After Ferrari’s challenge disintegrated at the Azerbaijan Formula One Grand Prix, Max Verstappen rode his luck to an unopposed first Baku victory on Sunday, taking a commanding championship lead.
The Dutchman crossed the line 20.8 seconds ahead of Sergio Perez, who clinched a one-two for Red Bull despite being told not to fight Verstappen.
With a third-place result for Mercedes, George Russell maintained his record of finishing every race this season in the top five.
After 20 of the race’s 51 circuits, Ferrari’s dismal afternoon came to an end.
Charles Leclerc, who had started from pole and was leading the team’s challenge, drove into the pits from the lead with his Ferrari pouring smoke, his second retirement in three races.
Carlos Sainz, his teammate, had withdrawn to the side of the track with a hydraulic issue 10 laps earlier.
“Today we had amazing performance in the vehicle, we could look after the tyres and chip away at it,” added Verstappen, who knows the agony of losing the lead after crashing out when leading in Baku last year.
“The retirement was a little bit lucky, but the vehicle was quick today.”
Verstappen’s triumph was his fifth in as many races this year, and he became the sixth different Baku winner in as many races.