Perez ‘lucky’ to win Azerbaijan GP after barrier brush
By Mat Coch
Sunday 30th April, 2023 - 11:21pm
Sergio Perez has admitted he was lucky to win the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix after a brush with the wall midway through his second stint.
Perez benefitted from the Safety Car to move into the race lead early on, holding the advantage to head his Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen to the chequered flag.
However, the Safety Car wasn’t the only luck the Mexican benefitted from after he grazed the wall “really hard” approaching Turn 15.
“I had a little bit of luck, especially with that front-right that it didn’t blow up,” he confessed.
Perez enjoyed a stellar weekend in Baku, winning the F1 Sprint on Saturday after passing Charles Leclerc.
His Sunday success makes him the first repeat winner in the event’s history.
“It really worked out today for us,” he said
“We managed to stay in the DRS train and we managed to keep the pressure on Max.
“I think we had better deg on that first stint. It was looking good already from that side.
“Then the Safety Car came and bunched everyone up so it was, again, another race on the hard tyres.”
The Safety Car was called when Nyck de Vries tagged the inside wall at Turn 6, breaking the front-left suspension on his Scuderia AlphaTauri.
As the yellow flags waved for that incident, Red Bull pitted Verstappen from the lead.
Soon after, the Safety Car was deployed, affording Perez a cheap pit stop to hand him the race lead.
That saw Leclerc also jump Verstappen, though the Dutchman quickly repassed the Ferrari driver.
“It was very close between us,” said Perez of the race with Verstappen.
“We pushed to the maximum today. We both clipped the wall a few times. We were pushing out there.
“The way Max pushed me through all the race was really hard, but we managed to keep him under control.”
Perez now sits six points back from Verstappen at the top of the drivers’ championship with two wins already to his name.
Red Bull meanwhile holds a commanding 93-point advantage at the top of the constructors’ championship with three one-two results from the opening four races.
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