Sorry, Big Cat. Sorry, Logan. Tough scenes out here if you're a Ferrari fan this morning! Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc both suffered car failure during today's Azerbaijan Grand Prix. For Sainz, it was a braking malfunction, while Leclerc's engine completely went up in smoke. Sainz's car couldn't even make it 10 laps, while Leclerc's engine failed at lap 20. Previously to the failure, Leclerc was leading the race due to an earlier pit stop than their rival, Red Bull.
Checo (Sergio Perez, Red Bull) go a fantastic start to the race by immediately overtaking Charles Leclerc in the first turn:
You can see a little bit of smoke coming out of Leclerc's tyres as he's trying to hit the first turn. This is most likely due to his brakes cooling off while waiting for the formation lap to finish. It was a great start from Checo and immediately resulted in Red Bull taking control at Azerbaijan.
Carlos Sainz suffers braking failure which results in a DNF:
That's Carlos' 3rd DNF of the year. He's been extremely unlucky all year and as an F1 fan, ya gotta feel for Sainz.
This resulted in a Virtual Safety Car being deployed. Ferrari took a gamble and decided to pit Leclerc to give him a fresh set of tyres for the race. This led to Perez extending his lead in first, while Verstappen took second from Charles.
Even though Checo was leading the race, he was suffering some traction control with his tyres. This led to Verstappen gaining rapidly on Perez and ultimately, overtaking him on the straight:
Red Bull engineers immediately inform Checo to not fight with his teammate…
Now this is where tinfoil hat Rags comes into place. Would the engineers have given the same comms if Checo was on a better pace? We can't really be certain. In this scenario, Max was clearly faster than Checo and would've overtaken him at some point. So regardless of drivers, it was a much better scenario for Max's car to be in front of Sergio's car. But I still wonder what the situation would've been if roles were reversed…
Tragedy strikes again for the Scuderia…but this time it's an engine failure for Charles Leclerc.
It's a really unfortunate result for Charles as he set a blistering pace during qualifying on Saturday:
You can see the disappointment in Charles' face following the incident.
The biggest pain for Charles has to come when you consider how commanding his lead was at the start of the season. After the sprint race at Imola, this was the World Championship standings:
40 point lead on the second place contender (who's also your teammate) is a nice cushion. But today's World's Championship Standings are a completely different order:
Absolute pain for the Monacan. Hopefully Ferrari can figure out their reliability issues.
3 laps later, Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo) suffers some sort of technical failure, forcing him to retire the car.
Zhou was having a great race prior to this point, so he was extremely disappointed with the result. As a driver, it has to be infuriating to do everything you can to score points and suffer some sort of technical failure within the car.
Zhou is the first Chinese driver ever to be on the Formula 1 grid and he's still searching for the first points of his F1 career. Hopefully in the upcoming races he gets a little more luck on his side.
Another lap, another Ferrari engine failure. This time it's Kevin Magnussen's Haas that was forced to retire. Virtual safety car gets deployed which allows a few of the drivers to pit and change tyres.
Yuki Tsunoda's rear wing bizarrely splits in half! Thankfully, Alpha Tauri engineers are world class geniuses and come up with a solution:
The rest of the race was fairly boring. Lance Stroll somehow DNF'ed at the end of the race on lap 48. Very on brand after crashing twice in 30 seconds during Saturday's qualifying.
There also appeared to be some tension with the McLaren team. Norris wanted to overtake Ricciardo at the end of the race due to having slightly better pace. However, since the points result would've been identical for the team, McLaren told Norris to hold position to not risk anything. Norris didn't seem to happy with the decision, but he understood it was the smartest move for the team.
Baku 2022 Results
Verstappen 1, Sergio Perez 2! It's a beautiful day to be a Red Bull Racing fan!
That's 3 wins in a row for Red Bull after Ferrari took a commanding lead in both the World Championship and the Constructor's Championship.
George Russell, aka Mr. Consistency, extends his streak with ANOTHER Top 5 finish. This time it's a podium finish for Russell and he continues to outpace the 7-time World Champion, Lewis Hamilton. Russell is the only driver to finish Top 5 in all 8 races this year.
Throughout the race, Lewis was complaining about having back issues due to the porpoising of the Mercedes on the Baku straight. Regardless, Hamilton had a fantastic race and finished P4 after overtaking Gasly in lap 47:
Lewis' racing today resulted in him earning the driver of the day:
In the end it was Red Bull 1-2, Mercedes 3-4. It's safe to say Mercedes is back (somewhat), but they have a LOT of pace to make up if they have any hopes to truly compete with Red Bull and/or Ferrari.
So that closes up out here for the Azerbaijan 2022 Grand Prix! Up next is the Canadian Grand Prix next weekend. Until then, Godspeed and always remember…Push Push!