Lewis Hamilton felt "amazing" to have clinched P4 in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix, though he warned there is still work to do for Mercedes.

Hamilton has endured a frustrating season in 2022, with the seven-time world champion struggling to adjust to his new car.

On Friday, after a poor practice session, Hamilton said "it's like the car's getting worse".

However, Hamilton will now look to build on Saturday's impressive qualifying display after securing fourth on the grid in Montreal for Sunday's race - his best qualification result of the season.

After finishing behind Max Verstappen, Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz, Hamilton told Sky Sports F1: "I feel amazing, so happy – P4 has never felt so good to be honest.

"Maybe in my first year of racing, in 2007, when I got my first P4 it probably felt great then, I think this probably feels like that. Particularly because it’s been a really difficult year, to go through what we were faced with today, it was difficult for everyone out there.

"I'm so happy to put us in a position, because everyone's working so hard, constantly facing these challenges with this car.

"We did a lot of work yesterday to try and get the information. The car didn't feel that great, so tomorrow should be a much better position. Hopefully I can try and hold position at least."

Saturday has not altered Hamilton's disappointment with his car, however, but he has full faith in the Mercedes engineers to get things clicking.

"With this car you need everything and more to come together," added the 37-year-old, who is sixth in the drivers' standings.

"I like to think that I have rhythm, and on this track in particular you have to have rhythm. I feel this car works on a completely different beat.

"It doesn't work on the normal beat so that's been difficult to get used to. The rain makes it much different, if it was dry I don't know if we'd have been in this position but the rain opens up opportunities and I love this track.

"It's been a struggle so far, there's still a lot of work to do, but I hope all the team are feeling positive. Please continue to push, I need you, we need you, we're all working as hard as we can and I believe in them so much, I hope at some stage we can stop this bouncing and move forwards."

Hamilton's team-mate George Russell endured a frustrating Q3, however.

Russell went out on slick tyres, but that decision backfired when he lost control and ultimately had to settle for P8.

He told Sky Sports F1: "It was high risk, high reward. It was literally just turn one, I think had that been as dry as the other corners we could have been in a really good place.

"Surprised my lap was only half a second off P4, so it shows the strong pace today, but as I said on the radio I'm not here to settle for P4, P5 – we need to try things.

"At the end of the day the points are tomorrow, I’m glad we tried something different."

Max Verstappen clinched pole position for Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix and Fernando Alonso secured an unlikely spot on the front row in Montreal.

Alonso, who set the pace in the final practice session, claimed second place in tricky, wet conditions in Saturday's qualifying session.

That hands the 40-year-old Spaniard his first front-row start in Formula One since he won from pole position at the German Grand Prix just under 10 years ago.

The two-time world champion, racing for Alpine, was the recipient of a huge ovation from the crowd as he celebrated his supreme qualifying performance, clocking up a time of 1:21.944 behind championship leader Verstappen's 1:21.299.

"It feels great. It was an unbelievable weekend for us so far, we’ve been competitive in free practice – which we normally are on Friday but on Saturday we seem to lose a little bit of pace – but in wet conditions today the car was mega, I was so comfortable driving this car and I think the fans gave me a push," a jubilant Alonso said.

When asked what his approach will be on Sunday, Alonso quipped: "Let's see, I think I will attack Max on the first corner."

Verstappen's pole ended the day on a high note for Red Bull, with team-mate and fellow title contender Sergio Perez set to start in 13th place after crashing out in Q2.

In difficult conditions, the reigning world champion – who will be further buoyed by title rival Charles Leclerc having to start at the back on Sunday due to Ferrari changing his entire power unit – was delighted with the composure shown by his team.

"Of course I still expect it not to be a straightforward race, today with tricky conditions, we stayed calm and we made the right calls in Q3 so of course, super happy with that to get pole position here and to be back in Montreal and great to see all the fans," he said.

"You really get that go-karting sensation back on this track with proper curves. We always enjoy driving here and I’m looking forward to tomorrow."

