Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Baku City Circuit, 2021

Red Bull reveal hydraulic problem almost cost Perez victory

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Azerbaijan Grand Prix winner Sergio Perez revealed he almost didn’t finish the race as he was managing a problem after the restart.

Perez inherited the lead after team mate Max Verstappen suffered a race-ending due to an apparent tyre failure. The race was red-flagged and restarted for a final, two-lap sprint.

Reflecting on his second F1 victory, Perez said “I’m so, so happy for today. The race – even normally Baku is pretty crazy.

“First of all, I have to say, I’m very sorry for Max because he did a tremendous race and he really deserved the win. It would have been incredible to get that one, two for the team.

“But at the end it is a fantastic day for us.”

After passing the chequered flag, while celebrating with his team over the radio, Perez’s engineer interjected to tell him to immediately stop his car and park at the end of the pit lane.

He said it was such a critical issue that it could have ended his race early, as well as his team mate’s. “We were close to retiring the car.

“But luckily, we managed to finish the race and really, it was quite difficult on the way to the end.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner revealed the team had been concerned about falling tyre pressure on Verstappen’s car.

“He was nursing a hydraulic issue,” said Horner. “We were really concerned that the car wouldn’t get to the end of the race which was why he stopped after the chequered flag.”

“[We were] just praying that hyraudlic pressure that we were all glued to the last few laps just stayed there,” he added.

Perez spent much of the race providing cover for Verstappen ahead, battling with Lewis Hamilton to keep the Mercedes driver behind.

Hamilton had a slow pit stop that lost him the lead to Verstappen, then Perez – who might have otherwise taken the lead earlier in the race – had his own slow, 4.3 second pit stop that put him out only just ahead of Hamilton and forced him to spend the laps until Verstappen’s crash defending. “He had very strong pace throughout the race.

“I think we had a bit of a slow stop as well. So the overcut came a bit closer to him and he just pushed me from that lap onwards. I had the pressure from him pretty much since the beginning.”

Perez lost Hamilton on the restart, when the seven-time world champion went straight on into runoff at turn one. “I had a poor start so he was alongside me, but I was like, I’m not going to miss it’, you know.

“I braked as late as I possibly can and he did the same but it didn’t work for him. At least it’s a good day for the team.”

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2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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9 comments on “Red Bull reveal hydraulic problem almost cost Perez victory”

  1. @hazelsouthwell

    Red Bull team principal Christian Horner revealed the team had been concerned about falling tyre pressure on Verstappen’s car.

    “He was nursing a hydraulic issue,” said Horner. “We were really concerned that the car wouldn’t get to the end of the race which was why he stopped after the chequered flag.”

    These paragraphs don’t really seem to follow on from each other. Moreover, during the aftermath of Verstappen’s crash Red Bull contacted race control to advise a red flag as they had not warning of tyre issues on Verstappen’s car.

    The second paragraph clearly refers to Perez.

    1. Tommy Scragend
      6th June 2021, 17:23

      I think it should read “the team had been concerned about falling hydraulic pressure on Perez’s car”. Then it would make sense.

    2. Sshh, you’re ruining the narrative the crash was Red Bull’s fault. Remember there’s a ‘more mistakes’ -fight between them and the favorites.

  2. Happy to see Checo delivering. With less pressure I really think that now Bottas will be the problematic from top teams. Not that he’s a horrible pilot, but with Perez at his best Valteri will have a run for his money to get a podium. He should do sometimes if he can handle the pressure, but it will hardly be the case. Especially with Russell at doors.

    1. Yes, and I really hope this will silence the perez critics, I believe he got excessive criticism for the first part of the year when you consider his weakness is normally quali speed and his strength is the race pace, as in people were likening him to albon and gasly, but they were never really fighting with hamilton.

      1. @esploratore – I don’t know that this race alone will silence critics. But if he keeps up this level, there will be nothing to criticize. He supported VER, leapfrogged HAM and was in position to take the win when it came. He did lose out to HAM on the restart, but other than that he did not put a foot wrong. Cannot ask for much more.

        But one race is not enough to silence people. Bottas has had many good races over the years, for example. Perez needs to keep up his quality and consistency. If he does, his rating will rise.

  3. Nothing better than listening to Lewis frustrations stuck behind Perez.

    1. See Perez waving bye bye to win while Lewis stays back is surely better.

      1. Seeing Perez force Hamilton to make the mistake is surely better.

        Reply moderated

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