The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix has been cancelled due to adverse weather conditions in the region.

Persistent rain saw the paddock at the circuit in Imola, northern Italy, evacuated on Tuesday because of the risk of flooding, with F1 personnel told to stay away on Wednesday.

Although the track is not under water, the surrounding area is struggling to cope with the extreme weather.

And following an emergency summit with the promoter and local authorities, Formula One has confirmed the sixth round of the season will not take place.

The PA news agency understands the event is unlikely to be rescheduled.

An F1 statement read: “The Formula One community wants to send its thoughts to the people and communities affected by the recent events in the Emilia-Romagna region.

“We also want to pay tribute to the work of the emergency services who are doing everything they can to help those in need.

“Following discussions between Formula One, the president of the FIA, the competent authorities including the relevant ministers, the president of the Automobile Club of Italy, the president of Emilia Romagna region, the mayor of the city and the promoter, the decision has been taken not to proceed with the Grand Prix weekend in Imola.

“The decision has been taken because it is not possible to safely hold the event for our fans, the teams and our personnel and it is the right and responsible thing to do given the situation faced by the towns and cities in the region.

“It would not be right to put further pressure on the local authorities and emergency services at this difficult time.”

Although the circuit has not yet been flooded, there were concerns over the safety of transporting spectators to and from the venue, and also having to divert emergency services to stage the race.

The grid’s 10 teams were also facing a scramble to get ready for the event following the evacuation on Tuesday, and the advice by local authorities not to travel to the circuit on Wednesday.

The Emilia Romagna region has been badly affected by torrential rain which caused extensive flooding, killing two people and forcing hundreds to be evacuated from their homes, earlier this month.

The race in Imola had been due to kick off F1’s first triple header of the season, with races to follow on consecutive weekends in Monaco and Spain.

Due to complexities of the sport’s packed schedule, at this stage it is not thought it will be possible to reschedule the race for later in the year, dropping the number of races from 23 to 22.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen holds a 14-point lead at the top of the drivers’ standings after the opening five rounds.

Formula One personnel have been told to stay away from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, with adverse weather conditions placing doubts over this weekend’s race in Imola, the PA news agency understands.

Persistent rain in the region saw the paddock at the circuit in northern Italy evacuated on Tuesday because of the risk of flooding.

Although the track is not under water, the surrounding area is struggling to cope with the extreme weather and the rain is forecast to continue on Wednesday.

PA understands that if conditions do not improve, there is a risk the sixth round of the season could be cancelled.

F1 bosses remain in constant dialogue with the promoter and local authorities to see if it can press on with the schedule, with first practice due to start on Friday.

A final decision on whether the race can go ahead is expected to be announced later on Wednesday.

Jamaican rally cross sensation, Fraser McConnell, maintained his top qualifying form to help X44 Vida Carbon Racing take the win in Round 3 at the Hydro X Prix, in Scotland on Saturday.

The victory marks McConnell's first win in Extreme E and the Season 2 champions' first win of the 2023 campaign. 

McConnell and Cristina Gutiérrez crossed the line in second place, but a penalty for on-course winners Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E dropped British-star Catie Munnings and team-mate Timmy Hansen down to second place. 

“It's amazing to get my first win for X44. It’s been something that I’ve been working towards not just for me but for the whole team,” McConnell said.

"It just goes to show that prioritising opportunity and inclusivity doesn’t have to come at the cost of performance, and we're proud to be showing what's possible here in Extreme E. We didn't have the best starting position - second from the outside - so I knew I was going to have to do something a little risky to get in front which I managed. Then I went a little wide and they got the better run, but that’s racing. We were able to stay close enough to capitalise on their [Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E] penalty. A win is always a win and very happy to do this one for X44," he added. 

Instead, McConnell hung back from the pack, turning early to undercut the ODYSSEY 21s in front and using his Hyperdrive late to storm from fifth to first. 

