Sergio Perez revealed he almost lost out on taking his second F1 career win after coming close to retiring an ailing Red Bull at the end of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Perez capitalised on the demise of team-mate Max Verstappen, who crashed out with a tyre failure causing a race stoppage close to the finish and held off Lewis Hamilton at the re-start to go on to claim victory in only his sixth race for his new team.
The Mexican driver, who was told to stop at the end of the pit lane straight after crossing the line, revealed: “We were close to retiring the car but luckily we managed to finish the race and it was quite difficult all the way to the end.
“I am so, so happy for today. The race, normally Baku is pretty crazy. At the [re] start, I had a poor start so [Hamilton] was alongside me but I was like ‘I’m not going to miss this.’
“He had very strong pace throughout the race, I think we had a slow stop as well and he just pushed me from lap one onwards. I had the pressure from him pretty much from the beginning.
“[At the re-start] I broke as late as I possibly could, he did the same and it didn’t work for him. It’s a good a day. This is definitely a strong boost of confidence for myself and for the team.”
Perez commiserated with Verstappen for the late failure, which saw the Dutch driver pitched into the wall at high speed and taken to the medical centre for a check-up as the race was re-started.
The pair had been sitting in a one-two position with just a few laps to go and Perez added: “I have to say I am very sorry for Max because he did a tremendous race.
"He really deserved the win. It would have been incredible to get that one-two for the team but in the end, it is a fantastic day for us.”
What do you think?
Great job all weekend. Composure, speed and racecraft is why Checo is at Redbull.
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