Sergio Perez’s upheld his profitable track record in Baku, the Racing Point charger bringing home a sixth-place finish to his team after a “demanding” but spirited Sunday drive.

Perez was prompt to blast off the grid when the lights went out, edging Max Verstappen for fourth into Turn 1.

The Mexican struggled however to keep the Red Bull driver behind, eventually yielding to the Dutchman’s pressure.

After a switch from softs to medium tyres, Perez fell into the clutches of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz but opposed a fierce resistance to the McLaren duo all the way to the checkered flag.

“It’s been a fantastic day,” said Perez.

“It was looking great at the start when I overtook Verstappen, but then very early on we saw where our pace was and it was more about beating those McLarens that were very strong today.

“It was a very demanding race from my side because I spent basically the whole race on the limit fighting those temperatures.

“I struggled quite a lot on the first stint but luckily we got good points for the team and it’s been a fantastic day for us.”

Perez’s top-six finish was nicely complemented with …

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Ferrari came into the 2019 on a high, boosted by a strong showing in pre-season testing in Spain. That was before the first race of the season in Australia, which proved to be something of a reality check for Sebastian Vettel.

Three races later and a crushing run of race performances from Mercedes has left Vettel acknowledging that any hopes Ferrari might have an edge over their rivals have now been well and truly dashed.

“We are not the favourites going to Barcelona,” he told the media immediately after the end of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday. “Obviously the last four races on average we were not quite there.

“There’s still plenty of work for us to do, obviously we were not quite where we want to be. At this point I think we just need to maximise what we can.

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari in the FIA Press Conference. 28.04.2019.

“The team is in good spirits. We have another couple of upgrades to get on the car,” he said. “[But] we need to chase them down.

“We are looking forward hopefully to a smooth weekend [for the Spanish Grand Prix],” he added. “Our first four weekends haven’t been that smooth, but it will be crucial to catch them and turn the things around.”

As for Sunday’s race, Vettel agreed that his initial run on soft tyres had left him struggling.

“The first stint was really poor, I struggled to initially get the tyres to work,” he conceded. “I really struggled to find a rhythm.

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Valtteri Bottas put in a textbook performance to clinch his second race victory of the season in the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Finn looked composed and comfortable throughout a surprisingly incident-free race on Baku City Circuit, his Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton having to settle for second after an initial furious wheel-to-wheel battle between the pair at the start.

Despite being considered to have the much faster car this weekend, Ferrari seemed unable to match the Silver Arrows for race pace. Sebastian Vettel ultimately finished in third ahead of Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, who pulled off a nice bit of damage limitation after his crash in qualifying the previous day.

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W10 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W10 lead at the start of the race.

With three cars required to start the race from pit lane – Robert Kubica, Kimi Raikkonen and Pierre Gasly all sent to the naughty step for various rules infractions over the course of the weekend – it was a somewhat depleted grid of just 17 cars that lined up in the afternoon sunshine of Baku, headed by the two Mercedes cars of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton.

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Nico Rosberg says Ferrari was ill-advised to put Charles Leclerc on medium tyres in Q2, a decision that led to the Monegasque’s costly crash according to the 2016 world champion.

Leclerc looked like a sure candidate for pole in Baku after running ahead of the field since the start of the race weekend on Friday.

But half-way into the second segment of qualifying, the Scuderia charger lost it at the treacherous Turn 8, the corner that had claimed Williams’ Robert Kubica just minutes earlier.

Leclerc clouted the wall on the outside and stepped out of his car considerably dejected with himself.

“They just completely threw it away again in qualifying. It’s unreal how they manage to do it every single time,” said Rosberg in a Vlog on Youtube.

“Leclerc was on for a definite pole position, he was really on it all weekend.”

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Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc edged team mate Sebastian Vettel by 0.324s to lead the opening day of free practice in Baku.

The Scuderia pair were never really challenged during Friday’s single session, running comfortably in front of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ended the day P4, splitting the Silver Arrows pair.

