Sergio Perez Wins A Thriller In Baku
Sergio Perez has taken his first win for Red Bull Racing, winning a thriller around the streets of Baku on a day of mixed emotions for his team.
While Perez was celebrating, there was heartbreak for his teammate Max Verstappen who had been cruising to victory until a tyre failure put him into the wall and out of the race, costing the Dutchman certain victory.
Joy For Sergio Perez
Although he was disappointed to see his teammate crash out, on a personal note, it was a day to savour for Sergio Perez, who had been coming under increasing pressure to lift his performance in the Red Bull.
“We love Baku! It feels amazing to get my first win with Red Bull. The Team did a tremendous job and I want to thank Mr Mateschitz for this great opportunity and giving me the seat. I feel very sorry for Max because he deserved the win and a 1-2 for the Team would’ve been very enjoyable. It was a crazy rollercoaster of a race, we were basically flat out from the very first lap and I had Lewis behind pushing me so I couldn’t breathe, it was very challenging but we kept our focus. Everything worked perfectly today apart from the restart at the end where I just had no grip. I thought I cannot lose this race two laps from the flag so I broke as late as I could into Turn 1 and then I saw Lewis locking up and go straight on into the run off. It just shows how on the limit we are, the speeds we are doing are tremendous and I am sorry for Lewis because it’s very painful when these things happen but we are all vulnerable to mistakes. We have to enjoy today, our pace was great and we have a very good race car. We are working flat out and giving our best every week, it’s only race six and there’s more to come from me, the relationship with Max and the Team is great and there’s still a long way to go in this championship,” said Perez.
Heartbreak For Max Verstappen
A visibly shaken Max Verstappen was frustrated to have had the race win taken away from him in such cruel fashion, especially as it would have extended his lead over Lewis Hamilton in the 2021 Driver’s Championship.
“To retire from the lead of the race so close to the finish is pretty frustrating. I didn’t feel anything strange with the car and then suddenly the left rear went and I was in the wall quite hard. It’s not a nice place to crash and we don’t know the exact cause yet, I’m sure it will be fully investigated. Up until that point it was a great day, the car felt perfect and I was comfortable in the lead so it felt like it would be an easy 1-2 but there are no guarantees in this sport. Of course I am frustrated from my side not to win but I was very happy to see Checo up there. He did everything that the Team could have wanted today. He had a great start and then we both got past Lewis in the pits. I heard he had to defend for most of the race, so if I couldn’t win, I’m glad he could. He’s a great guy and a great teammate so it was good to see him smiling on the podium and having his first win for Red Bull. It’s a shame that we missed out on the opportunity to make the gap bigger to Lewis today in the championship as we know when we get back to the normal tracks Mercedes will be very strong again but it just goes to show anything can happen and it’s still a good result for the Team!” added Verstappen.
Rollercoaster Ride For Christian Horner
From cruising to a 1-2 victory, to a serious crash for his championship leader, to the ecstasy of Sergio Perez first win in Red Bull colours, the FORMULA 1 AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX 2021 saw Christian Horner go through the full spectrum of emotions.
“What a rollercoaster! I think we have been through every single emotion today. To be within five laps of achieving our first 1-2 since 2016 to then lose Max from the lead of the race with a puncture that is so far unexplained was pretty heart breaking. The race was then red flagged and we had serious concerns that Sergio was losing hydraulic pressure and there were no guarantees he would make it to the finish. Thankfully Sergio got the job done and Lewis’ mistake into Turn 1 at the restart means we come out of the weekend having extended our lead in the Constructors’ Championship with Max maintaining his lead in the Drivers’ and Checo now moving into third place. Although it was frustrating for Max, we are delighted for Checo to take his first win for the Team today. He has been extremely fast all weekend and it was a great boost for the Team to see him on the top step of the podium. It was also great to see Pierre on up there on the podium after a strong weekend but today we would like to dedicate this win to Mansour Ojjeh who was unfortunately lost from the McLaren family and our sport, he was inspirational and someone I was fortunate enough to call a friend. Congratulations and a big thank you must also go to all our partners, especially Mobil 1 who provided us with an upgraded engine oil for this weekend which just shows how hard all areas of our Team are pushing in this championship fight,” concluded Horner.