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Hamilton points run ends in nine-year Mercedes low as Perez peaks

Hamilton points run ends in nine-year Mercedes low as Perez peaks

F1 News

Hamilton points run ends in nine-year Mercedes low as Perez peaks

Hamilton points run ends in nine-year Mercedes low as Perez peaks

It was the end of a dismal double for Mercedes as the team posted its lowest two-race points haul in almost a decade, but there were plenty of contrasting stats highs from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix for other teams and drivers on the grid.

Sergio Perez took his first win for Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel claimed Aston Martin’s first podium, Fernando Alonso posted his best finish since 2018 and Yuki Tsunoda achieved a career-best seventh place. Here are some of the most interesting – and in some cases surprising – stats from the race in Baku.

Dismal day for Mercedes

Oh dear, what a weekend for Mercedes. After troubles in Monaco, Baku was bad from the off and despite the pace improving to get Lewis Hamilton up to second in the race, a rare mistake from the champion meant the team left in despair.

Valtteri Bottas’ 10th place in qualifying matched the team’s worst performance since he was 10th in Belgium in 2018, with Hamilton 14th two races before that in Germany. [Bottas did start 20th in Abu Dhabi in 2019 but due to a penalty].

In the race, Bottas was nowhere, finishing out of the points on pace while Hamilton slid out of second after his error at the restart, ending his 54-race scoring streak.

The world champion last went home pointless after the Austrian Grand Prix in 2018, while it also ended a run of 55 points finishes for Mercedes, the fourth-longest streak in F1 history.

Remarkably, it is Mercedes' worst two-race points total since the final two grands prix of 2012 when Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg drove for the team before Hamilton's arrival the following season.

Perez flying high

Hamilton’s pain was Perez’s gain as he secured his second win in eight races after winning with his previous team, Racing Point, at the Sakhir GP in the penultimate race of last season.

Only Max Verstappen and Hamilton have achieved more regular wins, with Bottas’ last victory coming in Russia 14 races ago. Pierre Gasly is the only other winner outside those four since Sebastian Vettel won for Ferrari in 2019.

It was the first Red Bull victory for any driver other than Max Verstappen since Daniel Ricciardo won the Monaco Grand Prix in 2018.

Gasly completes 1-2-3 full set

Pierre Gasly has been flying all season and his battling third place, achieved with a true racer’s effort to fend off Charles Leclerc in the two-lap sprint to the finish, secured his third career podium.

The AlphaTauri driver completed his 1-2-3 set after winning in Monza in 2020 and taking second place in Brazil the preceding year when the team was known as Toro Rosso.

It was Gasly’s fifth consecutive points finish and the second podium for AlphaTauri in 23 races, just one less than the team achieved in the 268 races it entered in its previous guise.

Podium eludes Leclerc again

There were plenty of highs for Ferrari as Charles Leclerc secured his and the team’s second consecutive pole position to put the team back at the front of the field for the first time since 2019.

The Monégasque driver, who managed to take up his pack-leading position this time after failing to make the grid in Monaco, expected to be passed by his rivals due to a lack of race pace but again he failed to make the podium.

It was the third time he has finished fourth this season, meaning he has yet to make it onto the podium in 2021, despite his strong performances. Surely, it is only a matter of time.

Tsunoda delight

It was double delight at AlphaTauri as Yuki Tsunoda turned things around in the race after crashing out in qualifying as he made his first appearance in a top-10 shoot out.

The Japanese driver had his car repaired overnight and kept his head in the race to claim a career-best seventh, securing the best result for a Japanese driver since Kamui Kobayashi was sixth in Abu Dhabi in 2012.

Proof of unpredictable Azerbaijan

The Baku streets are renowned for unpredictability and that was not short this weekend, as the statistics proved.

A quarter of the drivers on the grid crashed in qualifying, bringing out four red flags and ending the final session prematurely for the second race in a row. The last time there were as many stoppages was at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2016.

The race itself was fairly predictable until the late drama but with the title contenders out of the way, winner Perez came from sixth on the grid and second-placed Vettel started 11th.

In Baku’s six races so far, seven of the 15 podium finishers have come from outside the top five on the grid

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