6 Winners and 5 Losers from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Who leaves Baku the happiest?
Max Verstappen made up for his 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix heartbreak by coming out on top this time around and thus becoming the sixth different winner in as many races in Baku – but it wasn’t all smiles for everyone in the field. We’ve picked out six winners and five losers from a hot and sunny Sunday…
Winner: Max Verstappen
For much of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend, it looked like Max Verstappen may get overshadowed by his Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez for the second race running.
But despite watching Perez take the lead at the start, putting a Ferrari between them, Verstappen showed superior race pace to catch and pass the Mexican for the lead (following Charles Leclerc’s retirement).
It was his first podium in Baku, fifth win out of eight races this season and 25th career win, tying him with greats Jim Clark and Niki Lauda in the all-time list.
Loser: Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc was in scintillating form in qualifying, taking his 15th career pole and fourth in a row. While he lost the lead at the start, an aggressive early pit stop during a Virtual Safety Car hauled him back into contention.
He retook the lead when the Red Bulls stopped and was showing great pace on the hard tyre – but a power unit issue forced him to retire from the lead for the second time in three races.
The Monegasque last converted pole into victory in Australia, five races ago, and now trails championship leader Verstappen by 34 points.
Winners: Red Bull
Red Bull’s reliability was looking ropey early in the season, with three retirements in the first three races. But they have improved things dramatically, and the reward has been three one-twos in five races.
It is also only the third time in Red Bull’s history they have won five races in a row (Vettel won nine straight races in 2013, while Verstappen and Perez took five on the trot last year) and their 81st win in F1, tying them with Lotus for fifth in the all-time list.
Two races ago, Ferrari were sitting pretty at the top of the constructors’ championship. Now they lie 80 points adrift of rivals Red Bull after their first double retirement since the 2020 Italian Grand Prix.
You must go back to Australia 2009, though, for the red team’s last double DNF linked to mechanical failures. They are now on a run of five races without a win and have just three podiums since Leclerc won in Australia.
Mercedes’ chances of scoring a podium in Baku looked slim on Saturday, as while George Russell achieved his second-best grid spot of the season with fifth, he was still a massive 1.3 seconds off pole.
But after both Ferraris retired, Russell inherited third to comfortably take his third podium of the year and maintain his record of being the only driver to finish every race inside the top five.
His team mate Lewis Hamilton was fourth – his first top-four finish since Australia and their third three-four of the season, which helped them close to within 38 points of Ferrari.
Loser: Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda had one of the strongest – if not the strongest – weekends of his Formula 1 career in Baku, as he hovered in the top 10 through practice before securing his best start of the season with eighth.
The Japanese driver was then running a comfortable sixth when he had to pit because of mechanical damage to the rear wing DRS system. That dropped him out of the points and there was no way back.
Winner: Pierre Gasly
There’s just something about Baku that brings the very best out of Pierre Gasly, the Frenchman having scored a superb podium at the venue last year.
He put his AlphaTauri in a season’s-best sixth on the grid and converted that to fifth for his first points since Australia, and the team’s best result of 2022.
Loser: Zhou Guanyu
Baku could have been Zhou Guanyu’s second points score of the season – and deservedly so after he climbed up into the points from 14th on the grid.
But a hydraulics issue forced his Alfa Romeo team to retire his car, for what was the Chinese driver’s third DNF in four races. That means his season tally stands at one point from eight attempts.
Winner: Sebastian Vettel
It’s not been the easiest of starts to a season for Aston Martin, but they’ve started to build some momentum since they introduced a significant upgrade in Spain – with Sebastian Vettel giving them their best result of the year with sixth in Baku.
Not only does that maintain the Silverstone team’s record of having a car finish in the top six at every Baku F1 race (including when they ran under the Force India and Racing Point banner) but also pulls them level with Haas in the constructors’ championship.
Loser: Lance Stroll
While his Aston Martin team mate Vettel shone, Lance Stroll had a more troublesome weekend. He clipped the barrier in qualifying and while he continued, he then crashed into another barrier, causing damage that forced him out.
The team later said his struggles were triggered by an engine configuration issue. On race day, he made some early progress from 19th but ultimately had to retire the car when the team said they spotted a vibration issue.
Winner: Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo has been on a rocky road of late, the Australian arriving in Baku with just one points finish in seven attempts so far this season.
But the McLaren driver looked to have turned a corner as early as FP2 and continued to make progress through the weekend, matching his team mate Lando Norris for pace. He then went one step better and beat the Briton in the race, rising up into the top 10 and ultimately finishing eighth.