George Russell

George Russell’s remarkable streak of finishing every race in 2022 in the top five continued with his third rostrum appearance of the year.

Russell made an early pit stop under the Virtual Safety Car which allowed him to jump the midfield traffic, unlike teammate Lewis Hamilton, who was forced to queue and lost significant ground.

Has Ferrari’s title challenge GONE UP IN SMOKE? | 2022 F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

With Russell in clear air, he was able to pull clear of the rest of the midfield with ease before making a second stop under the other VSC period to ensure he finished third.

Sunday also means Russell has beaten Hamilton seven races in a row - equalling Nico Rosberg’s record from Mexico 2015 to Russia 2016.

Could he make it eight and beat the record in Canada?

Pierre Gasly

After a difficult Monaco weekend where he was eliminated in Q1, Pierre Gasly was back to his very best in Baku.

The Frenchman managed to split the two Mercedes cars in qualifying and was on for fourth before AlphaTauri’s decision not to pit him under the second VSC period.

If he did, a fine drive to fourth was on the cards but regardless fifth is impressive given AlphaTauri’s lack of form, relative to 2021, this year.

Max Verstappen & Red Bull

It was a timely reminder to everyone who was getting carried away about Sergio Perez that the reigning F1 champion is still the main man at Red Bull.

While Verstappen continues to struggle to unlock the RB18’s one-lap pace, his race-day performances are as devastating as ever.

The Dutchman quickly reduced a two-second deficit to Perez once Charles Leclerc stopped under the Virtual Safety Car before overtaking his teammate, quickly building a five-second lead.

Verstappen did benefit from team intervention - not team orders though, according to boss Christian Horner, but in the context of the race, Red Bull were right to do so given that the 24-year-old was their best shot at beating Leclerc.

Once Leclerc was out of the race due to his engine failure, it was a comfortable afternoon for Red Bull, which secured their third 1-2 of the season. 

Verstappen now has a 21-point lead over Perez in the championship, while Red Bull are 80 points clear of Ferrari.

Sebastian Vettel

The four-time F1 champion churned out another vintage performance in Baku as he made it back-to-back Q3 appearances.

Vettel converted his top 10 start into Aston Martin’s first top-six finish of the year.

It wasn’t a completely straightforward race for the German as he was forced to take to the Turn 3 escape road when he misjudged his braking while battling Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.

However, Vettel deserves credit for his fast reactions and 360-degree spin to get back on track with minimal time loss.

And the losers…

Charles Leclerc & Ferrari

It was the worst day possible for Leclerc and Ferrari as their title hopes went up in smoke.

Carlos Sainz’s retirement on Lap 9 due to a hydraulic issue set off an awful day for the Scuderia in Azerbaijan.

Ferrari opted to pit Leclerc under the VSC - their only chance of beating the two Red Bulls to the victory.

But, we didn’t get to see how that strategy would have played out after Leclerc’s engine blew on Lap 21.

After such great promise, Leclerc and Ferrari’s season is slowly going down the drain.

Yuki Tsunoda

Yuki Tsunoda has enjoyed a remarkable leap in performance in 2022 and his performance in Baku was a mature one.

Tsunoda was running comfortably in sixth before an unusual rear wing issue occurred in the closing laps of the race, forcing him into an unscheduled pit stop.

AlphaTauri were forced to apply gaffer tape in an amusing fashion and Tsunoda was told to avoid using DRS.

His race was already over with Tsunoda ultimately finishing down in 13th.

Lance Stroll

With Vettel finishing inside the top six, where was his Aston Martin teammate, Lance Stroll?

Stroll endured a miserable qualifying outing in Baku where he qualified twice in two laps, putting him out in Q1 for the third race in succession.

The Canadian drove an anonymous race, struggling for outright pace meaning he was never a contender for points in Azerbaijan.

Vettel is getting the most from the Aston Martin while Stroll appears to have gone backwards compared to last year.

Alfa Romeo

It was a missed opportunity for Alfa Romeo in Baku with rookie Guanyu Zhou enjoying his best weekend as an F1 driver. 

Zhou was on course to finish inside the top eight as he was running right behind Vettel before his latest retirement. 

It’s Zhou’s third DNF in four races with mechanical gremlins impacting his debut season severely. 

On the other hand, Valtteri Bottas had a weekend to forget.

The 2019 Azerbaijan GP winner’s pace was nowhere in qualifying and in the race - in complete contrast to his form this year.

Bottas eluded to there being an issue with his car but given his display for Mercedes in the 2020 race, perhaps the Finn simply lacked confidence around Baku’s tight streets.

Mick Schumacher 

The only positive for Mick Schumacher in Baku is that he avoided another Monaco-like shunt.

Haas team boss Guenther Steiner warned after Monaco that the team simply couldn’t afford any more major crashes due to the cost cap.

Schumacher qualified 1.1s behind teammate Kevin Magnussen and didn’t really feature in Sunday’s grand prix, only running ahead of Nicholas Latifi, who got hit with two penalties.