Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Baku City Circuit, 2023

Perez admits he was lucky tyre didn’t “blow up” after “really hard” wall strike

2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez said he was fortunate to win the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after clipping a wall with his right-front wheel during the race.

The Red Bull driver touched a barrier at turn 15 on his way to victory at the Baku City Circuit. He admitted afterwards the contact was “really hard.”

“I had a little bit of luck, especially with that front-right it didn’t blow up,” said Perez, who led team mate Max Verstappen home in a one-two for the team.

Perez ran second early in the race after both Red Bull drivers passed pole winner Charles Leclerc. He took the lead of the race as he was able to pit during a Safety Car period triggered by Nyck de Vries coming to a stop on the circuit. Verstappen had pitted during green flag running moments earlier.

Over the remainder of the race Verstappen was unable to close on Perez, who took victory by 2.1 seconds.

“It really worked out today for us,” said Perez. “We managed to stay in the DRS train and we managed to keep the pressure on Max.”

Although Perez benefited from the timing of the Safety Car period, he had closed on his team mate shortly before the interruption.

“I think we had a better deg[radation] on that first stint,” he said. “I think it was looking good. 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.”

Verstappen also skirted the barriers on more than one occasion. “I think it was very close between us,” said Perez. “We pushed to the maximum today, we both clipped the wall a few times so we were pushing out there. The way Max pushed me throughout the race was really hard, but we managed to keep him under control.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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2 comments on “Perez admits he was lucky tyre didn’t “blow up” after “really hard” wall strike”

  1. Good job from Perez to keep Max behind just enough to not give him a chance. Sure, he got a bit of a breether with the Pitstop, but it looked like he had the pace to spook Max/Max’ pitcrew into a bit of a panick pit call.

    Would have been interesting to see what would have happened without the SC. Still, this was the first time Perez did beat Max in a straight fight.

  2. He was lucky in more than one way. But surely it will trigger believers.

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