Sergio Perez claimed a brilliant victory on Saturday afternoon in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix sprint race, with the Mexican having overtaken Charles Leclerc early on to cruise to victory.
Perez made a good start from second and settled into the sprint quickly, before making his way past Leclerc on the run down to the opening corner after a handful of laps.
After using his RB19’s mighty straight-line to overtake Leclerc, the Mexican never looked back on his way to claiming eight points and a first-place medal, with Perez having reduced Max Verstappen’s lead to 13 points.
Leclerc’s race was also fairly uneventful after being overtaken by Perez, with the Monegasque having held on comfortably to claim second.
By claiming second, Leclerc also secured seven points, meaning he doubled his current tally following his miserable start to the year.
Behind Leclerc was Verstappen, who was absolutely furious after the race due to having been hit by George Russell at the second corner on the opening lap.
Russell locked-up and under-steered into the side of the Dutchman, creating a large hole in Verstappen’s left sidepod.
The Mercedes driver actually moved ahead of Verstappen following the collision; however, Verstappen was able to get back into third a few laps later.
Despite recovering the spot, Verstappen remained livid with Russell, given that the damage somewhat ended the reigning World Champion’s hopes of overtaking Perez and Leclerc.
Verstappen’s anger was evident in parc ferme, with the Dutchman having waited for Russell to walk past, in order to vent his frustration.
Verstappen’s rant at Russell was followed by calling the Briton a “di*khead”, with their altercation having been comically screenshot.
The screenshot in question has since gone viral on social media, given that in front of Verstappen arguing with Russell, there is Perez and Leclerc shaking hands.
“Max and George arguing, meanwhile Checo and Charles,” wrote @Vetteleclerc on Twitter
Even if Russell hadn’t hit Verstappen, the likelihood is that the Red Bull driver wouldn’t have caught his team-mate, who put on an excellent display at a circuit he often goes well at.
Perez was very pleased with his sprint win but admitted that his starting position for Sunday’s main race “is not ideal”.
“It was good, with these tricky sessions,” Perez said in his parc ferme post-race interview.
“It’s been a lot of pressure put on us and our teams. To get away with maximum points today was the main objective. We were able to learn a bit but obviously tomorrow we are going to be on much higher fuel loads… P3 is not ideal for tomorrow’s race but I will give it a go and fight for the win.”