The Jamaican carried this pace into the first steep ascent of the course, but his speed caused him to run wide, opening the door for Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E’s Hansen to pull up alongside and exit the climb in the lead. 

Coming in third were Carl Cox Motorsport, scoring their maiden podium in the championship after just three rounds and at International DJ Carl Cox's home X Prix. 

McConnell is in 4th of 10 teams in the overall standings, on 51 points with the third event set for July 8-9 at the Island X Prix in Sardinia, Italy. 

Indeed, MConnell’s X44 team are the reigning champions having taken the 2022 title with Gutierrez and Sebastien Loeb behind the wheel. They will be looking to defend their crown with seven more rounds to come in the season.

 

 

Max Verstappen said he is targeted by Formula One’s boo brigade because they are jealous of him winning.

Verstappen landed a third victory of the season with a fine drive from ninth at Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix to extend his championship lead to 14 points over Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez.

The double world champion was heckled as he was introduced on the grid in the moments before the race, and then also on the podium as he was presented with his winner’s trophy.

But a typically bullish Verstappen said: “If I am driving at the back nobody will be doing anything in terms of a reaction.

“It is normal when you are winning and they don’t like who is winning. This is something which is absolutely fine for me as long as I stand on the top step of the podium.

“That is the most important thing. I take the trophy home and they can go back to their houses and have a nice evening.”

Verstappen was jeered during the pre-race razzmatazz which involved American rapper LL Cool J acting as Master of Ceremonies and will.i.am conducting an orchestra.

It is understood the pre-race show seen in Miami will only take place at certain events, possibly eight in all, this season.

George Russell called the spectacle “distracting” and Verstappen was also not a fan.

“Some people like to be more in the spotlight, and some people don’t,” said Verstappen. “Personally I don’t. So for me, what they did was not necessary.

“I prefer just to talk to my engineers, walk to my car, put the helmet on and drive. I understand the entertainment value, but I hope we don’t have this at every single race, because we have a very long season ahead of us, and we don’t need to enter like that every time.”

Fernando Alonso, who finished third behind Verstappen and Perez to claim his fourth podium this season, disagreed that the pre-race introductions should only be reserved for certain races.

The 41-year-old Spaniard said: “If we do it here, we have to do it everywhere because I don’t think the Miami fans are better than the Italian fans in Imola or in Spain or in Mexico or in Japan.”

However, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, whose arrival on the grid was greeted with huge cheers, said: “Formula One is trying new things and trying to improve the show and I am in full support of that.

“I grew up listening to LL Cool J, and LL Cool J was there. You look over and will.i.am is there, too, and he is an incredible artist. I thought it was cool.”

Max Verstappen hailed his victory at the Miami Grand Prix as “simply f****** lovely” after he beat Sergio Perez and the boo brigade to extend his world championship lead.

Verstappen was jeered before and after the race, as he celebrated a triumph that moves him 14 points clear of team-mate Perez, who finished second.

Fernando Alonso was third for Aston Martin. George Russell and Lewis Hamilton finished fourth and sixth for Mercedes.

Verstappen divides opinion in the sport and he was targeted by the Hard Rock Stadium crowd as he was presented on the grid ahead of the 57-lap race by rapper LL Cool J.

But the boos did not faze the double world champion as he raced from ninth on the grid to top spot to claim his third win from five rounds.

“Simply f****** lovely,” said Verstappen on the radio before he was also jeered on the podium as he collected his winner’s trophy.

Verstappen added: “It was a good race. I stayed out of trouble in the beginning. I had a good battle with Checo and we kept it clean and that was the most important thing. A great win today.

“Yesterday was a setback in qualifying but today we kept it calm and clean and winning a race from ninth is always very satisfying.”

Verstappen, who started on a different strategy to team-mate and pole-sitter Perez, was up to second on lap 15. He stopped for tyres with a dozen laps to go and then cruised into the lead by out-braking Perez at the opening corner on lap 48.

Perez said: “I gave it my all. The first stint was poor and that compromised my race.

“Max was particularly good today so a well-deserved win for him. We need to analyse what happened today because I didn’t have the pace.”

Max Verstappen overcame the boo brigade and Sergio Perez to win the Miami Grand Prix and extend his world championship lead.

Verstappen was subjected to a chorus of jeers by the 90,000-strong crowd at the Hard Rock Stadium as the sport’s drivers were introduced by rapper LL Cool J for Sunday’s 57-lap race.

But the double world champion put his poor reception to one side by racing from ninth on the grid to pass Perez with nine laps remaining and take his third win from five rounds.

Verstappen increased his championship lead from six points to 14.

Fernando Alonso completed the podium places with George Russell fourth. Lewis Hamilton finished sixth after starting 13th.

Sunday’s race marked the first of three to be staged in the United States this season, with Austin’s grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas and a debut event on the Las Vegas strip to follow later in the year.

And the event here in the Sunshine State was sprinkled with stardust for a show-stopping pre-race grid.

Actor Vin Diesel, singer Shakira, influencer-boxer Jake Paul, Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Roger Federer – with 50 tennis Grand Slam titles between them – watched on as will.i.am conducted an orchestra and LL Cool J assumed his role as Master of Ceremonies. Only in America.

On came the 20 drivers and the biggest cheers were reserved for Hamilton, Alonso and Perez, backed by a large contingent of Mexican fans. But Verstappen, last on to the stage, was booed.

Verstappen, by now in the sanctuary of his flying Red Bull machine, had moved up to eighth at the end of lap one, as pole-sitter Perez held off Alonso on the charge to the opening corner.

Verstappen then blasted his way past Charles Leclerc and Kevin Magnussen in his DRS-assisted Red Bull to take sixth at the start of lap four.

Further behind, Hamilton appeared in trouble after making light contact with Nico Hulkenberg at the first corner.

“I don’t know if we are going to last in this race,” he said, fearing his front wing was broken.

Up front, Verstappen was still on the move.

On lap eight he passed Russell under braking at Turn 17 for fifth place, which became fourth the next time round following a carbon-copy move on Pierre Gasly.

Verstappen sped past Carlos Sainz on lap 14 at Turn 11 and then Alonso on lap 15 to take second place with team-mate Perez 3.7 sec up the road.

In came Perez on lap 20 for fresh rubber with a 1.2 sec lead over Verstappen. The Dutchman, who started on the harder, more durable rubber stayed out.

Despite his earlier worries, Hamilton was able to continue but he was failing to make headway and on lap 32 he was ushered aside for team-mate Russell.

Hamilton, on a different strategy after starting seven places behind his team-mate, resisted at first before allowing his team-mate through.

“Thank you very much,” said Russell over the radio. “Very much appreciated.” Hamilton made his sole tyre stop on lap 37, dropping back to 13th.

Russell did not appear fazed in a machine team principal Toto Wolff described as “a nasty piece of work”, and on lap 39 he was up to fourth after fighting his way past Sainz.

“That is how we roll,” said the celebrating Briton.

Verstappen finally stopped for new tyres on lap 45 and he emerged from the pits just 1.2 sec behind Perez.

Verstappen was soon all over Perez’s Red Bull gearbox and he made his first move at Turn 17 only for his team-mate to defend the left hander.

But Perez’s defence made him vulnerable on the main straight with Verstappen jinking to his team-mate’s left and making the move stick at the first corner on lap 48.

Verstappen crossed the line 5.3 sec clear of Perez.

Hamilton, like Verstappen, started on the more durable hard rubber and the strategy also worked for the seven-time world champion as he made up a number of positions in the closing stages – including the scalp of Leclerc with two laps to run – to salvage sixth.

Miami Grand Prix bosses are in talks with Formula One about staging the race at night.

The event which runs round the Hard Rock Stadium – home of NFL’s Miami Dolphins – joined the calendar last season on a 10-year deal.

