Sergio Perez jokes about why clipping Baku wall ‘actually helped me’
Twice hitting the wall during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, his Turn 15 whack a moment of concern for his engineer, Sergio Perez has joked that it “helped” with his RB19’s front end.
Perez was not quite absolutely flawless as he raced his way to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix victory on Sunday with the driver hitting the wall on two occasions – his team boss Christian Horner counting the hits.
The Red Bull teammates ran 1-2 around the Baku circuit with Perez initially pushing Max Verstappen before their fortunes were reversed with the Mexican driver taking the lead when the Safety Car was deployed for Nyck de Vries’ crashed AlphaTauri.
With bragging rights and the championship fight on the line, the teammates didn’t give an inch and, at times, that meant they got too close to the imposing walls.
“I counted and Max hit the wall four times,” said team boss Horner. “Checo at least twice. So they pushed. We raced them to the finish and they pushed each other hard.”
Perez’s second hit of the day came at Turn 15, a hefty whack that had his race engineer Hugh Bird asking “What happened at Turn 15?”
“I clipped the wall on the entry,” he replied.
Speaking to the media after his win, his second of the weekend with Perez P1 in the Saturday sprint, the driver joked that it helped his RB19’s balance.
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“It actually helped me!” he said with a smile. “I was struggling with the front end, so somehow I picked up a bit of front end.”
“But no,” he continued, “in all honesty, I was quite concerned, because the paranoia starts and you start to look at the tyre and I was looking at the tyre and my engineer asked me what happened on 15 and I’m like, ‘wait, I’m just looking that everything is OK with the tyre’.
“So yeah, it was one of those moments where you drop a bit of concentration and in this place, you cannot really, it doesn’t matter where you are in the race, you cannot lose your concentration at all.”
The driver, now a six-time Grand Prix winner, conceded it was lucky not to suffer a tyre failure as a result.
“I had a little bit of luck, especially with that front right, that it didn’t blow up,” he said.
Perez left Baku having closed the gap to his team-mate Verstappen to just six points thanks to his double race win.
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