Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen crashed out from the lead of
the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after a left rear tire failure catapulted him into the wall on
the main straight on lap 47 of 51.
The 23-year-old’s accident should have given Lewis Hamilton victory and top spot in
the Drivers’ Championship – but he dramatically crashed out at the restart.
Verstappen, with clear road in front of him, lost control of his Red Bull in the 47th lap
and crashed into the wall.
His rear left tyre gave way – the same problem Lance Stroll experienced in his Aston
Martin earlier in the race.
The title candidate couldn’t believe his luck, getting out of his knackered vehicle and
kicking the faulty tyre in frustration.
Verstappen then stormed off the track before the race was stopped two laps later.
The crash is a massive boost for title Hamilton, who was on the verge of losing ground in
the Drivers’ Championship.
The 36-year-old Brit made a great start to the GP when he over took Charles Leclerc, who
failed to take advantage of a second successive pole.
Red Bull pair Verstappen and Sergio Perez then overtook Leclerc to move into second and
third respectively and pile pressure on Hamilton.
And then the Mercedes driver had a moment to forget as a 4.6-second pit stop saw him
drop back into third.