Carlos Sainz looked poised to push Verstappen, but a mistake on the final corner cost the Ferrari driver, who will start third on the grid. An incident involving the Spaniard and Esteban Ocon was investigated, but the stewards decided no further action was required.

Sainz said: "I was feeling quite okay with the car, especially in the full wet. In that lap I knew I had lost a bit too much, I tried to do a very quick last corner but it didn't pay off and it cost me half a second. I ended up with three for that mistake. I think it's going to be a good fight with Max up front and Fernando has been fast all weekend."

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton – who did not hide his frustration with his car after struggling in practice on Friday – was lifted by claiming fourth.

Mercedes team-mate George Russell had to settle for eighth, however, after a decision to go on slicks in Q3 failed to pay off.

Charles Leclerc's Formula One world championship hopes have been dealt a blow after it was confirmed he will start at the back of the grid in Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix.

The title-chasing driver was already handed a 10-place grid penalty on Friday for changing his electronics control unit, following two power unit failures in the last two races that have dealt a significant blow in his push for the championship.

Leclerc's task in Montreal will now be one of damage limitation and Ferrari have elected to give him an entirely new power unit – a new internal combustion engine, turbo, MGU-H and MGU-K.

Drivers are only allowed to use three of each component over the course of a season but Leclerc will now use his fourth in Canada, while the ECU change leads to his third unit of the campaign when only two are allowed.

Leclerc's bad luck has led to an 80-point swing in the drivers' standings in favour of Red Bull's defending champion Max Verstappen, with his team-mate Sergio Perez also climbing above the Ferrari driver last weekend.

Two engine failures in back-to-back races have both come when Leclerc was leading the race, while he also lost the lead in Monaco after a team error in the pit lane saw him slip to fourth.

Leclerc had won two of the opening three races of the season to hold a 46-point lead over Verstappen, who had to retire in both of the events where the Monaco driver was victorious.

Francesco Bagnaia set a scorching pace to earn pole position for the German Grand Prix, but championship leader Fabio Quartararo served notice he is "ready to fight" for the win.

After setting Sachsenring lap records earlier in the day, a time of one minute and 19.931 seconds by Ducati's Bagnaia clinched first place on the grid for Sunday's race.

Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) was next quickest, with Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) completing the front row.

Bagnaia has won twice in his last four races but failed to finish on the other two occasions. The Italian rider has chalked up an unfortunate three abandonments this season in nine MotoGP outings, one more failure to finish than he suffered in last year's 18-race campaign.

"Today the qualifying wasn't easy. It was very hot and the wind was disturbing us a bit," Bagnaia said. "I'm very happy about this pole position."

Frenchman Quartararo has finished on the podium in four of his last five races, with the 23-year-old taking the win last time out at the Catalan Grand Prix and going 22 points clear of nearest rival Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) in the process.

Espargaro blundered in that race by celebrating a podium a lap too early, having miscounted, and dropped from second place to fifth as a consequence.

This time Espargaro will start fourth on the grid, no doubt counting the laps more carefully.

Quartararo senses threats from his rivals but is up for the challenge.

"They look so competitive. Aprilia and Ducati are looking fast, but I feel ready to fight with them," Quartararo said. "I think we are able to make great pace, not only in one lap, so I'm super happy to qualify in the front row today."

Quartararo experienced the rare mishap of seeing his visor break during free practice early on Saturday, and he swallowed up the responsibility.

"I'm always the first rider to do something strange," he said. "I think I didn't close it well, and when I turned around the visor came up, and then with the speed it came off, but I think it was my mistake."

Alex Rins pulled out of the race early on Saturday after feeling discomfort from the fractured left wrist injury he suffered in Barcelona, while Marc Marquez remains absent.

Six-time MotoGP champion Marquez has won the last eight editions of the German Grand Prix.

PROVISIONAL GRID

1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) – 1:19.931
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) + 0.076
3. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) + 0.099
4. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) + 0.189
5. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini) + 0.197
6. Jack Miller (Ducati) + 0.219
7. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46) + 0.237
8. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) + 0.288
9. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia) + 0.537
10. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) + 0.631

Charles Leclerc believes Ferrari have made "the best decision" by accepting a 10-place grid penalty for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Leclerc will start towards the back of the grid in Montreal after taking a new control electronic – his third used this season.

