Sergio Perez won his first race for Red Bull in an extraordinary Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday after teammate and long-time race leader Max Verstappen crashed after a tire failure and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton finished out of the points after botching a late restart.
Having taken the lead from Hamilton after the first round of pitstops on lap 14, Verstappen had been set for a comfortable win until his left-rear tire blew spectacularly on the start-finish straight on lap 47 of 51.
The debris from Verstappen’s crash caused the race to be red-flagged on lap 49 while the track was cleared, paving the way for a standing restart and a two-lap dash to the finish.
At the restart, Hamilton seemed to edge ahead of Perez, but the Briton crucially misjudged his braking point and missed the first corner entirely, dropping him to the back of the field and out of contention for points.
Following Hamilton’s mishap, Perez was able to see out the remaining two laps of the race to take his first win since moving to Red Bull this year – despite being told by his team to park his RB16B just after the finish with an apparent mechanical issue.
“I’m so happy for today. Normally Baku is pretty crazy and it would have been good for the team to get a 1-2 but the win is a fantastic result,” said Perez, who is the first driver other than Verstappen to win a race for Red Bull since Daniel Ricciardo took victory at the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix.