The fifth Azerbaijan Grand Prix could have hardly been any more exciting with Sergio Perez clinching his second career victory and first for his new team, Red Bull Racing and the two main protagonists of the championship battle, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton ending the race point-less.
"Unfortunately, we had a problem with the gearbox which forced me to retire before the race restart. I was just coming to the line and then I had no power, which is especially frustrating after so much anticipation building up before those final two laps. It wasn’t meant to be, and that’s racing sometimes. We’ll go away and analyse what happened.
"I was having a good race before that, the car felt fast and I had a lot of confidence in it so there are definitely positives to take away from the weekend."Nicholas Latifi, 16th
"It was a fairly lonely race for me today. Before the red flag, we were committing to the one-stop strategy and I was doing what I needed to do managing the tyres. In the end the result wasn't to be, which is a shame as I felt I was driving really well throughout this weekend. On the operational side, there were a few things where we needed to be sharper so it's unfortunate."
Red BullSergio Perez, 1st
“We love Baku! It feels amazing to get my first win with Red Bull. The Team did a tremendous job and I want to thank Mr Mateschitz for this great opportunity and giving me the seat. I feel very sorry for Max because he deserved the win and a 1-2 for the Team would’ve been very enjoyable. It was a crazy rollercoaster of a race, we were basically flat out from the very first lap and I had Lewis behind pushing me so I couldn’t breathe, it was very challenging but we kept our focus.
„Everything worked perfectly today apart from the restart at the end where I just had no grip. I thought I cannot lose this race two laps from the flag so I broke as late as I could into Turn 1 and then I saw Lewis locking up and go straight on into the run off. It just shows how on the limit we are, the speeds we are doing are tremendous and I am sorry for Lewis because it’s very painful when these things happen but we are all vulnerable to mistakes.
„We have to enjoy today, our pace was great and we have a very good race car. We are working flat out and giving our best every week, it’s only race six and there’s more to come from me, the relationship with Max and the Team is great and there’s still a long way to go in this championship.”Max Verstappen, DNF
“To retire from the lead of the race so close to the finish is pretty frustrating. I didn’t feel anything strange with the car and then suddenly the left rear went and I was in the wall quite hard. It’s not a nice place to crash and we don’t know the exact cause yet, I’m sure it will be fully investigated. Up until that point it was a great day, the car felt perfect and I was comfortable in the lead so it felt like it would be an easy 1-2 but there are no guarantees in this sport.
„Of course I am frustrated from my side not to win but I was very happy to see Checo up there. He did everything that the Team could have wanted today. He had a great start and then we both got past Lewis in the pits. I heard he had to defend for most of the race, so if I couldn’t win, I’m glad he could. He’s a great guy and a great teammate so it was good to see him smiling on the podium and having his first win for Red Bull.
„It’s a shame that we missed out on the opportunity to make the gap bigger to Lewis today in the championship as we know when we get back to the normal tracks Mercedes will be very strong again but it just goes to show anything can happen and it’s still a good result for the Team!”
MercedesLewis Hamilton, 15th
"An unfortunate day, a humbling experience and I'm so sorry for the team. We did a good job to be in the position we were in today, to be out of the top ten on Friday and come back was down to the hard work of the men and women in this team. When Checo came towards me after the restart, I turned the wheel and flicked a switch which shifts the brake balance and that caused me to lock up.
"It's one of the toughest moments I've had for a while - one moment we had all the points and the next we had none but for sure, we'll regroup and come back."Valtteri Bottas, 12th
"Today in the race I was lacking pace, as I have been all weekend and it's difficult to understand why. One big issue is the tyre warm-up, particularly the front tyres. On the hard tyres, it took almost10 laps to warm up and on the restart, we were on the back foot with cold tyres. I was trying everything I could but something just wasn't right with the car for me this weekend. We need to work hard to figure out why and move on quickly from this."