Sunday’s race is the first of three to be staged in the United States this year, with a debut event on the Las Vegas strip in November, while Austin’s grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas has been a permanent fixture on the F1 schedule since 2012.

The round in Vegas will take place under lights, and Miami Dolphins chief executive Tom Garfinkel revealed on Sunday that his race could transform to a night event.

“We have had some discussions about a night race and potentially doing that and what it would look like,” said Garfinkel.

“There are a lot of factors that go into that with F1 and television so we have to weigh all those things up, but we are certainly open-minded.”

The race in Florida is set to be sprinkled with stardust. Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, actor Vin Diesel, singer Shakira, former Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero, influencer-boxer Jake Paul, former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, and tennis greats Serena Williams and Roger Federer are just some of the names on Sunday’s glitzy guestlist.

“The celebrity attendance is pretty remarkable,” added Garfinkel. “It shows the relevance of Formula One and how popular the sport is right now.

“The sort of wealth, CEO and celebrity factor, is like nothing I have ever seen at another sporting event.”

Lewis Hamilton has been warned by former rival Felipe Massa that it will be a gamble to leave Mercedes.

Hamilton’s contract with the Silver Arrows is up for renewal at the end of the year.

It is expected that the 38-year-old will extend his stay with the team which has carried him to six of his record-equalling seven world championships.

However, Mercedes’ indifferent start to the new campaign has led some to question as to whether Hamilton could shop around, with Ferrari a possible destination.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s race at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, team principal Toto Wolff described Hamilton’s unruly Mercedes as “a nasty piece of work”.

But Massa, who was at the Italian team for eight seasons and lost out to Hamilton by a single championship point in 2008, said: “Anything is possible, but I have doubts that it will happen.

“The relationship Lewis has with Mercedes is strong and to change that for Ferrari he would need to be sure what he is going to get.

“Ferrari have not proved they have the car to win the championship. Going there would be a bit of a gamble. If he cannot go to Red Bull, which is impossible with Max [Verstappen] there, I would stay at Mercedes.”

Hamilton will be 39 in January but the Briton appears determined to win a record eighth title.

In Miami, he even raised the prospect of racing into his fifties.

Massa, 42, who retired from the sport in 2017, said: “When I go to run I suffer more than when I was 30 or 25.

“The age will come to Lewis but he still has some years in front of him and you see what Fernando [Alonso, 41] is doing at Aston Martin. Lewis just doesn’t have the car, but maybe that will change.”

George Russell has told Max Verstappen he is ready to draw a line under their X-rated row at the recent Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Verstappen called Russell a “d***head” following a heated confrontation after they collided on the opening lap of the sprint race.

Verstappen also labelled Russell a “Princess” in a subsequent interview with Dutch media.

But speaking ahead of this weekend’s race in Miami, Russell said: “I will continue racing the same way as I always would.

“A lot has been said about that coming together, but from my side it was very straightforward.

“I went for a move, I got the move done, and moved on. Obviously he was pretty upset about it, but that is racing and these things happen. We are all here to fight. That is what F1 is all about.”

Russell revealed he has not spoken to Verstappen since they clashed in Baku.

However, the British driver continued: “There is no air to be cleared. I will welcome, and say ‘hello’ to him if he passes by. I am sure we will shake hands when we bump into each other.

“For me, it is history now and it is behind us. My views are still the same. I respect him and think he is a great driver. Things are said in the heat of the moment, but we move on.”

Asked about his relationship with Russell, Verstappen sarcastically said: “It is terrible”, before adding: “No, it is absolutely fine.”

F1 is back in the Sunshine State for the second time, and the first of three races to be staged in the United States this year.

A debut event on the Las Vegas strip will take place in November, while Austin’s grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas has been a permanent fixture on the F1 schedule since 2012.

“It is a dream for us to be in Miami and in the United States,” said Lewis Hamilton.

“They have the Miami Heat and the Miami Dolphins, too.

“They are massive sporting fans here so to be in such an important city like Miami where sport is huge – and now Formula One is part of that – it is great to see.

