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Analysis

How three drivers 'won' the Azerbaijan GP

Formula 1's return to Baku after a year away had thrown up an eventful qualifying marred by four red flags, but the race appeared to be running to a familiar Red Bull vs Mercedes template entering the closing stages. That is, until a dramatic conclusion where victory was snatched away from two drivers, before landing in the lap of Sergio Perez

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Considering all that was the come, the opening lap of the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix was pretty much pure serenity. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc led comfortably away from pole, while Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen slotted in behind, ready to unleash their expected race pace advantage over their red rival.

Behind the top three by the end of lap one of 51 was eventual race winner Sergio Perez, who’d passed Carlos Sainz Jr and Pierre Gasly to move up from sixth on the grid. The Ferrari was dispatched on the exit of the first corner, when Sainz lost momentum challenging Gasly on the outside line, and Perez then outdragged the AlphaTauri on the outside run down the back straight in the first sector.

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