After this morning’s drama, Baku’s crews diligently checked and sealed the over 300 drain covers spread across the track, allowing the F2 qualifying session to unfold without any issues.

That gave teams the thumbs up for FP2 – their first complete practice session of the day.

Before the action got underway, Pirelli’s representatives noted that the late afternoon session was actually the more representative one compared to FP1 as it was set to take place at the same time as qualifying and the race.

Many were those – like Mercedes – who skipped their installation laps to get straight down to business.

While Hamilton set the first benchmark time, it was quickly bettered by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc who put a 1m44.748 on the board.

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Renault special advisor and F1 legend Alain Prost insists the French manufacture will at some point have one of the best power units in Formula 1.

Renault’s Viry Châtillon engine department has endured a rough start to the 2019 season with a series of MGU-K failures suffered by the manufacturer’s works outfit and its customer McLaren.

Carlos Sainz was sidelined in Melbourne by the element’s breakdown, while Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo were simultaneously hit with problems in the closing stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

All Renault engines were fitted with an updated MGU-K in China but Hulkenberg was once again stopped by a rupture, although one rooted in a software glitch rather than in the …

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Former Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger believes the sum of Mattia Binotto’s wide-ranging responsibilities could critically overwhelm the Scuderia boss.

After several months of intrigue and rumors last season of a dissention among the Scuderia’s top brass, the House of Maranello underwent management changes at the turn of the year, with team principal Maurizio Arrivabene replaced by the Scuderia’s technical director Mattia Binotto.

While the move has undoubtedly changed the complexion of the Italian outfit, for the better, results on the track have not yet met the expectations generated by Ferrari during pre-season testing.

Berger isn’t sure the Scuderia’s ‘one man at the helm’ approach will be beneficial to Ferrari compared to Mercedes and Red Bull, where responsibilities are spread across several prominent leaders.

“The usual thing with Ferrari is, someone getting the responsibility, and getting all responsibility,” explained Berger, quoted by

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Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff believes Ferrari’s decision in China to swap the running order of its drivers early in the race may have set a risky precedent.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc overtook team mate Sebastian Vettel at the start of the race in Shanghai but was ordered to yield to the faster German after ten laps, to give Vettel an opportunity to bridge the gap with the front-running Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

Vettel failed to catch up with the Silver Arrows cars while Leclerc, as a result of letting his team mate through, eventually fell into the clutches of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and lost a position to the Dutchman during the race’s first pit stop rotations.

Wolff said he understood the motivation behind the Ferrari pit wall’s decision to swap its drivers, but insist

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Kiwi Mitch Evans valiantly fought off the relentless assaults of poleman André Lotterer to clinch Jaguar’s first win in the ABB FIA Formula E championship.

Conditions were mixed in the Eternal City on Saturday with a rain-hit qualifying session that saw Techeetah’s Lotterer secure pole from Evans and HWA’s Stoffel Vandoorne.

The clouds had blown over however by the time the afternoon race was launched, but a messy first lap and a mishap by José Maria Lopez led to a pile up involving Gary Paffett and Jean-Eric Vergne, with several other drivers stranded as collateral damage.

The red-flagged race was suspended for 45 minutes and when it resumed…

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Lewis Hamilton rejected Max Verstappen’s suggestion that an unwritten rule exists between drivers that governs on-track behavior during out laps in qualifying.

The Red Bull charger took aim at Sebastian Vettel and both Renault’s drivers after Saturday’s shootout session in Shanghai, accusing the group of ruining an attempt at a last-ditch effort in the closing stages of qualifying by overtaking before the end of his out lap.

“So they f****d up my entire build up, while there is an unwritten rule that you just follow each other,” an angry Verstappen told Dutch broadcaster Ziggo Sport when all was said and done.

Hamilton responded on social media to the Red Bull drivers “unwritten rule” claim with a laconic “Nope”.

Daniel Ricciardo, who was among those that overtook Verstappen at the end of Q3, argued…

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