“For such a huge country, it is amazing that we finally have three races here. The difficult thing with Formula One is that you usually visit a country once a year. But the growth has been huge and it is such a big market for the sport.”

Hamilton finished sixth in Azerbaijan last weekend and he is already 45 points behind championship leader Verstappen.

The 38-year-old’s contract with Mercedes expires at the end of the season but there are suggestions from both camps is that Hamilton will agree a new deal.

Hamilton’s former McLaren team-mate and 2009 world champion Jenson Button said this week that he cannot envisage his compatriot walking away from the sport.

“I just want to get back to the front,” continued seven-time world champion Hamilton.

“That is what I am working on – trying to get this team back to the front.”

Lewis Hamilton said it is a “dream” to be in Miami ahead of the city’s second Formula One race this weekend.

The sport is back in the Sunshine State for the fifth round of the new campaign, which marks the first of three races to be staged in the United States this year.

A debut event on the Las Vegas strip will take place in November, while Austin’s grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas has been a permanent fixture on the F1 schedule since 2012.

“It is a dream for us to be in Miami and in the United States,” said seven-time world champion Hamilton.

“They have the Miami Heat and the Miami Dolphins, too.

“They are massive sporting fans here so to be in such an important city like Miami where sport is huge – and now Formula One is part of that – it is great to see.

“For such a huge country, it is amazing that we finally have three races here. The difficult thing with Formula One is that you usually visit a country once a year. But the growth has been huge and it is such a big market for the sport.”

Hamilton finished sixth at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last weekend and he is already 45 points behind championship leader Max Verstappen.

The 38-year-old’s contract with Mercedes expires at the end of the season.

But the noise coming out from both camps is that Hamilton will agree a new deal.

Hamilton’s former McLaren team-mate, and 2009 world champion Jenson Button, said this week that he cannot envisage his compatriot walking away from the sport.

“I just want to get back to the front,” continued Hamilton, who was speaking at an IWC sponsorship event in Miami.

“That is what I am working on – trying to get this team back to the front.”

Jenson Button believes Lewis Hamilton will sign a new deal with Mercedes because he remains “hungry” to win his record eighth world championship.

Speaking before the start of the season, Button, the 2009 world champion, suggested Hamilton will only extend his contract – which expires at the end of the year – if Mercedes can provide him with a winning car.

Hamilton finished sixth last weekend in Azerbaijan and already trails championship leader Max Verstappen by 45 after just four rounds, with the Dutchman’s Red Bull team in a league of their own this year.

However, Button, 43, said: “I don’t think Lewis is going to walk away from the sport.

“As a racing driver, if you have been winning for so long and then you are suddenly not, you want to fight back to winning ways. You are not going to retire.

“If you are in a bad car for many years, you want to retire because it just gets you down, but Lewis is not in a bad car. He is just in a car that is not as good as what he has been used to, and I get that.

“But he knows the strength of the team, he knows how quick he still is, so he is going to work with this team to get back to fighting with Red Bull, and they will.

“It probably won’t be this year, but in 2024, we will see Lewis on the grid. He is still hungry to win another world championship.”

Verstappen remains the overwhelming favourite to win his third consecutive title despite Sergio Perez moving to within six points of his Red Bull team-mate after winning the sprint race and Grand Prix in Baku.

And Button said another victory at Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix will fuel Perez with confidence that he can beat Verstappen to the title.

“I’ve been really impressed with Sergio,” added Button.

“Max has to be the toughest team-mate because he just goes out there and gets it done.

“Consistency is where Sergio has been lacking, but if he can do it in Miami, which like Baku is a street race, too, he has a chance to fight for the championship.

“I didn’t think I would be saying that, I really didn’t, but it is good for the sport. Red Bull has an advantage at the moment and we need both of them to be fighting it out.”

Sergio Perez warned Max Verstappen he will fight to win the world championship after beating his Red Bull team-mate to victory in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Mexican driver took advantage of an early safety car to pit for new tyres and leapfrog Verstappen before controlling the race to win for a second time this year.

