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2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix - Sprint Shootout & Sprint Race

The much-awaited new sprint weekend format made its first appearance this Saturday at the 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Did this new revision to the tried and tested grand prix weekend format live up to the expectations? Keep reading until the end to find out!

This Saturday saw the first outing of the brand new “Sprint Shootout” session. It was essentially a mini-qualifying session, which determined the starting grid for the sprint race later in the day.

Similar to regular qualifying, this session was divided into three sessions as SQ1, SQ2, and SQ3. Logan Sargent collided with the wall near the end of SQ1, bringing the session to a halt and eliminating Yuki Tsunoda who had a brilliant performance just 24 hours earlier.

Alex Albon had one of his most impressive performances so far, qualifying in front of both the Aston Martins.

Charles Leclerc carried the momentum of yesterday to secure the pole position once again, followed closely by Sergio Perez in his Red Bull RB19. However, the Monogasque finished the session in an unusual manner, heading straight into the wall after setting the fastest time of the session. 

  1. Charles Leclerc 1m 41.697s
  2. Sergio Perez 1m 41.844s\
  3. Max Verstappen 1m 41.987s

The 17-lap sprint race started with Charles Leclerc speeding off into the distance, with George Russell and Max Verstappen having a bit of a tangle for P3. However, it was the Mercedes driver who came out on top at the end, demoting the Red Bull driver.

Up front, the pace of Sergio Perez’s Red Bull was no match for Leclerc, and the Mexican driver overtook him for the lead. Baku is well known for its carnage, and it was made evident once again as Yuki Tsunoda lost a rear wheel for the second time in two days.

This brought out the yellow flag, and Verstappen capitalized on the restart to claim P3 back for himself. The Aston Martin pair also managed to turn around their somewhat disappointing weekend to a double-point scoring finish. Elsewhere, Logan Sargent had to enjoy the sprint race from the pits as the damage he incurred during the shootout was deemed too much to fix in time, while Esteban Ocon had to take the start from the pitlane due to some changes done under Parc Ferme.

  1. Sergio Perez 33:17.667
  2. Charles Leclerc +4.463s
  3. Max Verstappen +5.065s


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