Azerbaijani F1 Grand Prix: Max Verstappen suffers from flat tire as Sergio Perez claims victory


Verstappen was four points ahead of reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton at the start of Sunday’s race and looked on track to claim the 13th victory of his career, but suffered a dramatic puncture in the later stages of the Grand Prix.

With five laps to go, the Red Bull rider’s luck was cut short when his left rear tire burst and he crashed into the concrete wall.

Verstappen couldn’t contain his frustration when he got out of his car and kicked the flat tire.

The race was then suspended to clear the debris strewn on the track.

The suspension offered Hamilton the chance to potentially win the grand prize or at least finish second and get ahead of Verstappen in the drivers’ title race, but looking to jump Perez on the restart, the Briton left the track as he locked up.

Perez accelerated to secure his first victory for Red Bull and only the second of his career.

Sebastian Vettel placed second to give Aston Martin their first F1 podium, while Pierre Gasly finished third in the Alpha Tauri.

Sergio Perez leads Lewis Hamilton in the Azerbaijani GP.

‘Lesson in humility’

“I’m so happy for today,” Perez said after his win. “Normally Baku is pretty crazy but I have to apologize to Max.

“He deserved the win today and it would have been good for the team to get a brace, but the win is a fantastic result.”

Hamiiton described his conclusion to the race as “quite a humbling experience”.

“We worked so hard to get back into the top 10 and I put everything on the line but I just lost in the end,” Hamilton told Sky Sports.

“I cut a switch that disables the brakes, so I went straight into the first corner on restart. I’m so sorry for the guys and girls on the team. I had no idea I even had it. touched the ‘magic’ change. “

Perez walks in the paddock before the Azerbaijan GP.
Before Sunday, Hamilton had secured 54 successive top 10 classifications, a race dating back to July 2018, when he had to retire at the Austrian Grand Prix. The Briton did not participate in the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix due to a positive Covid-19 test.

Verstappen leads the drivers’ standings with 105 points, Hamilton with 101 and Perez third with 69.

“We had full control – it’s very disappointing with what happened,” Verstappen told Sky Sports as he reflected on his accident. “We lost a lot of points – we could have opened up a gap, and since it’s going so close to the end, it’s very frustrating.

“That’s what it is – we’re still leading the championship despite hitting the wall.”

With six races completed, the next grand prix will take place in France on June 20.

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