Red Bull driver Sergio Pérez took the Azerbaijan Grand Prix victory as his teammate Max Verstappen crashed out with three laps to the end, causing a late red flag that prompted a restart for a 2-lap shootout.
The Mexican driver restarted strong and so did Lewis Hamilton alongside him, but the British driver was too ambitious and locked his tires up going into turn 1, forcing himself into the run-off area. Pérez was then able to capitalize on the mistake from the Mercedes and went on to win the Grand Prix.
After the race, Pérez expressed his happiness for the result, though admitted a Red Bull 1-2 would have left the team in better standing if Verstappen didn’t retire.
“I’m so happy for today,” he said after the race. “You know, the race normally in Baku is pretty crazy. I’m very sorry for Max because he did a tremendous race, he really deserved the win. It would have been incredible to get a 1-2 for the team, but in the end, it is a fantastic race for us.
“We were close to retire the car but luckily we managed to finish the race, and it was quite difficult until the end.
“We had a pretty strong pace throughout the race. He [Hamilton] just pushed me from lap 1 onwards, and then at the restart he was alongside me and I thought ‘I’m not going to miss it’, I braked as late as I possibly could, [and] he did the same but it didn’t work for him.”
The Mexican admitted that the race victory is a “strong” confidence boost for himself and for Red Bull.
“Definitely a strong boost of confidence for myself and for the team.”