Sergio Perez won an extraordinarily dramatic Azerbaijan GP for Red Bull after team-mate Max Verstappen lost a certain victory in a high-speed accident five laps from the end, and Lewis Hamilton botched the subsequent restart.
After Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll had already suffered an accident when his left-rear tyre suddenly let go at around 200mph on the long main straight, Verstappen’s afternoon suffered a similarly scary conclusion.
Verstappen was headed for a key victory and stretch his title lead over Hamilton to 15 points when his own left-rear tyre suddenly let go and slammed into the outside wall on the pit straight as he ended lap 46.
Kicking the problematic tyre as he exited the crashed car, Verstappen trudged away and seemed set to lose the points lead to Hamilton, who was now second to Perez.
But there was one final extraordinary final twist to come.
After the race was red-flagged and the cars returned to the pit lane while the track could be cleared, the event was eventually restarted late into the Baku afternoon with a second standing start for the final two laps.
Hamilton, whose brakes were smoking as they lined back up on the grid, started second to Perez and got the better getaway and appeared set to lead into Turn One.
But, inexplicably for a driver who makes so few mistakes, Hamilton ran straight on and dropped to 16th place and out of the points.
With Perez closing out the final laps for his second career win, Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel capped a remarkable day to claim second and his first podium for his new team. The German had started 11th on the grid.
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, a consistent front-runner all weekend, took third.
Charles Leclerc was fourth with Lando Norris fifth.
With Valtteri Bottas enduring a dismal afternoon and finishing 12th, Mercedes ended with no points and slip further behind Red Bull in the standings.