Aston MartinSebastian Vettel, 2nd
“I am over the moon and P2 means a great deal to all of us. We did not expect to be on the podium, but we made great progress through the weekend, and the car had strong race pace. Yesterday was challenging [due to the red flag in qualifying], but I was relaxed and confident going into the race. The key was being able to start with a free choice of tyres in P11. It meant we could use a new set of softs to make up two places at the start and then run longer to overcut Yuki [Tsunoda]. It gave us a platform for the second half of the race and put us in a position to take advantage. I felt good in the car, and combined with on-track events and strategy, we were able to get a really special result.”Lance Stroll, DNF
“I am frustrated not to finish the race, but I am okay. We were on course to score good points by running much longer before the pit stops and overcutting a lot of cars. That proved it was the right call to start on the hard tyres because we had good pace throughout the first stint and the race was coming to us. I am not sure what happened to cause me to spin on the straight because there was no sign of any issues, so we need to investigate. It has been a challenging weekend for me, but there are positives to take, especially our race pace, and, of course, the podium for Sebastian. Huge congratulations to the whole team.”
FerrariCharles Leclerc, 4th
"Before arriving in Baku, P4 was more or less where we could expect to finish the race. The first surprise of the weekend was our pole position. A second surprise was that some of our competitors in the midfield were extremely quick today. Despite starting at the front, we knew we could well be overtaken by the cars of the two front running teams, which is what happened. After the first stop, I tried to do the best job possible.
„I had a lock up after the restart following the first safety car. Continuing with two flat spots was the most difficult part of the race. I really thought I wouldn’t make it to the end. Then we had the red flag, and I thought about the podium. But unfortunately, we didn’t’ make it. Seb did an incredible job – congratulations to him. The same goes for Pierre, it was a hard fight with him at the end! We will keep working and pushing in the right direction."Carlos Sainz, 8th
"Not the race I was hoping for today. I didn’t have the same feeling with the car that I had had all weekend. Every time I was on cold tyres - at both starts, at the restart and after the pit stop - I struggled a lot with front locking and with the brakes. That led to a costly mistake which compromised my whole race. In the end, I managed to get back in the points but I’m not happy with the result. We need to understand the reasons behind those issues and try to improve for the upcoming races. We’ve got some time now to go to Maranello and work on it, so I’m sure we’ll come back stronger in France."
AlphaTauriPierre Gasly, 3rd
“What an incredible weekend, topping FP3, then P4 in Qualifying and now a podium today – I’m so happy for the guys, it was a great result! What a way to do it as well, the last two laps were so intense with Charles and I really had to fight hard to get that podium. The entire race was really full-on, we managed to keep up with the guys ahead but from the middle of the race we had an engine issue and we started to lose some power in the straight, so I knew it was going to be hard until the end, but we managed to hold on to P4.
„After the restart I thought that Charles would pass me on the straight because we had lost performance, but I saw the podium ahead of me and I tried everything, I just wanted it so badly. It was hard but fair racing, just as we like it. The car was incredible all weekend, it felt really good, and it’s just a fantastic result for the whole team.
„I’m really pleased to reward them with a podium. Moving forward to France, we need to analyse what went well this weekend and see how we can use these learnings at the next race. It’s my home race so I really want to do well there but for now it’s time to celebrate – I’ve already had a Red Bull, but I think we’ll be having something else tonight too!”Yuki Tsunoda, 7th
“I’m a bit frustrated by the final result today, as I think the pace in the car has been strong this weekend. The start of the race was ok for me and until the red flag I think my performance was really good. Unfortunately, I dropped two positions during the last laps, I’m not sure I could have done anything differently but I’ll analyse everything tonight so I can understand this better moving forward. P7 still means important points for the team though. I want to say congratulations to Pierre for the podium today, the team really deserve it and it’s a great result.”
AlpineEsteban Ocon, DNF
“I didn’t seem to catch a break here, it’s very tricky obviously and we had a pressure loss and had to retire the car very early on. We had a good start and I was in front of both McLarens and fighting with those around us. I was doing my race and it was going well and the pace was there for the top 10, which Fernando showed in the end. It was not our weekend, that’s clear, but we will turn the page and look forward to the next one, the French Grand Prix. It’s going to be an awesome one for me, I can’t wait to race there again.”Fernando Alonso, 6th
“I am happy for the team that we took some good points from this weekend, I felt we deserved it after a challenging weekend. The final laps were a lot of fun and we tried to attack and be aggressive to recover some places. The weekend was quite solid for us but we did lack a little bit of pace during the race. So we need to review that but I am happy with the day in the end and we’ll look to take this forward into France.”
