The reigning world champion won a nail-biting end-of-race battle with the Ferrari driver to claim his sixth win of the season and a second straight victory after claiming it. Victory in Azerbaijan.
The victory moved him 46 points ahead of his Red Bull teammates in the championship. Sergio Perezwhose early retirement due to a mechanical failure provided a blemish on the team’s sixth consecutive race win.
After moving into a commanding lead from pole, it was set to be another comfortable weekend for the Red Bull driver before AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda hit a wall on his way out of the pits on lap 49.
Six laps later, with the field at the exit of the safety car, a thrilling battle ensued between Verstappen and Sainz, with the difference being more than half a second on the final lap.
Yet the Dutchman held his nerve to keep the Spaniard at bay, showcasing his defensive prowess despite his preference to attack.
“It was really exciting at the end. I was giving it everything I had and of course Carlos was doing the same,” Verstappen said.
“He was pushing, charging, pushing, charging – naturally it is easier to charge when you are on DRS. The last few laps were a lot of fun.
“I guess I would have preferred to attack rather than defend but luckily it worked out.”
after a nightmare double dnf In Azerbaijan, Sainz led a Ferrari bounce-back, which saw Charles Leclerc finish an impressive recovery drive with fifth place.
Starting from the back of the grid after further engine changes, Leclerc driven through the field to close a three-point gap in the drivers’ championship over Pérez.
Lewis Hamilton ended another strong weekend for Mercedes with his first podium finish since the opening race of the season in Bahrain, with teammate George Russell securing a second third-fourth place in a row for his team. followed home.
Severe back pain – aggravated by car instability – provided another challenge in a tough season in Azerbaijan last week for Hamilton, who was accustomed to competing at the top end of the championship.
However, the seven-time world champion believes his team is moving in the right direction to close the gap on Ferrari and Red Bull.
“Honestly it’s pretty tough to get third place and it’s been such a battle this year with the car and as a team,” Hamilton said.
“We have continued to remain alert and focused and have never given up. It’s something I’m very proud of and inspired by my team.
“They are a little too fast for us at the moment but we are getting closer. We have to keep moving forward and hopefully we will take on these people.