Mexican Red Bull Racing Honda driver Sergio Pérez took the victory at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at Baku City Circuit, the sixth of 23 races.
With only five laps remaining and in the lead, fellow Red Bull Racing Honda driver Max Verstappen crashed out of the race on Lap 47 after suffering a tyre issue. The incident triggered the Safety Car, and a red flag that suspended the race at Lap 48. The race resumed with a standing start 35 minutes later at Lap 50, which left everything to play for in a sprint during the remaining two laps.
The restart was led by Pérez, and it was Pérez who crossed the line first, followed by Germany’s Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel in second place and Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda driver Pierre Gasly in third.
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda rookie Yuki Tsunoda finished in seventh place.
With the cancellation of the Canadian Grand Prix next weekend, as well as the Turkish Grand Prix that was due to replace it, the next race will be the French Grand Prix at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, which has been brought forward from June 27 to June 20.
Red Bull Racing Honda
SERGIO PÉREZ – 1st
“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.”
MAX VERSTAPPEN – DNF
“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 team-mate 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!”
CHRISTIAN HORNER – Team Principal
“What a roller coaster! 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’s 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.”
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
PIERRE GASLY – 3rd
“What an incredible weekend, topping FP3, then P4 in Qualifying and now a podium today – I’m so happy for the guys, it was a great result! What a way to do it as well, the last two laps were so intense with Charles and I really had to fight hard to get that podium. The entire race was really full on, we managed to keep up with the guys ahead but from the middle of the race we had an engine issue and we started to lose some power in the straight, so I knew it was going to be hard until the end, but we managed to hold on to P4. After the restart I thought that Charles would pass me on the straight because we had lost performance, but I saw the podium ahead of me and I tried everything, I just wanted it so badly. It was hard but fair racing, just as we like it. The car was incredible all weekend, it felt really good, and it’s just a fantastic result for the whole team. I’m really pleased to reward them with a podium. Moving forward to France, we need to analyse what went well this weekend and see how we can use these learnings at the next race. It’s my home race so I really want to do well there, but for now it’s time to celebrate – I’ve already had a Red Bull, but I think we’ll be having something else tonight too!”
YUKI TSUNODA – 7th
“I’m a bit frustrated by the final result today, as I think the pace in the car has been strong this weekend. The start of the race was ok for me and until the red flag I think my performance was really good. Unfortunately, I dropped two positions during the last laps, I’m not sure I could have done anything differently, but I’ll analyse everything tonight so I can understand this better moving forward. P7 still means important points for the team though. I want to say congratulations to Pierre for the podium today, the team really deserve it and it’s a great result.”
FRANZ TOST – Team Principal
“It was a sensational race from the very beginning. I want to say congratulations to Red Bull Racing, Honda and Pérez today, it was a fantastic victory. Unfortunately, Max who was leading and was in my opinion the fastest man on the track, lost it at the very last minute of a great race from his side. However, the important thing is that he still leads the Championship. As for us, we started with Pierre in fourth position, which was already a great starting place, and Yuki wasn’t far behind in seventh. Both drivers had a good start and Pierre defended P4 for a long period, even whilst managing a small PU issue, but unfortunately lost time behind Stroll and that allowed Vettel to catch up and overtake Pierre after the pitstop. At the restart, we changed from the Hards to the Softs and Pierre completed a really good manoeuvre against Leclerc to put himself into third position. It’s an unbelievable result and both the team and Pierre deserve it, as we were very competitive here from FP1 onwards. Yuki started from P7 and only lost one place to Alonso on the first lap but managed to regain the position later. After the red flag, Yuki started from sixth position but lost two places during those last few laps. Nonetheless, he finished in a fantastic seventh place and the team scored some great points this weekend, meaning we’re now fifth in the Constructors’ Championship. The guys did a really good job today on all sides, from the pit stops to the strategy, and they deserve this result. Congratulations to the whole Scuderia AlphaTauri team and I hope we can continue this performance in the upcoming races.”