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F1: Verstappen crashes out of Azerbaijan Grand Prix
6 June 2021, 16:09
Max Verstappen crashed out of the lead of the Azerbaijan Grand with just five laps remaining following a horror tyre failure at 200mph.
Verstappen took charge of the race in Baku following a slow pit stop for Lewis Hamilton and looked poised to run away to the chequered flag before he suffered the high-speed puncture as he was completing lap 46 of 51.
The failure sent the Red Bull driver into the concrete wall on the right-hand side of the start-finish straight.
He was able to walk away from the high-speed crash, kicking the tyre which had failed, with the safety car deployed, and the race then red-flagged on lap 49.
Verstappen's team mate Sergio Perez assumed the lead ahead of Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, and clinched victory to win the race.
Hamilton also failed to finish the race.
"I am so happy," said Perez. "Normally Baku is pretty crazy. I am sorry for Max because he did a tremendous race and deserved the win.
"At the re-start, I had a poor start and Lewis was alongside me but I broke as late as I could and it didn't work for him."
Vettel said: "It means a great deal to finish on the podium. "It has been a tough start (to the season for Aston Martin) but we had good pace and that was the key.
"It is a great day and I am over the moon. We didn't expect to be on the podium."
But questions will now be asked of Formula One's tyre supplier, Pirelli, after Lance Stroll also suffered a high-speed blowout on lap 31.
Indeed, Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley implored FIA race chief Michael Masi to stop the race, fearing another devastating puncture.