Red Bull’s Checo Pérez triumphs in Azerbaijan Grand Prix sprint race

Sergio Pérez shines in Baku, earning vital points for Red Bull; Leclerc, Verstappen follow closely in thrilling F1 sprint race debut.

The Mexican Formula 1 driver, Sergio Checo Pérez, won the Sprint race of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The representative of the Red Bull team will accumulate points for the standings thanks to this important victory.

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix is the first of six races this season with a sprint qualifying; on Friday, there was only one race to define the starting positions. This Saturday, the 17-lap race started, which does not influence Sunday’s positions.

What is a sprint race?

Since its introduction in 2021, sprint races have undergone several changes. The most recent is a points-earning format based on finishing place. Rewards are immediately added to your ranking points, with only the top eight scoring points.

According to the positions, points are distributed in descending order from the maximum of 8 points for the first place to the minimum of just one point for the last place in the table. According to F1, this incentive will encourage drivers to take more risks in this format.

For this first race of the 2023 season, Charles Leclerc started in the first position after a shootout in which he triumphed despite having a strong accident when he crashed into the wall and broke the front wing of his race car.

Credit: AP Photo
Credit: AP Photo

Sergio Perez dominates the sprint.

In the following positions were the two Red Bull drivers, Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen, in second and third place, respectively, which allowed them to take the lead on numerous occasions until Checo took the lead of the race.

It was on lap 7 where Sergio Perez could get within DRS range of Charles Leclerc and, without hesitation, made an overtake during the start straight to start lap 8 in the first place. He immediately left his competitor behind with no chance to get in front.

During the last few laps, he remained in the race’s lead. By lap 17, the Mexican was in first place with a five-second advantage over his closest competitor, Leclerc, who had to do an essential job not to give way to Verstappen.

Credit: AP Photo
Credit: AP Photo

The sprint ended with 7 points for Charles Leclerc, 6 points for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, 5 points for George Russell, 4 points for Sainz, 3 points for Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, 2 points for Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and 1 point for Aston Martin’s Stroll.

Five sprint races are still on the table. The next one will be held on July 1 in Austria, followed by July 29 in Belgium, then on October 7 in Qatar, October 21 in the United States, and finally on November 4 at the Brazilian circuit.