Pérez overtakes Leclerc to win F1 sprint in Azerbaijan

Perez beats Leclerc to win the Formula 1 race in Azerbaijan<br />

Baku, April 29 (BNA): Sergio Perez won a Formula 1 sprint in Azerbaijan on Saturday to extend Red Bull’s winning start to the season, as teammate Max Verstappen finished third with a damaged car behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

Leclerc started on pole – as he will at Sunday’s main Azerbaijan Grand Prix – but was passed by Perez just before the halfway point of a 17-lap race on the long waterfront straight.

The Mexican driver managed to win, reducing his deficit to leader Verstappen in the standings by two points to 13th, according to the Associated Press.

Leclerc held on to second place as Verstappen locked up on the last lap to give Ferrari its first podium of 2023 after a poor start to the season.

Red Bull told Verstappen on the radio that he had suffered damage to the floor of the car after making contact with George Russell early in the race, and had a puncture on his left side. Verstappen lost third place in the accident, then regained it on the safety car restart.

Red Bull have won all three Grands Prix this season, with Verstappen winning the opener in Bahrain and then in Australia, after Perez took pole in Saudi Arabia.

American driver Logan Sargeant was pulled from the race by Williams after the team was unable to repair collision damage in time. He had qualified 15th for the sprint after crashing into a barrier in the first session of the shootout.

For the first time, there was an abbreviated “shootout” qualifying session for the sprint race, as well as a standard Friday qualifying session for the Sunday Grand Prix. Leclerc qualified on pole for both races despite hitting the wall late in Saturday’s “shootout”.

It was the first time that an F1 race did not set the grid for the main race. F1 has stopped doing this in an effort to encourage drivers to take more risks for sprint points.


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