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Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2023 The latest F1 news about the 2023 F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix will take place on 30 April 2023. The Baku City Circuit will be the venue for the race through the streets of the capital city.

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Round Four: Azerbaijan Grand Prix

The fourth race of the 2023 F1 season took place during the weekend of April 28th to 30th in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. The event was different from the previous three: the Formula One Management introduced a new format for the sprint weekend at the Baku City Circuit.

Leclerc twice at the front of the starting grid

The arrival of the new format meant that the regular qualification took place on Friday. During this session, the starting grid for the main race on Sunday was determined. Charles Leclerc set the fastest time and claimed pole position. Max Verstappen followed closely behind, with Sergio Pérez in third. The session was marked by several red flags: Nyck de Vries and Pierre Gasly parked their cars in the wall at turn three. De Vries his teammate Yuki Tsunoda had a strong performance, finishing in eighth place. Mercedes driver George Russell had a less successful session: he missed out on Q3 by a hair and would start the race from eleventh place.

On Saturday morning, another qualification took place: the so-called 'Sprint Shootout.' The result of this session determined the starting grid for the sprint race on Saturday afternoon. Once again, it was Charles Leclerc who set the fastest time, followed by the two Red Bulls. Despite a crash during his final flying lap, Leclerc was the fastest driver of the final qualifying session. This time, however, Pérez was the one who started in second place, with Verstappen starting the sprint race from third. Logan Sargeant hit the wall with his Williams, forcing him to withdraw from the sprint race - his Williams car was not repaired in time. Apart from Alexander Albon, there were no surprises. The Thai driver qualified seventh for the sprint race.

Leclerc starts strong, Verstappen frustrated

Polesitter Charles Leclerc made a good start and remained in the lead in the first corner. Despite a strong start, Leclerc was under pressure from Sergio Pérez. Verstappen had several run-ins with George Russell during the first lap of the race: the two had several touches. However, both were able to continue their race.

Tsunoda kisses the wall

After a relatively calm start, Yuki Tsunoda hit the wall just before the middle of the race. The AlphaTauri driver lost one of his tires and had to limp back to the pit lane, causing a Safety Car. Ten laps before the end, the race resumed. Pérez took advantage and overtook Leclerc for the lead. Verstappen was unable to keep up with the two rivals' pace, partly due to damage to his Red Bull car after the contacts with Russell in the first lap of the race. Nyck de Vries climbed up to fourteenth place. Pérez didn't let Leclerc take the win and won the sprint race; the Monegasque finished second. Russell finished fourth, followed by the Spaniards Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso. Lewis Hamilton finished seventh, ahead of Lance Stroll and Alexander Albon. Oscar Piastri completed the top ten.

Quiet start on Sunday

Charles Leclerc also made a good start during the main race. However, the Monegasque could not compete with Verstappen in his Ferrari and had to relinquish the lead to the Dutchman after four laps. Unlike in previous years, the start in Baku was without heavy contact and crashes. Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas touched briefly in turn two, but both drivers were able to continue their race.

Bad day in Baku for De Vries

In the seventh lap, Sergio Perez overtook Charles Leclerc on the main straight. Not long after, Nyck de Vries hit the wall, forcing him to retire from the race. The crash of the Dutch driver resulted in a Safety Car. Perez took advantage and went for new tires. Teammate Verstappen had just entered the pit lane before the Safety Car period, which put the Dutchman in third place behind the Safety Car.

Strong restart for Verstappen

In lap fourteen, the race resumed. Verstappen was sharp and quickly overtook Leclerc, which gave him second place. Fernando Alonso also had his teeth in the steering wheel and impressively overtook Carlos Sainz.

Problems in the pit lane

After the Safety Car, the ranking remained somewhat the same. Nothing strange happened until Esteban Ocon entered the pit lane in the penultimate lap. The Frenchman still had to make the mandatory pit stop and was called in by his team for new soft tires. However, a few FIA stewards were already in the middle of the pit lane, as they expected that no one else would make a pit stop. Ocon narrowly missed hitting some people, making it a close call.

Perez dominates

After 51 laps, the race was over. Sergio Perez had a nearly flawless race and crossed the finish line in first place. Verstappen took second place, and Charles Leclerc secured his first podium finish of the season. Check out the full results of the 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix here.

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