The Monegasque had little choice given the state of his power unit after the Azerbaijan GP, although it could have been the source of some frustration after he finished just 0.081 seconds behind Max Verstappen in FP2.

"Well, obviously I'm starting a little bit more in the back," Leclerc said. "But I think it was the best decision to make, so let's see how it goes.

"The overtaking was a little bit more difficult than I expected today, but the pace is there, so hopefully we can come back to where we want to be."

Indeed, despite championship leader Verstappen topping the charts in both Friday practice sessions, Leclerc added: "It is pretty close.

"The race pace we need to work on – I mean it's a bit difficult to have a clear picture, because I was on a different compound all the time – but overall, it didn't look too bad, so that's good."

Lewis Hamilton said his Mercedes feels like it is "getting worse" after struggling in Friday's two practice sessions ahead of Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix.

Hamilton is in the unfamiliar position of sixth in the drivers' championship, already 88 points behind rival and defending champion Max Verstappen eight races into what has been a tough 2022 campaign so far.

The seven-time world champion finished fourth last week in Azerbaijan, with team-mate George Russell claiming third, but called the race the "most painful" of his career after suffering severe back pain throughout.

Hamilton's discomfort, which saw him struggle to exit his car after finishing, was caused by the team's W13 car porpoising, bouncing unevenly.

The FIA confirmed on Thursday it had issued a technical directive to teams to provide guidance on how the porpoising problem will be dealt with in future, with a number of drivers complaining about its effects.

But Mercedes have continued to struggle in Montreal.

Following Friday practice, Hamilton summed up his day: "Pretty much like every Friday for us, trying lots of different things, an experimental floor on my side which didn't work.

"Nothing we do generally to this car seems to work, so we're trying different set-ups; me and George went with much different set-ups in this P2 just to see if one way works and one way doesn't. I'll wait to hear how it felt for him, but for me it was a disaster.

"It's like the car's getting worse, it's getting more and more unhappy the more we do to it. I don't know, we'll keep working on it; it is what it is. I think this is the car for the year, so we'll just have to tough it out and work hard on building a better car for next year."

Having won each of the past eight F1 constructors' championships, Mercedes are third in the 2022 standings, behind leaders Red Bull by 118 points.

"It's not the Montreal that I know, that I'm used to and that I've experienced in my career,” Hamilton added. "It's the worse that I've ever felt any car here, so I'm hoping overnight we can try and make some changes.

"But fundamentally, it's just the fundamentals of the car, it is what it is. It's going to be a struggle.

"It's just a monumental fight the whole time to keep it out of the wall.

"When it bounces, when the car leaves the ground a lot, and then when it lands it grips up and it goes in different directions, and you're just trying to catch a car that jumps, hops, grips, hops, grips... it's tough, it keeps you on edge. And there were some big hits today. We've raised the car, but it doesn't make a difference."

Mercedes pushed Lewis Hamilton too far during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the team's head of strategy James Vowles has admitted.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton finished fourth in Baku, with team-mate George Russell claiming third, but called the race the "most painful" of his career after suffering severe back pain throughout.

Hamilton's discomfort, which saw him struggle to exit his car after finishing, was caused by the team's W13 car porpoising – bouncing unevenly – and led team principal Toto Wolff to initially suggest the 37-year-old could miss the upcoming Canadian Grand Prix. 

While Hamilton has since quelled those fears by saying he "wouldn't miss it for the world", Vowles said the team had pushed him too far in the last race and could not afford to do so again.

"[Lewis] is an elite athlete that will push the bounds of endurance of himself and the car", he told Mercedes' YouTube channel. "That's what Formula One drivers do, that's what makes them exceptional.

"On this occasion, though, we pushed the package and our drivers too far, we are putting them into significant discomfort and we simply can't do that again. 

