After what feels like an eternity, Formula One is back and what better to restart the season than the pacey, narrow streets of Baku? Red Bull driver Max Verstappen is the leader of the driver’s championship by 15 points, ahead of his teammate Sergio Perez. Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso is in P3 after an outstanding start to the season with Aston Martin, which saw him on the podium in all of the three previous races. Verstappen has won two of the three races so far this season while Perez has won one. Apart from the aforementioned three, Lewis Hamilton is the only driver who has finished in the top three so far this season.
Verstappen won the Australian Grand Prix after battling with the Mercedes drivers, avoiding multiple Safety Cars, and avoiding three red flags to finish ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. At the initial race start, Verstappen was passed by both George Russell and Hamilton. The Safety Car then made two quick appearances as a result of Alex Albon’s severe crash and Charles Leclerc’s retirement following a collision with Lance Stroll.
Ahead of the Azerbaijan GP, it seems likely that the Dutchman will be the one to claim maximum points on the day but one should not forget Sergio Perez’s skills when it comes to a street circuit. The two teammates could be locked in a heated battle for the win which might cause some tension in the Red Bull paddock and set up nicely for some mid-season drama.
Fernando Alonso is also one of the podium contenders and with three podiums in three races, it would be unwise to bet against him. However, the likes of Haimlton and George Russell seem to be gradually getting up to speed and the Spaniard will have a difficult task if he wants to keep the Silver Arrows behind.
With all that in mind, here is a look at drivers who have won the Azerbaijan GP ahead of the race in 2023
Daniel Ricciardo (2017)
Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull Racing won his fifth career race, beating Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, while Lance Stroll became the first Canadian to stand on the podium since Jacques Villeneuve at the 2001 German Grand Prix, and the second youngest driver ever to do so. This would be Williams’ final podium finish until the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix. In the World Drivers’ Championship, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel led Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton by twelve points, while Mercedes led Ferrari by eight points in the World Constructors’ Championship. Lewis Hamilton started the race from the pole position.
Lewis Hamilton (2018)
The Azerbaijan Grand Prix turned into a demolition derby for the second year in a row, but Lewis Hamilton emerged unscathed to claim his first victory of the season. Kimi Räikkönen, who recovered admirably from a first-lap tangle, finished second, with Sergio Pérez third, his second podium appearance in Baku in three years. “I struggled with the car, I struggled with the tyres and I have to go away and ensure there is no repeat performance-wise of today,” Hamilton said after the race.
Valterri Bottas (2019)
Valtteri Bottas extended Mercedes’ incredible start to 2019 with a lights-to-flag victory at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, giving the Silver Arrows their fourth consecutive one-two finish. Sebastian Vettel finished third in Baku, with Ferrari failing to destabilise Mercedes despite their apparent straight-line advantage. He was ahead of Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, who has finished in the top four in every race this season. Meanwhile, Charles Leclerc was up next, the Monegasque recovering well from his qualifying crash yesterday to take his third fifth place of the year – while a late pit stop to try for the extra point for fastest lap paid dividends as he set a new lap record for the track.
Sergio Perez (2021)
Max Verstappen appeared to be on his way to his first Azerbaijan Grand Prix victory when he crashed out with just five laps to go, handing Sergio Perez his second career victory, while Lewis Hamilton locked up on the penultimate lap to finish 15th in a thrilling race in Baku. For the first time in the season, Charles Leclerc led from the start, but he was passed for the lead by Lewis Hamilton on Lap 2 with no need for DRS, thanks to the strong tow. Verstappen then passed the Ferrari driver on Lap 7.
Max Verstappen (2022)
After Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz retired, Max Verstappen led a Red Bull one-two in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with Mercedes’ George Russell finishing third. Pole-sitter Charles Leclerc lost the lead at the start but reclaimed it when Max Verstappen, the leading Red Bull, pitted on Lap 19. Leclerc’s race ended in a puff of smoke one lap later, and he crawled back to the pits to retire. This would be Ferrari’s second retirement of the race, following Carlos Sainz’s stop on Lap 9 due to a hydraulic failure.
Azerbaijan GP race winners until 2023
|Azerbaijan GP winner