Perez dominates in Baku to set up title assault

Red Bull rivals go head to head

Street circuit specialist Sergio Perez dominated proceedings in Baku to switch on his title challenge to team mate Max Verstappen, winning both the Saturday Sprint Race and Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix to close to with 6 points of his team mate - and rival.  On a weekend when F1 tried out a completely new format, with just one practice session on Friday following by Grand Prix qualifying, and Saturday devoted exclusively to the Sprint shoot-out and race, it was Mexico's F1 star who won through.

Although 3rd in practice and Grand Prix qualifying, Perez then qualified 2nd in the Sprint shoot-out and overwhelmed pole man Charles Leclerc to take the win on Saturday. That clearly set him up for a repeat showing on Sunday and he duly delivered, helping in no small part by a badly timed Safety Car on lap 10 which robbed Verstappen of his lead.  All is fair in love, war and Formula 1 safety car periods, and Perez was able to maintain his advantage despite Verstappen's best efforts.

This result sets up the prospect of Perez going for a remarkable 6th successive Formula 1 street race win at the Miami Grand Prix, a result which could pitch him to the top of the World Championship rankings.

Baku witnessed something of a return to form for both Ferrari and Charles Leclerc, the Monegasque claiming pole positions for both the Sprint and Grand Prix itself.  He finished a creditable 2nd in the Sprint race but had no answer to the Red Bull duo in the Grand Prix, a 3rd placed finish at least allowing him onto the podium. 

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