"Our drivers are not the only ones suffering, you will see in the media a number of comments from a number of drivers who are equally in discomfort and pain. And we have a responsibility now to make sure that this doesn't carry on."

Having won each of the last eight F1 constructors' championships, Mercedes sit third in the current standings, trailing leaders Red Bull by 118 points eight races into the 2022 campaign.

While Vowles acknowledged Red Bull and Ferrari remain the "benchmark", he believes Mercedes could narrow the gap to the leaders in Montreal.

"We didn't expect perhaps to drop back as much as we did in Baku, but that provided a platform to learn from," he added. 

"Montreal isn't going to be substantially different to the last two races, I think we will still have a package that isn't at the front on merit. Red Bull and Ferrari will still be the benchmark that we have to compare ourselves to.

"I think though that the large gap that you saw in qualifying in Baku perhaps won't be that big in Montreal – it will be back down from where it was and as we go through all the races from then onwards, I am fairly sure we will find small steps and developments that push us back towards the front."

Toto Wolff has dismissed a suggestion Lewis Hamilton is in decline and says the seven-time Formula One champion has proved he is a "genius" this season.

Hamilton dramatically missed out on a record eighth F1 title last year when he was dethroned by Max Verstappen in the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

The Briton is languishing in sixth place in the driver standings eight races into the 2022 season, with his team-mate George Russell fourth.

Mercedes sit third in the constructor standings, 108 points adrift of leaders Red Bull, and Hamilton suffered back pain due to his rattling car during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last weekend.

Wolff, Mercedes' team principal, does not believe Hamilton's high standards have slipped this year.

"No, I don't think it’s like that, he is the best that has ever been," he said when asked if Hamilton is in decline.

"Between Abu Dhabi in 2021, dominating the last third of the season, to four months later, you are not losing your ability."

He added: "How they appear to me, both of them [Russell and Hamilton], it’s very professional.

"They have been given a car that is a bit sub-par, each of them tries to develop the car further, they have both gone [in] a different set-up direction, Lewis [during qualifying in Azerbaijan] again very experimental, but can be available in the long term.

"I think as long as the car is not good enough to really be racing at the front, the differences are small and I don't think you can have a pattern saying 'George is continuously outperforming Lewis' or the other way around."

Wolff pinpointed Hamilton's recovery from making contact with Kevin Magnussen on the first lap of the Spanish Grand Prix to finish fifth as an example of Hamilton's brilliance.

"He went as far as to say that in Barcelona, where Hamilton recovered from early contact with Kevin Magnussen to finish P5, the genius," he said.

"We have seen Lewis in Barcelona, he was the genius that we know, so I think what I enjoy is them working together and trying to bring the car back to the front."

The Australian Grand Prix will remain in Melbourne until 2035, with Formula One confirming a deal to extend the race's agreement beyond 2025 on Thursday.

In addition, Formula Two and Three races will join the weekend schedule for the first time from 2023.

The F1 season returned to Melbourne after a two-year hiatus this year, after the 2020 event was cancelled amid the initial outbreaks of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With crowds flocking back this year in record numbers – an attendance of 419,000 marked the largest ever crowd for a weekend sporting event in Australia - F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali expressed joy at the Albert Park race's future being secured.

"I am delighted to confirm that Melbourne and the Albert Park circuit will continue to be on the Formula 1 calendar until 2035," he said. "The race has always been a favourite for the fans, drivers and the teams and Melbourne is an incredible and vibrant international city that is a perfect match for our sport.

"This year we saw huge crowds and passionate fans at the Grand Prix, and we are very excited by the future in Australia as our sport continues to grow."

F1 are yet to confirm a date for the 2023 race, however, with scheduling becoming a tricky dynamic in the event Melbourne does not hold the opening race of the season.

During this year's race weekend in April, Sergio Perez and George Russell particularly lamented the physical and logistical strain placed on drivers and teams flying out to Australia, with Bahrain holding pre-season testing as well as the opening race over the past two seasons.

