Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Perez closes on Verstappen in F1 title race

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Sergio Perez drove a consummate race with help from the safety car to beat Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen and win the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Perez and Verstappen fought a long, flat-out battle after the Mexican leapfrogged ahead by being able to save time by making his pit stop under the safety car.

Perez had Verstappen’s measure, holding him at just over a second behind for a long time before beginning to edge further ahead in the closing stages, and his second win of the year reduced the Dutchman’s championship lead to six points.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc – who started the race from pole, was soon dispatched by both Red Bulls after the start, and by Verstappen for a second time after the safety-car period – won a tight battle with Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso for the final podium position.

It was a much-needed fillip for Leclerc and Ferrari after a disappointing and difficult start to the season.

The Monegasque’s team-mate Carlos Sainz took fifth, succeeding in holding off Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, which dropped out of the top 10 after the safety car. (BBC)

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