By Robert Haile
Mexican Sergio Perez has won his first Grand Prix as a Red Bull driver today, June 6, taking the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after an eventful race.
Race winner Perez said: “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 roller coaster 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.”
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc started on pole position and led the race until lap two when Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton passed him with Red Bull’s Verstappen and Perez passing by lap ten.
Esteban Ocon’s race finished early for Alpine with power issues forcing the car to retire.
Going into the pit stops Hamilton went first but both Red Bull drivers came out in front of him when they completed theirs as Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel led the race having not stopped at that point.
Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, race finished the same way it did for qualifying as he crashed on lap thirty closing the pit lane due to where he crashed after a puncture to his rear left tyre.
At the restart Vettel made the most passing Leclerc then AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly to take fourth place.
Having qualified in sixth position Perez found himself out front when teammate Max Verstappen crashed on lap forty six, the same way Stroll did.
The race was suspended at lap forty eight with the race restarting on forty nine.
At the grid restart Hamilton was in second and briefly took the lead at the restart but locked the brakes and found himself dropping to sixteenth after going off into the first corner.
The two lap sprint was marked by the battle for third with Gasly holding off Leclerc and McLaren’s Lando Norris after Vettel took second.
Fernando Alonso finished sixth for Alpine with AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz coming seventh and eighth.
McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo came ninth with Kimi Räikkönen picking up his first point of the season for Alfa Romeo.
Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi came eleventh with Mercedes’s Valtteri Bottas twelfth ahead of Haas drivers Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin with Hamilton coming fifteenth due to Williams driver Nicholas Latifi being handed a post race thirty second to finish sixteenth.
After the Aston Martin teams first podium since returning to Formula 1 Vettel said: “I am over the moon and P2 means a great deal to all of us. We did not expect to be on the podium, but we made great progress through the weekend, and the car had strong race pace. Yesterday was challenging [due to the red flag in qualifying], but I was relaxed and confident going into the race. The key was being able to start with a free choice of tyres in P11.
“It meant we could use a new set of softs to make up two places at the start and then run longer to overcut Yuki [Tsunoda]. It gave us a platform for the second half of the race and put us in a position to take advantage. I felt good in the car, and combined with on-track events and strategy, we were able to get a really special result.”
Formula 1 heads to France for the Emirates Grand Prix De France on the 18-20 June before two trips to Austria.
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 105
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 101
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 69
- Lando Norris (McLaren) – 66
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 52
- Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 47
- Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – 42
- Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) – 31
- Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) – 28
- Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) – 26
- Fernando Alonso (Alpine) – 13
- Esteban Ocon (Alpine) – 12
- Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) – 9
- Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) – 8
- Kimi Räikkönen (Alfa Romeo) – 1
- Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) – 1
- Mick Schumacher (Haas) – 0
- George Russel (Williams) – 0
- Nikita Mazepin (Haas) – 0
- Nicholas Latifi (Williams) – 0
- Red Bull – 174
- Mercedes – 148
- Ferrari – 94
- McLaren – 92
- AlphaTauri – 39
- Aston Martin – 37
- Alpine – 25
- Alfa Romeo – 2
- Haas – 0
- Williams – 0