Before Covid-19 forced schedule changes, the Australian GP had traditionally held the opening race of the season upon the move to Melbourne in 1996, with Adelaide previously holding the final race on the calendar.

Ferrari's recent issues with reliability have put a major dent in their driver's and constructor's title hopes, but they will need to quickly bounce back at this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.

It was a painful day for the Scuderia at the Azerbaijan GP on Sunday, with both cars retiring due to technical issues.

For Charles Leclerc, it was the second time in three races he was forced out because of a power unit problem while leading, and the fourth consecutive race where he failed to convert pole position into a race win.

Sergio Perez took full advantage in Baku, moving ahead of Leclerc in the driver's standings with his win, with Max Verstappen opening up a 34-point gap to the Ferrari driver.

With two retirements sandwiching Ferrari's strategic blunder at his home race in Monaco, the Monegasque moves to four wins from 15 pole positions, with only Jarno Trulli holding a lower conversion rate (25 per cent) among winning drivers in the history F1.

Meanwhile, only Michael Schumacher (+23) and Alain Prost (+18) have a higher differential between race wins and pole positions than Max Verstappen, who has claimed 25 and 14 respectively.

Verstappen will already be making his 150th GP appearance at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, looking for his sixth win of the season out of nine starts.

It would provide little solace to the 24-year-old but he has been in supreme form on the Saturday, claiming six poles out of eight this season, and could match his highest tally in a single season from 2019.

Pole position is not essential but it has proved to be convenient in recent years, with each of the past five winners in Montreal coming from the front of grid on the Saturday, the longest such streak in F1.

Since the opening race of the season in Bahrain, Ferrari remain one more one-two finish away from surpassing Mercedes for the most all-time in F1, with both on 82.

Ferrari customers facing similar strife

Problems have persisted for the factory team and Ferrari power unit customers since the first upgrade at the Miami Grand Prix, where Zhou Guanyu retired.

Both he and Leclerc then retired from the Spanish GP, after Valtteri Bottas was forced out of FP2 in the other Alfa Romeo due to an engine failure.

Both Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen experienced MGU-K failures in Monaco, before Leclerc, Magnussen and Zhou had power unit-related DNFs in Baku.

Red Bull in control

After rectifying their own reliability issues at the start of the season, Red Bull have picked up the pieces and are now in control of both championships.

Red Bull drivers have finished on the podium in 11 of their 13 finished races, securing the one-two in three of the last five Grands Prix and are one more from securing the highest tally in a single season.

The last time the team had six wins in the opening eight races of the season was when Sebastian Vettel coasted his way to the driver's title in 2011.

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 150
2. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 129
3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 116
4. George Russell (Mercedes) 99
5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 83

Constructors

1. Red Bull 279
2. Ferrari 199
3. Mercedes 161
4. McLaren 65
5. Alpine 47

Lewis Hamilton has declared himself fit for the Canadian Grand Prix despite a back injury suffered in Baku, stating he "would not miss it for the world".

Seven-time world champion Hamilton finished fourth at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but repeatedly struggled with his Mercedes W13 car porpoising – otherwise known as bouncing unevenly.

That issue combined with the bumpy street circuit of Baku caused severe back pain for Hamilton, who described the race as the "most painful" of his illustrious career.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff suggested his star driver may be unable to feature in Montreal due to the injury, adding there was a "definite" risk of him missing out.

However, Hamilton took to Instagram on Monday to confirm his participation in Canada, with practice starting on Friday.

"Good morning world," Hamilton wrote on his Instagram story.

"Yesterday was tough and had some troubles sleeping but have woken up feeling positive today. Back is a little sore and bruised but nothing serious, thankfully.

"I've had acupuncture and physio with Ang and am on the way to my team to work with them on improving [the car]. We have to keep fighting. No time like the present to pull together and we will.

"I'll be there this weekend, wouldn't miss it for the world. Wishing everybody an amazing day and week."

Hamilton sits sixth in the drivers' standings with 62 points, some 88 points behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who is on course for back-to-back titles.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has revealed that Lewis Hamilton is doubtful to compete in next weekend's Canadian Grand Prix due to a back injury sustained in Azerbaijan. 

