F1 Race Baku 2021: Tire Damage Costs Verstappen Out OF The Race !

Max Verstappen was on his way to a sure win, but retired while in the lead with a puncture - Sergio Perez wins ahead of Sebastian Vettel

Dramatic end to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Max Verstappen (Red Bull) already looked like the sure winner when a puncture in the 47th of 51 laps in Baku cost him the race. His team-mate Sergio Perez, who celebrated his second victory in Formula 1, benefited from this - ahead of Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) and Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri).

Max Varstappen

Thanks to a cleverly executed strategy and a determined duel, Vettel rewarded himself with his first podium since Ferrari left and thus maintained his top 4 series in Baku.

After the race, tire manufacturer Pirelli was in the spotlight, because before Verstappen Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) had already suffered tire damage at high speed - with Stroll in the 30th, with Verstappen in the 29th lap of Hard.

After the Verstappen crash, the race was initially continued behind the safety car and then interrupted with a red flag. Then it was restarted again (standing), but Perez did not allow the butter to be removed from the bread.

Although he initially lost the starting duel against Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), who had actually decided not to risk anything more with regard to the World Cup ("It's a marathon and not a sprint"). But Hamilton slowed down in the first corner and fell out of the points, which means that Verstappen was able to defend the championship lead despite his failure.

Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) finished fourth, ahead of Lando Norris (McLaren) and Fernando Alonso (Alpine).

Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) delivered a disappointing performance (with a different rear wing than Hamilton) and ended up in twelfth place.

Despite a problem at the second pit stop, Mick Schumacher finished 15th, behind his Haas teammate Nikita Masepin.

Why did Hamilton lose the lead at the pit stop?

First, because Baku - just like Monaco recently - was an over and not an undercut race. Or, in other words: the advantage was not for those who came to the pits earlier, but rather for those who could stay outside longer. And Hamilton came on lap 11, one lap ahead of Verstappen and two laps ahead of Perez, to switch straight from soft to hard.

That took revenge. Also because the Mercedes pit crew had a bit of bad luck and Hamilton's downtime was extended to 4.6 seconds because Gasly was just driving past in the pit lane and that would otherwise have given an unsafe clearance. So Verstappen took the lead thanks to the pit stop timed one lap later.

In fact, even Perez would have advanced from P3 to P1 at the right moment thanks to two faster laps. At the Mexican Red Bull did not make an optimal pit stop (4.3 against Verstappen's 1.9 seconds). At least the command post did not have the problem of having to put Verstappen in the lead with a stable order.

Why didn't Verstappen start with the tires from Q2?

The FIA ​​documents before the start showed that all four tires on the number 33 car had been changed. It is not uncommon for individual tires on the starting tire set to be replaced if the damage can be proven - and then permitted if the FIA ​​gives its consent.

This permission was granted because Verstappen was asked to the FIA ​​scales after Q2 and fresh paint from painting work was still applied there. Specifically, workers had painted a Formula 1 logo on the asphalt and Verstappen drove over it. The color came on the hot tires and would have meant a grip disadvantage for the start. Therefore, Verstappen was allowed to switch to another used set of tires.

Verstappen drove a lap more on the original sentence in Q2: "I was missing a bit of driving time," said the Red Bull driver on Saturday after qualifying. "I wasn't entirely satisfied with my first lap, and I thought it could be done a little more. It was like that."

What role did the pole setter play in the race?

No. Leclerc won the start, but as expected, he could not keep the pace of the top teams. Hamilton passed him quickly, later he couldn't really defend himself against the two Red Bulls because of the DR's disadvantage. Due to the pit strategy, he fell behind Gasly, so that he finally finished fourth. That roughly corresponds to Ferrari's racing performance this Sunday.

Normally, Leclerc should have landed further upfront, but when the race restarted he let Vettel take him by surprise at Turn 1. When trying to counterattack at Turn 2, Leclerc braked so late that he almost rushed into the Aston Martin. After that, his tires were no longer in the best condition.

On the first lap after the restart, Leclerc passed Gasly, so that he was briefly in third place. But Gasly was able to counter again.

Was Vettel's strategy right?

Tends to be no. Aston Martin may have pitted him a few laps early. Vettel put on an overcut and was faster than Gasly and Leclerc, who had already switched to new tires. A few more laps, then he could probably have been dangerous for them.

So Vettel had to regulate it in a direct duel, and he did: Immediately after the restart, he overtook Leclerc, and one lap later, Gasly. In the last phase of the race he could not quite, but almost keep up with the pace of the top 3.

In the chaos of the restart after the Verstappen crash, Vettel drove to P2.

What caused the Stroll crash?

A tire damaged on the left rear. On lap 30, the Aston Martin driver was the last driver who had not yet pitted. He started on hard and pursued the strategy of going on the overcut with the longest possible first stint. That looked good up to that point. The Aston Martin was in P4 and still posted competitive times.

His Pirelli tires didn't play along and failed on the long start and finish straight at almost top speed. Stroll was audibly startled on the pit radio but remained unharmed. Without the crash, a top 10 result might have been achievable for him.

What went wrong with Carlos Sainz?

The Spaniard was already unlucky in qualifying when Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) crashed in front of him, and so it went on in the race. Right at the start he lost one position to Perez and was only sixth. His teammate Leclerc was leading the race.

Then Ferrari called him for the first pit stop relatively early, which was a dubious decision anyway because of the overcut tendency. Sainz immediately doubled and drove into the emergency exit because of a driving error on fresh, hard tires. He almost rammed an Alfa while pushing it back - lucky that the FIA ​​commissioners didn't punish it.

After that, Sainz no longer played a role in the front positions. He picked up four championship points in eighth place.

This race analysis is updated continuously. The final version is only online when this notice disappears. We, therefore, recommend reloading the page several times.

(Image Source - Google l Image by - Planetf1.com)

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