Sergio Perez won the Azerbaijan GP with an impressive driving performance that allowed him to move up from his sixth place on the grid. He had rapidly improved to P4, and secured his second place after the pit stops, despite a slow stop.
He inherited the race lead from his teammate Max Verstappen, who suffered from a tyre failure and crashed. Perez was elated after his second GP victory, as he stated during the post-race interviews, but his immediate thoughts were with him:
''I'm so, so happy, for today. Normally Baku is pretty crazy. First of all I have to say I'm very sorry for Max because he did a tremendous race and he really deserved the win. It would have been incredible to get that one-two for the team, but at the end, it is a fantastic day for us."
He said that he didn't have a perfect race restart: "We had pretty cold tyres for that restart. I think Lewis had a better one [start], but I just tried to brake as late as possible and I was like, ‘no way I’m losing this one’."
Perez described his sensation, and commented on Lewis Hamilton's mistake, which costed him what could have been a second-place:
"So I just tried to brake as late as possible, Lewis was on the inside line, on the dirty line and unfortunately for him...it just shows how vulnerable we all are to mistakes. We are operating at such a high-level lap after lap that these things can happen to anyone."
The Mexican driver didn't have an easy end of the race, as he was "nursing an hydraulic issue", in the words of his team principal Christian Horner:
"We were close to retire the car but luckily we managed to finish the race and it was really quite difficult all the way till the end."
"It was a big thing," he added. "The team asked me basically not to weave, I couldn't warm up the tyres at the restart, so we were just trying to get to the end. It was only two laps to go and it was our race to be lost because we were in the lead. It was everything to lose and not much to win because we were on pole. We just had to do two laps, but getting that that start right was a big thing."June 6, 2021
Checo was extremely pleased with his maiden win for his new team, which comes after a rather difficult beginning of the season, and praised the hard work of his team.
"This is definitely a strong boost of confidence for myself and for the team. We didn't have the start of the season that we were hoping for, I found my adaptation harder than expected. But we've been working extremely hard since day one with the engineers back in the factory and finally we got a very good result for the team."
After his impressive weekend in Baku Perez has climbed up to p3 in the driver's championship, with Red Bull securing a nice lead in the constructors' standings after Mercedes failed to score.
"We’ve been showing flashes of speed here and there, but I think this weekend, everything was looking great until Q3 run one where we got it wrong, but we didn't let ourselves [get] down and we looked forward and we had a tremendous race."
He's pleased with the growing confidence he's developing with his new car, and hopes his performance will constantly grow:
"I certainly feel that I made good progress, not just this weekend, also in Monaco. Every weekend the understanding grows. It's only race number six of the season, there's still plenty to go, but it's important to keep this momentum and keep improving race after race."June 6, 2021