Red Bull are the dominant force in Formula One and Perez’s Baku triumph was the team’s 14th win from their last 15 outings.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who finished third on Sunday, was 21 seconds behind. Lewis Hamilton, sixth for Mercedes, was an eye-watering 46 seconds down the road.

Such is the superiority of his Red Bull machine, Verstappen is still expected to cruise to his third title, but Perez’s victory here breathes fresh life into this year’s title battle.

Perez, who also won Saturday’s sprint race, is now just six points behind Verstappen in the standings after four rounds.

“It is a long year ahead, but I really believe I am in the fight,” said Perez, who dropped points last time out in Australia following a qualifying horror show.

“I wouldn’t say today’s race was my best ever, but it was just very good. I pushed from start to the end without mistakes. When you do that, you believe you can beat anyone so it is just about keeping it up throughout the season.

“I only regret the problems we had in Melbourne that made us lose a lot of points. Without that, I could have been closer in the championship.”

Perez was lauded by his race engineer, Hugh Bird, as the “King of the Streets” after he crossed the line 2.1 sec clear of Verstappen.

The 33-year-old’s victory was his second in Azerbaijan – no other driver has won in Baku more than once – while he has also taken the chequered flag at street venues in Jeddah in March, and Monaco and Singapore last year. Next Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix is also on a street course.

Verstappen would have expected to extend his title lead after blasting past pole-sitter Leclerc on the third lap. But his race fell apart when Nyck de Vries crashed out at the fourth corner.

Verstappen pulled in for new tyres but just moments later the safety car was deployed with De Vries’ broken AlphaTauri needing to be cleared.

With the field running at a controlled speed, Perez was able to stop for rubber and retain the lead.

Verstappen fell from first to third, later re-passing Leclerc, but never threatening to reel in his team-mate.

“I want to win this world championship as much as Max does but there is a lot of respect between us,” added Perez.

“We are very similar in the way we approach the sport so I do not believe our relationship will change.”

Verstappen added: “It is a very long season so it is all about consistency.

“Sergio has really been on it this year and performing well and that is great. He is feeling confident in the car.

“You need to acknowledge and appreciate when somebody has done a great job and that is what happened today. We will fight for the rest of the season.”

Like Verstappen, a pre-safety car change of tyres also cost Hamilton. The British driver dropped from fifth to 10th once the order had shuffled out.

He drove well to move up to sixth, pressing Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz to the flag – at one stage calling on his Mercedes team to provide him with “more power” – but he was unable to find a way past. Hamilton is pinning his hopes on a Mercedes upgrade, expected at Imola on May 21.

“This result is all we can ask for right now,” said the seven-time world champion. “Hopefully the upgrades will put us in the fight. We are counting down the days and weeks until then.”

Fernando Alonso finished fourth for Aston Martin, while George Russell, called a “d***head” by Verstappen following their first-lap collision in Saturday’s shortened race, came home in eighth.

McLaren’s Lando Norris claimed two points after he crossed the line in ninth.

Esteban Ocon has demanded Formula One’s governing body takes action after he said a “big disaster” was narrowly avoided in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Ocon, who drives for Alpine, came within inches of colliding with a cluster of individuals when he stopped for tyres on the final lap of the race.

On-board video footage from the French driver’s car showed dozens of people – who had gathered at the entrance to the pit-lane with the race still ongoing – scrambling to get out of his way.

“It could have been a big, big one today,” said Ocon. “I got close to them and I had to back off.

“I would not have liked to have been in there with the speed I was arriving. If I missed the braking point it could have been a big disaster. It was crazy.”

A representative from the FIA was summoned to see the race stewards on Sunday evening, with the sporting federation itself confirming it had launched an investigation into the near-miss.

Ocon continued: “I don’t understand why they are starting to prep the podium while we are still racing. There is one lap to go. I am arriving at 300kph (185mph) and I am braking very late.

