Sergio Perez won a wild Azerbaijan Formula 1 Grand Prix where both championship protagonists failed to score a point.
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton were running first and third coming into the final five laps.
However, a left-rear puncture along the main straight sent Verstappen careening into the concrete barrier at over 300 kph.
A similar accident occurred earlier when Lance Stroll suffered a tyre failure on the straight and crashed heavily.
F1 tyre supplier Pirelli says an investigation into why these tyres failed is currently ongoing.
“I believe I can exclude that the failures were due to tyre wear,” Pirelli’s F1 boss Mario Isola said.
“For Max, it could be debris from Lance’s car,” said Isola. “For Lance, honestly I don’t know because there were no incidents before his crash.”
Verstappen’s accident triggered the red flag, and a sure victory slipped from his grasp.
The full-grid restart then took place with two laps remaining, with Perez and Hamilton on the front row.
Hamilton got the better start but then violently locked his front brakes and shot down the escape road, dropping him to dead last.
The defending world champion had accidentally changed a brake bias preset on his steering wheel before the start.
“I no idea I’d even touched it,” Hamilton said post-race.
That left Perez to romp home to his first win with Red Bull, while Sebastian Vettel emerged from the chaos to snare second for Aston Martin.
“I’m very sorry for Max because he did a tremendous race and he really deserved the win,” Perez said.
“It would have been incredible to get that one-two for the team, but at the end, it is a fantastic day for us.”
Pierre Gasly and pole-sitter Charles Leclerc had a ding-dong battle over the two-lap restart.
Leclerc snuck the Ferrari ahead of Gasly at turn one at the start of the final lap before the AlphaTauri driver immediately retaliated and re-claimed the position.
Gasly clung on to the finish third, with Leclerc the highest-placed Ferrari in fourth.
Lando Norris was a big mover in the restart, and he climbed to fifth, ahead of Fernando Alonso.
Yuki Tsunoda put both AlphaTauri cars in the top ten with an seventh-place finish.
Meanwhile, Carlos Sainz recovered from a venture down an escape road to finish eighth and add to his points tally.
Completer the scorers were Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen.
Championship-wise, Verstappen still leads Hamilton by four points as Perez leapfrogs Norris to move into third.
The next round of the world championship will be the French Grand Prix on June 21.
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