Sergio Perez shows he's a name to be reckoned with after another third
Sergio Perez made it two podium finishes in three races by following up his third place in Monaco with another in Baku.
The Mexican dropped from second to seventh on the grid thanks to a gearbox penalty after his FP3 crash, but worked his way up to fourth in the race. He was guaranteed third thanks to a five-second penalty for Kimi Raikkonen up ahead, but on the last lap he passed the Ferrari to claim the position on the road.
“I knew that the podium was possible today but it was very hard, very hard work to get it,” said Perez. “We really did an incredible first lap to get around the Williams and the Toro Rosso. I think that was one of the keys. The first laps were really difficult with the graining. Just basically not panicking. The easiest thing would have been to stop when the graining occurred, especially when Kimi and some people behind stopped and we decided to stay longer. It cleaned up. That was one of the keys of my race.
“Obviously, pitting early to go onto the one stop, and as soon as I left the pits I was under pressure from Lewis. So I couldn’t introduce nicely my tires. I had to push straight away. The warm-up with the soft for me was a bit difficult. Those first laps were really tricky to keep Lewis behind. Then I managed to open a gap, and then I was attacking Kimi, but at the same time looking after the tires, thinking that there’s going to be a Safety Car at some point. Unbelievable it didn’t happen.”
Although Perez was already secure in third thanks to Raikkonen's penalty, he was pleased to be able to do the job on track by passing the Ferrari.
“I was just looking after my tires to make sure I made it to the end. I think Kimi was very strong with his pace given the lap-age that he had. I knew that he had a penalty, so I get pretty close to him, and at the end I saw the opportunity that it was safe enough to do it and it was good to take it and finish in P3.
“It is well-deserved for the team because they have done an amazing job. All my boys to fix the car from yesterday, so very pleased. It’s only the eighth race and we’ve done two podiums already. It’s been an incredible year so far.”