In a potential championship defining race in Baku, Ferrari are massively on the back foot as Red Bull take yet another win in a great display.
From the start it seemed like the Red Bulls were going to do very well when Sergio Perez took the lead into turn 1 off the start, Charles Leclerc dropped to second while Max Verstappen held third with Carlos Sainz just behind. The other jumps off the start were Sebastian Vettel as he made up a place into ninth, and Alex Albon getting himself a place into fifteenth.
As the opening laps wore on, Sainz was dropping back a bit from Verstappen and Perez was establishing a lead over Leclerc who looked to be struggling early on medium tyres.
The other notable thing on the start was Nicholas Latifi getting a 10 second stop/go penalty for a starting grid infringement.
On lap nine in what seems to be a regular occurrence for Ferrari, Sainz suffered a hydraulic issue forcing him to retire from yet another grand prix, being the third race this year he has not finished.
This all caused a virtual safety car to be deployed the next lap, more than half the grid came into the pits to put on a new set of tyres, among them being both Mercedes, Williams, and Haas drivers, as well as Leclerc, Yuki Tsunoda and Zhou Guanyu.
Next lap and Vettel made an attempt to pass Esteban Ocon into turn 3, Vettel missed the corner and was forced to take the escape road and spin himself round, losing two places in the process. Zhou also got past Lance Stroll for fourteenth.
After Leclerc’s pit stop, Verstappen picked up the pace and closed down on Perez, eventually passing his team-mate on lap fifteen after Perez was asked to not fight Verstappen for the lead with Verstappen having much more pace than Perez at the time.
Lap sixteen and Zhou overtook his team-mate Valtteri Bottas for thirteenth, in what had been a decent race for him this far into the race. The next lap Bottas was overtaken again this time by Kevin Magnussen for fourteenth.
Perez came in for hard tyres on lap seventeen, then two laps later Verstappen also came in and fit new tyres. Fernando Alonso pit as well, came out in sixteenth.
Things went from bad to worse for Ferrari when on lap twenty, Leclerc suffered an engine failure. This ended his race and Ferrari’s chances at getting anything from this weekend after a great qualifying.
Same lap and Norris came into the pits and comes out in sixteenth onto the hard tyres. On lap twenty-two his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was overtaken by Pierre Gasly to get into fourth. While Tsunoda overtook Ocon to get himself into seventh.
Lap twenty-four and this time it is the Alfa Romeo of Zhou that fails with an issue that forced Zhou to retire from the race, which was a shame after he was running a good race up until that point.
Fifteen laps later after Vettel’s error trying to get past Ocon, he does it this time on lap twenty-five making no mistake this time into turn 3.
Lap twenty-six saw Alonso get himself into the points passing Magnussen, showing some of the pace he had on newer tyres. On the same lap Lewis Hamilton got into fifth passing Ricciardo into turn 3.
A lap later Alonso gained another position getting himself into ninth by passing his team-mate Ocon. Norris also had some good pace on his new tyres getting past Albon for fourteenth.
Norris continued his good pace by passing Bottas getting up to twelfth on lap thirty-two. The next lap another engine failure happened, this time to Kevin Magnussen. At the end of that same lap, both Red Bulls pit, as well as Russell and Hamilton.
Another virtual safety car was deployed which gave the opportunity for Ricciardo to pit for mediums, who then came out in ninth. Ocon also pitted. Hamilton came out after his stop in sixth behind Tsunoda. By Lap thirty-six after struggling to get past, Hamilton managed to get by.
Tsunoda had issues with his rear wing, with half of it being broken, he came into the pits for the pit crew to try fix the issue. He did get back out after they taped the wing up, meaning Tsunoda was not able to use DRS for the rest of the race.
Leading up to lap forty-four, Hamilton caught up to Gasly who was in fourth, and while it took a few laps, Hamilton eventually got past Gasly, and got himself into fourth place. Lap forty-eight and the last of the retirements happened with Stroll having to end his race only a few laps away from the end.
Verstappen won the race, with a great drive, Perez came in second with a Red Bull 1-2, giving them a third 1-2 of the season. Russell with a third podium of the season comes in third with Hamilton coming in fourth. Gasly fifth with a good result for Alpha Tauri, Vettel sixth and Alonso seventh.
Norris was chasing down Ricciardo in the last few laps, but in the end the pace just was not there, and Ricciardo was unable to find the pace on his mediums to catch Alonso. Ricciardo finished just ahead of Norris for eighth and ninth in a McLaren double points finishes. Ocon rounded out the top ten.
Bottas, Albon, Tsunoda, Schumacher and Latifi were the rest of the finishers. Stroll, Leclerc, Sainz, Zhou and Magnussen all did not finish.
This result means Red Bull move even further ahead in the championship above Ferrari with Red Bull taking maximum points from Baku. Mercedes move closer to Ferrari after a good 3-4 finish for the silver arrows. McLaren remain in fourth far off Mercedes in third and an 18 point gap to Alpine in fifth. With Alpine’s double points finish, it takes them 6 points ahead of Alfa Romeo. Alpha Tauri remain in seventh, while Haas and Aston Martin are on the same points in joint eighth. Williams remain tenth still with only one points finish this season.
Max Verstappen extends his lead in the drivers championship, while Perez now overtakes Leclerc, having a 13 point gap over the Ferrari driver. Leclerc is now 34 points off Verstappen following this result.
With the Canadian GP next up in a week, questions loom over Ferraris reliability and whether they can fix their issues that are costing them crucial points in the championship fight. Can they find a solution or will Red Bull continue their winning streak and extend their championship lead?
F1 Azerbaijan GP 2022 Race Results
1 - Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
2 - Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
3 - George Russell (Mercedes)
4 - Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 5 - Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri)
6 - Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)
7 - Fernando Alonso (Alpine)
8 - Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)
9 - Lando Norris (McLaren)
10 - Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
11 - Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)
12 - Alex Albon (Williams)
13 - Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri)
14 - Mick Schumacher (Haas)
15 - Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
DNF - Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
DNF - Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
DNF - Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo)
DNF - Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
DNF - Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)