“It is clear. We need to wait until all the cars have passed the chequered flag and ensure there is no racing in the pit lane. It is not a mystery. It is very simple.

“We don’t want to see this happening again. I am sure the FIA has seen it and they will take action. And if they don’t take action, I will go and speak to them.”

Charles Leclerc conceded Red Bull are in "another league" after Sergio Perez triumphed at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday.

Perez was the fastest in Saturday's sprint and managed to stave off the pursuit of Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen the following day in Baku, the Spaniard claiming his second win of the season.

Leclerc finished in third and the Ferrari driver acknowledged Red Bull are way ahead at present.

"Red Bull are in another league when it comes to the race," he told Sky Sports. "A very good [qualifying] lap managed to put us in front but over 51 laps it was just not possible, they have so much [more] pace than us in race pace. They found something that we didn't yet.

"The feeling is a little bit better but when I see the gap, we don't really know how much we closed the gap. The Aston Martin was also really quick so we have some work to do."

Red Bull are the seventh team in F1 history to have won the first four races of a campaign, with the victories split evenly between Perez and Verstappen.

They have now surpassed Mercedes as the team with the most wins in Baku as the individual battle between team-mates Perez and Verstappen continues to play out.

World champion Verstappen pushed throughout the race but was unable to usurp Perez, who lauded his control when leading the charge.

"It really worked out today for us," Perez said on Sky Sports. "We managed to stay in the DRS train and keep the pressure on Max. 

"I think we had better degradation on that first stint. I think it was very close between us, we pushed to the maximum today, we both clipped the wall a few times.

"The way Max pushed me today was really hard but we managed to keep in control."

Verstappen had the lead after the third lap before clipping the wall on Turn 4, which allowed Perez to overtake, before the Dutchman pitted just before a safety car was deployed.

He labelled that decision to pit as "unlucky", before adding to Sky Sports: "I think the tyres were overheating a bit because of that, trying to follow. 

"Also, the balance, I was struggling to be really consistent, I was playing around with the tools a little bit. Once I got that sorted, I'd say the last 10 laps were actually quite good again, but just a little bit too late.

"A lot of things learnt again throughout the race, at the end of the day, a good team result."

Sergio Perez followed up his sprint race victory with a superb drive to triumph in Sunday's main event at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which was marred by shambolic organisation on the final lap.

Perez was the quickest in Saturday's sprint and the Mexican held off Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc to claim his second race win of the season.

However, the FIA and race organisers will have questions to answer after crew members and photographers were allowed onto the pit lane during the final lap, despite Esteban Ocon having not pitted.

The Alpine driver came in for his pit stop, but managed to slow down enough to avoid any incident.

Fortunately, there was no taking away from Perez's triumph, his second in Baku after 2021.

Leclerc held pole but two-time reigning Formula One champion Verstappen took the lead in the third lap, with Perez overtaking the Ferrari soon after.

Verstappen clipping the wall on Turn Four allowed Perez to close ground, and there was more bad news for the Dutchman when he pitted just before a safety car, which was brought out after Nyck De Vries spun off the track.

Perez took advantage by pitting during the safety car, and was back out in first place by the time racing resumed.

An investigation for a possible unsafe release yielded no penalty for Perez, who would not relinquish his lead and eventually won by over two seconds.

Behind him, Verstappen and Fernando Alonso tussled for the fastest lap, though it was George Russell who clinched it at the death after a late pit stop.

Leclerc, meanwhile, had to settle for third on a disappointing day for Ferrari.

Red Bull on the charge

Red Bull are the seventh team in F1 history to have won the first four races of a campaign, with the victories split evenly between Perez and Verstappen.

Indeed, Red Bull have now surpassed Mercedes as the team with the most wins in Baku.

Verstappen overtakes legendary Senna

One day short of the 29th anniversary of Ayrton Senna's death, Verstappen secured his 81st podium finish.

That is one more than the great Senna managed in his career, which was tragically cut short in 1994.

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