#AzerbaijanGP Race Report ⬇️— Alpine F1 Team (@AlpineF1Team) June 6, 2021
“The heart-warming positive was some Fernando magic to regain three positions and finish P6, which is a great reward for everyone’s hard work.” - Marcin Budkowski
⏩ https://t.co/GuKEfEsheg pic.twitter.com/HimrpOeTwX
Alfa RomeoKimi Raikkonen, 10th
“Not a lot happened in my race until the last two laps, so it’s good to bring home a point. Overtaking proved surprisingly difficult, we were able to catch up with the cars ahead of us relatively easily but we couldn’t make the move. The restart after the red flag was quite hectic, we could have been better but it could have also gone badly wrong so we’ll take the point. I don’t think we could have done more, in the end.”Antonio Giovinazzi, 11th
“I had a great start and this allowed me to be back in the battle for the points from the start. It wasn’t an easy race as I had a small issue with the brakes, which is not ideal on a track like this, but my pace was quite good anyway. We made an early stop to undercut some of our rivals and after that, it was a bit quiet until the red flag. At the restart, I gained some positions on Turn 1 but I made contact with Ricciardo at the second corner and my car went into anti-stall. I think we got all we could out of this race, especially starting from last, and we ended up so close to the points. Many things happened today, it was quite a crazy race in the end, but we need to be happy as we got to score another point with Kimi, the second race in a row for our team.”
A point that gives us a boost as we gear up for the next races in the calendar 💪— Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN (@alfaromeoracing) June 6, 2021
Race Report ⬇️👀https://t.co/UyRWS7sGS7
McLarenDaniel Ricciardo, 9th
“There were moments today in the race where I was thinking ‘I hope it becomes a bit more exciting’ and suddenly it did! We had some positive moments, but also a few difficult periods. I flat-spotted the hard a bit, so that became tricky for the last few laps before the red flag, but not too bad beforehand.
„The last start, I felt like I got a good launch, and had a good run on the outside but there wasn’t really much room with a couple of cars on the inside. It just all bottlenecked into Turn 2 and I felt a hit from behind. I couldn’t really do much, but we’ll keep working on our plan and keep moving forward.
"I also just want to pay tribute to Mansour and send my condolences to Kathy and his entire family. He made a massive contribution to both McLaren and the entire sport, and he will be greatly missed."Lando Norris, 5th
“Happy with the end result today, fifth was the best we could do. It was a long race with it being difficult to overtake in the middle. There were a few crashes here and there that allowed us to gain a few places, and then two overtakes on the final restart was great.
„I think it was a good recovery from where we were at the beginning of the race after a pretty poor Lap 1, just because I got unlucky. A decent amount of points for us as a team. Onto the next one! Finally, I want to pass my condolences on to Mansour Ojjeh’s family. This result was for him today.”
HaasMick Schumacher, 13th
“I think it was difficult for everyone. Tyre degradation seemed higher out there than we expected. We came in for an extra pit stop to go on the C5 and it felt good but then the session was red flagged. It was definitely not easy but we were close to the points and these are the kind of races that we have to use to our advantage and stay in the race. We managed to do that, we were fighting and you see a little light at the end of the tunnel.”Nikita Mazepin, 14th
“Well, the race itself was not bad. It was a bit annoying those as certain things made us fall backwards – but pace was there. We were experimenting with something as I had to manage the brakes from the beginning because they were overheating. I had to change my brake bias, and because of the change I was prone to locking. I almost drove into a wall which cost me a lot of time. The race was stop-start and then it came to life again.
„The main thing is I’m just a little bit upset about losing my position to my team mate on the main straight. It is what it is, but I think our finishing position is a nice number for the team, but obviously some unexpected situations happened with the other drivers which enabled us to get that position. Overall, it’s quite positive.”