Verstappen cashes in on Leclerc DNF to extend championship lead

Sports Desk, Jun 12 (EFE).- Max Verstappen extended his championship lead with a comfortable victory at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku on Sunday.

The Dutch reigning world champion and his teammate, Mexican Sergio Perez, capitalized on a disastrous race for championship rivals Ferrari to secure a 1-2 finish.

It was another disappointing day for the Scuderia, who handed Red Bull victory after both cars did not finish (DNF) due to engine failure for Charles Leclerc and hydraulic issues for Carlos Sainz.

It was the second DNF in three races for Leclerc, who started Sunday on pole but lost the lead to Perez on the first corner. He has started on pole four weeks in a row and has failed to win any of those races.

After a promising start to the season which saw the Monegasque driver open up a 46-point lead, Leclerc now trails Verstappen by 34 points after dropping behind Perez into third in the drivers’ championship.

“I can’t find the words to describe it. It’s very, very disappointing. It hurts,” Leclerc said.

Red Bull also maintained its lead in the Constructors’ championship with 279 points, 80 ahead of Ferrari.

The Scuderia’s horror show opened the door for Mercedes’ George Russell to finish third as he continued to surpass expectations to again end the race ahead of his teammate, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

The other Spaniard in the race, the double world champion Fernando Alonso (Alpine), who had started tenth, finished the race in an impressive seventh position.

Ahead of him, French Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) crossed the line in fifth, and the German four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), came in sixth.

The two McLarens of Australian Daniel Ricciardo and Englishman Lando Norris finished eighth and ninth, respectively, while Frenchman Esteban Ocon, Alonso’s teammate at Alpine, finished tenth to round out the points.

The next race, the Canadian Grand Prix, will be held next weekend at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit in Montreal. EFE


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