Max Verstappen praises ‘incredible’ Red Bull car after winning Azerbaijan GP

Azerbaijan F1 Grand Prix

Max Verstappen has won five out of eight races so far in 2022 (Picture: Getty)

Max Verstappen has praised the quality of his car after extending his championship lead as Red Bull secured a 2-1 finish at Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Dutchman started the race in third place, with teammate Sergio Perez taking the lead from Charles Leclerc at the first corner before the Ferrari man pitted early to start an intriguing tactical battle.

However, less than halfway through the race, Leclerc retired with drive unit problems, allowing Verstappen to ride to victory after passing Perez without resistance from the Mexican.

Verstappen should have won at the Baku City Circuit last season but a puncture meant he retired with just laps to go so the 24-year-old was happy to have got the job done this time.

“You can never make up for what you lost last year, but I think we had incredible pace in the car today, we were really able to take care of the tires,” said Verstappen after the race.

Red Bull urged Sergio Perez not to fight teammate Verstappen (Picture: Getty)

“A little bit of luck with the retirement but I still think our car was very quick today so I think I could have closed that gap and then of course you have a race ahead of you.

“But overall I’m very happy with the balance of the car today. Finishing 2-1 at Red Bull today is a really good result for the team.

“Every weekend is a little bit different. You have to be really precise, focus on the little things that have to do with race control so that they can change every race weekend.”

Verstappen is now 21 points clear of Perez in the Drivers’ Championship, with Leclerc a further 13 points behind, while Red Bull sit a whopping 80 points clear of Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship.

Somewhat controversially, Perez was instructed by Red Bull not to challenge Verstappen for the lead even after the Ferrari threat had disappeared, mirroring a similar instruction received by the Mexican at the Spanish Grand Prix.

But Perez insisted he was okay with the decision made, saying: “I think it was the right decision by the team because Max was a bit further up at that point [pace-wise].

“Anything can happen in this place, so at the end of the day we managed to get 1-2, it’s a great team result.”

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General Sports Max Verstappen praises 'incredible' Red Bull car after winning Azerbaijan GP

Nate Jones

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