Perez wins wild Azerbaijan GP after Verstappen crashes out
Sergio Perez claimed the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday after Red Bull teammate and race leader Max Verstappen crashed into the wall with five laps remaining.
"I'm so, so happy for today. Normally Baku is pretty crazy," Perez said. "I'm very sorry for Max because he did an incredible race. He really deserved the win."
Verstappen led for the majority of the grand prix, but the 23-year-old's left rear tire blew out on a straight stretch, sending him into the wall and ending his race. He was able to walk off under his own power.
"It was quite the dangerous place to have the tire blow out at that speed," Verstappen said. "Up until then, we had a strong race. We were fully in control. It is very disappointing what happened. We lost out on a lot of points and could have opened up the gap in the championship."
The race was red-flagged, and there was a lengthy delay.
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton was in second on the restart, but he locked up and finished 15th. The mistake prevented the 36-year-old from retaking the championship lead and marked the first time in 54 races that he failed to score points.
"It's quite a humbling experience," Hamilton said. "Very hard to take, but mostly really sorry to the men and woman on the team that worked so hard for these points.
"It is what it is. We'll try to regroup and come back stronger in the next race."
Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel placed second for just his second podium finish in the last 26 races. AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly placed third.
"This is a great day," Vettel said. "This means a great deal. I'm over the moon, we did not expect a podium when we came here."