The seven-time world champion had an impressive drive to finish fourth in Baku, one place behind team-mate George Russell, but encountered physical struggles due to severe bouncing during the 51-lap race. 

Mercedes' W13 has encountered issues with bouncing throughout the season so far and the addition of a bumpy street circuit left Hamilton describing the race as the "most painful" of his illustrious career, having complained over team radio about the pain in his back during the race. 

Wolff said there is a "definitely" a risk that Hamilton will sit out of the next race in Montreal, stating: "I haven't seen him or spoken to him afterwards, but you can see this is not muscular anymore. This goes properly into the spine and can have some consequences. 

"He's really bad and we just have got to find a solution at this stage. He's maybe the worst affected of all drivers, but pretty much everyone, as far as I understand from the drivers, said something needs to happen. I couldn't give you an explanation as to what that is." 

A debate in the paddock has been developing as to whether Formula One's design regulations for the 2022 season need to be revised to protect the drivers, with bouncing being an issue for several drivers across the grid. 

There were questions as to whether the issues in Baku were caused by bottoming, where the bottom of the car makes contact with the road, or whether it was bouncing in general, but Wolff believes it is both. 

"I think they are very much linked together. We are seeing tracks where we have porpoising and then we have bouncing," he said.

"Some cars are bottoming so it's not really clear – it's all interlinked with the aerodynamic performance of the floor." 

McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo was among those to suffer with bouncing in Baku and, while it hasn't been a regular problem for him throughout the course of the season, he expressed his sympathy to Mercedes and stated he will support any push for changes. 

The current regulations are in place until 2026 but are likely to be revised along the way, with increases to the annual budget and the potential of a driver salary cap currently being hot topics throughout the paddock. 

Lewis Hamilton says he was "praying" for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix to end due to back pain brought on from his bouncing Mercedes car.

The seven-time world champion complained over the team radio and later struggled to get out of his car at the end of Sunday's race.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff apologised to Hamilton for the ongoing porpoising issue, which has been a particular problem in Baku due to the high speeds and bumpy street layout.

"Lewis, we all know this is a bit of a s***box to drive at the moment. I'm sorry for the back also, we will sort ourselves out," Wolff said.

Speaking earlier this week, Hamilton's team-mate George Russell warned Formula One chiefs to expect a "major incident" if action is not taken to address the problem.

Despite the pain, Hamilton finished in fourth, one place behind Russell, and says he got through the race on adrenaline alone.

"Yeah, that's the only thing [that kept me going]," he told Sky Sports. "Biting down on my teeth through pain and just adrenaline.

"I can't express the pain that you experience, particularly on the straight here. At the end, you're just praying for it to end.

"We're in such a good position still, we got third and fourth which is a great result for the team. 

"The team did a great job with the strategy. Once we fix this bouncing, we're going to be right there in a race but we're losing over a season just with bouncing, for sure. 

"Or at least a second with bouncing… I'll be at the factory tomorrow. We've got to have some good discussions and keep pushing."

McLaren's car has also experienced bouncing problems and Daniel Ricciardo, who finished eighth, compared it to having his head knocked around like a basketball.

"You know when pro basketball players bounce the ball really low? That's what I felt like someone was doing to my helmet," he said.

"I know George has been vocal about it like it's not sustainable. I feel rattled. It's definitely not good. It's not good for our general health and well-being."

Max Verstappen accepts he was "a tiny bit lucky" after Charles Leclerc was forced to retire from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but the Red Bull driver was always confident of victory.

Leclerc once again failed to turn pole into victory in Baku due to a second engine-related retirement from the lead in the space of three grands prix.

He was passed into the first corner by Sergio Perez, who eventually finished second to team-mate Verstappen, and after doing well to recover his day soon got a whole lot worse.

Having dived into the pits under the virtual safety car after fellow Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz had retired with a hydraulics issue, Leclerc's engine failed on lap 20.

