Perez and Sainz behind this was not going to be a boring race.
Charles had a smooth start and was in front when they got to turn 1. Perez and Verstappen stayed behind him. Sainz, Hamilton and Alonso made up the next three cars.
Verstappen stayed on Leclerc’s tail but chose to bide his time and to wait for the RS to be activated before overtaking.
As has become a common feature with the Red Bull, Max shot past Charles with DRS activated. Perez waited another lap and then did the same.
F1 Standings Azerbaijan F1 – The First Pit Stops
Lewis Hamilton pitted for soft tires on lap 10. At this point Perez started to close the 1.5 second gap with Max who was struggling with grip.
F1 Standings Azerbaijan F1 – The Safety Car Is Deployed
On lap 11 Devries hit the wall on turn 5 which resulted in a safety car. Verstappen pitted immediately and In a masterful move Sergio pitted and ended up in front of the pack.
The safety car was released on lap 13 and in the process, over the next few laps George Russel lost two places to Stroll and Hamilton.
Sergio Perez took his second win of the season followed by Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton.
|1||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||1:32:42.436||25|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+2.137s||18|
|4||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||+22.024s||12|
|7||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+51.617s||6|
|17||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas||+1 lap||0|
|18||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||+1 lap||0|
|NC||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo||DNF||0|
|NC||Nyck De Vries||Alphatauri||DNF||0|
George Russell scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race.
Max Verstappen Accidentally Swopped Places On The Podium
Nobody seems too have notices possibly because of the problems with Esteban Ocon in the pitlane, but Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc swopped their places around. Max stood in the No 3 spot on the right of Perez and Charles in the No 2 spot on the left of Perez.
The amusing thing is that no-one seems to have noticed until after the event!