First podium of the season for Leclerc. Fourth place for Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin and fifth for the other redhead of Carlos Sainz
Red Bull double in the 2023 Azerbaijan GP on the Baku street circuit. The Mexican Sergio Perez wins ahead of the world champion and teammate, the Dutch Max Verstappen, increasingly leader of the 2023 World Championship. Third step of the podium, first for Ferrari this season, for Charles Leclerc, who had a high-level weekend with pole and second place in the sprint on Saturday. Fourth place for Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin and fifth for the other redhead of the Spanish Carlos Sainz, followed by Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin and George Russell’s other Mercedes. Lando Norris and Yuki Tsunoda close the top ten.
THE RACE – Perez doubles and after yesterday’s triumph in the Sprint Race, he also wins the GP. For the Mexican Red Bull driver it is the sixth career victory in Formula 1, while for the Austrian team it is the third one-two out of four seasonal rounds and the 25th one-two in Red Bull history. Verstappen archives the 81st podium of his career, the 4th this year.
Leclerc, on his 25th career podium, starts from pole but gives way to both Red Bulls after a few laps. On lap 11 De Vries ends up in the wall with the AlphaTauri with the entry of the Safety Car, just as Verstappen, race leader at that moment, stops for the first stop. The classification therefore changes with Perez and Leclerc who take advantage of a ‘halved’ pit stop, and overtake the Dutchman. At the restart from the safety car, however, Verstappen takes a moment to overtake the Monegasque’s Ferrari again, with Alonso managing to get the better of Sainz’s other redhead. From here to the end, the classification at the top does not change except in the fight for the additional point which in the end goes to Russell’s Mercedes.
LECLERC – “Red Bull are in another category when it comes to the race, our best lap in qualifying allowed us to start up front but they have a lot more pace and passed us straight away. They found something that we’re still missing, but we’re working hard to improve and already today there was a better feeling with the single-seater”. This is how Charles Leclerc expresses himself after his third place in Baku.
“We don’t know how close we got, seeing the gap in the end it’s likely that they didn’t push 100%. Even Aston Martin was faster today. Alonso pushed. I knew what his intentions were: he always tries to manage the tires at the start of the stint and push at the end. I tried to do the same thing. It came close but not enough,” he concludes.