It was a procession for Red Bull from that point, with Verstappen leading Perez to a Red Bull one-two in the eighth race of the season, five of which the Dutchman has won.

Verstappen has 25 career wins to his name, meanwhile, and leads second-placed Perez in the 2022 drivers' standings by 21 points, with Leclerc 34 points back in third.

Reflecting on his latest triumph, coming on the same circuit where he himself retired when leading last season, Verstappen said: "We were a tiny bit lucky with what happened.

"But nonetheless our car was really quick, so I could have closed that gap, and then you have a race on your hands.

"You can never make up for what we lost last year, but we had incredible pace in the car and we could look after the tyres and chip away at it. Overall, I'm really happy with how the balance of the car was."

Verstappen has now claimed 66 podium finishes, breaking the record of Sebastian Vettel, who finished sixth for Aston Martin, for the most by a Red Bull driver.

With Perez finishing second, Red Bull are 80 points clear of closest challengers Ferrari in the constructors' standings with 14 race weekends remaining.

"To have a one-two as a team, it was a really good day for us," Verstappen added. "I don't know what clicked exactly – maybe tyre behaviour and general grip of the car? 

"That's what you need around here so you can look after your tyres."

Perez started strongly in the Azerbaijani capital and claimed a bonus point for setting the fastest lap, though he was ultimately unable to match Verstappen's pace.

The Mexican was instructed by his team not to fight against Verstappen for first place, a decision in which he accepts

"I think it was the right call by the team because at that time Max was a bit further ahead. It’s a good team result," he told Sky Sports.

"In this place anything can happen. At the end of the day we managed to do a one-two so it’s a great team result."

Despite climbing above Leclerc into second in the overall standings, Perez believes lessons can be learned ahead of next week's Canadian Grand Prix.

"Unfortunately we missed the virtual safety car stop," he said. "There was some miscommunication and in the end it was a bit too late. 

"We were a bit unlucky there because that would have made our race when we were leading.

"The degradation was extremely high on that medium tyre. It's something we have to understand because certainly Max was a lot stronger on that medium stint.

"There are a lot of things we have to review from today, but it was still a very good team result."

Charles Leclerc was left struggling for words after Ferrari's recent woes continued as he was forced to retire from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Leclerc claimed pole for the street race in Baku but became the first driver since Juan Pablo Montoya in 2001 to start on pole in four successive races and not win any of them.

An engine failure saw him retire on lap 20, ending any hope of what looked to be a looming battle with championship rival Max Verstappen.

His retirement followed that of team-mate Carlos Sainz on lap nine due to a hydraulics issue, with further worries coming as Ferrari customers Alfa Romeo and Haas saw Zhou Guanyu and Kevin Magnussen end their races early, the latter seemingly due to an engine problem.

Verstappen went on to cruise to a victory that puts him 34 points ahead of Leclerc, with his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez leapfrogging the Monegasque in the standings. Perez leads Leclerc by 13 points.

Ferrari are also 80 points behind Red Bull in the constructors' standings and Leclerc could not hide his disappointment after a second retirement in three races.

"It hurts, we really need to look into that for it not to happen again, I don't really find the right words to describe this," Leclerc told Sky Sports.

"It's very, very disappointing. I don't know.

"We really need to look into it. We've been fast and we didn't have big problems in the first part of the season.

"Now it seems we have a bit more compared to the beginning of the season, but we didn't change massive things, if anything we made the thing better.

"It's difficult to understand for now, we will have to analyse, obviously I don't have the full picture of what happened but just personally again it hurts."

Sainz was slightly more upbeat after his third retirement of the year.

He said to Sky Sports: "It's a bad day for the team, but we need to make sure that we stay together, we stay positive, better days will come and so far the 2022 season is definitely not going my way.

"On my side we've just been terribly unlucky the whole season, it's been quite difficult to get any kind of momentum going this season. I cannot do two consecutive races without anything happening.

"I need laps and I need races to keep understanding the car. It's a shame but we are a team, we're going to stay united, we're going to stay positive because better days will come."

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