Perez speaks on emotions after win, Horner discusses hydraulics issue
Perez speaks on his emotions after his second F1 win, as Horner details the hydraulics issue he faced which left him vulnerable.
Coming after a difficult opening five rounds, the win for Perez in F1 Azerbaijan GP tastes extra sweet for the Red Bull driver, who struggled to adapt to his team's RB16B in the first few weeks of the season. The Mexican says this adjustment has been more difficult than anticipated, and was satisfied to finally deliver a sensational result for his new team.
"We didn’t have the start of the season we were hoping for," Perez conceded. "I found my adaptation harder than expected but we have been working extremely hard since day one with the engineers back at the factory and yeah, finally we got a very good result for the team. We have been showing flashes of speed here and there."
After starting in P6, Perez was quick to make his way to the front of the field, passing Carlos Sainz & Pierre Gasly at the start and Charles Leclerc later on. Considering his starting position - the result of a poor Q3 effort - Perez says he's "extremely pleased" with his win, and his ability to stick with Max Verstappen in the earlier stages of the race.
"But I think this weekend everything was looking great until Q3 run one when we got it wrong," said Perez. "But we didn’t let ourselves [get] down. We looked forward and we had a tremendous race, so yeah, I’m extremely pleased with the result. This definitely gives a big boost of confidence to myself and also to my team, to my side of the garage. We have such a rollercoaster through the seasons, it’s important to enjoy these moments."
Red Bull team principal Horner says his pace was "stunning", and applauded the Mexican's effort given that he also faced a hydraulics issue - one which forced him to stop his car on track after the end of the race. "His pace was stunning," Horner told media. "He put the pass on the Ferrari and actually if he hadn't went deep in the pit stop, he might have over cut Max as well, such was his pace on his in lap.
"And then we saw him racing Lewis hard but he was nursing a hydraulics issue as well, so we were really concerned that the car wouldn't make it to the end of the race, which is why he stopped after the chequered flag. We thought that, we could only lose when we have got the re-start but thankfully, it worked out tremendously well and Sergio did a great job.
"We stopped him after the line, because we could see he was losing hydraulic pressure. He had been losing it gradually during the second half of the race, so it was, a particular concern at the restart. That's why we started his engine up so late to try to put as little pressure on the system as we could," summed up Horner.
As a result of the hydraulics issue, Perez says, he had to avoid weaving on his lap to the grid. Despite this challenge, he weathered the restart to maintain his lead and win the race -- only his second victory in F1. "It was a big thing," said Perez. "The team asked me, basically, not to weave. I couldn’t warm up the tyres at the restart, so we were trying just to get to the end, it was only two laps to go.
"It was our race to be lost, because we were in the lead, there’s everything to lose. Not much to win because we were on pole and we just have to do two laps. Getting that start right was a big things and I think we had pretty cold tyres for that restart. Lewis had a better one. I just tried to brake as late as possible.
"I was like 'no way I’m losing this one.' I just tried to brake as late as possible. Lewis was on the inside line, the dirty line and yeah, unfortunate for him. It just shows how vulnerable we are all to mistakes. We are operating at such a high level lap after lap that these things can happen to anyone," Perez said.
[This story was written by me for FormulaRapida and edited by Darshan Chokhani]