Driver Interviews – Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2023


Take a look at the driver interviews following on from the 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix!

Red Bull Racing

Sergio Perez, 1st: “It has been an unbelievable weekend, I am super pleased and I cannot say more about the Team, it has been a tremendous day for us and I am so proud of everyone. I want to say a big thanks to Thibaut, he is one of my mechanics who is at home for personal reasons, but he is still a very big part of our Team.”

“The Team enjoy calling me the King of the Streets, I am super happy for them all. They have been tremendous all weekend, from the sprint race yesterday through to the way we executed the race today, it was perfect.”

“I think today we were the fastest car on track and regardless of the safety car we would have won the race. I am definitely in the fight for the title, not just because of Baku, I believe I can be very good anywhere this season and now I am just thinking of Miami.”

“There are a lot of races coming up and we must make sure we are on it.”

Max Verstappen, 2nd: “Overall it was quite a good race. Of course, I was a bit unlucky with the safety car call, but I think in that second stint both of us were pushing flat out.”

“We used every centimetre on that track and touched a few walls! It was a good Team result and there were a lot of learnings from this weekend to take forward to the rest of the season.”

“We bought it home and a 1-2 for the Team was ideal, Checo had a great race and did very well today. “

“I’m already looking forward to Miami and seeing what we can do there.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal: “Checo absolutely excelled today. He had the pace and really controlled the race, he benefitted from the timing of the safety car but it was a phenomenal performance from him today and all weekend. Hats off to him.”

“We were unlucky with the safety car and the pit stop for Max. Sometimes things like that don’t go your way but that is racing and we will learn from it.”

“Other than that it was an excellent performance from the whole team, another 1-2, our 25th! Things are clicking for us at the moment and it sets us up well for next week but it is still early days, there are 19 races and 5 more sprint races in this long season.”

“With each race comes moments to savour but just as many learnings, we take those and move to the next challenge, preparation for Miami is already well under way, see you at the beach!”

Aston Martin


Fernando Alonso, 4th: “I think we had a tricky weekend with the DRS issue on Friday and Saturday, but despite this we have finished only one second away from the podium at the chequered flag.”

“With that in mind, I have to be happy with fourth position and our overall performance which was encouraging all race.”

“Thankfully today the DRS seemed to work fine, and our tyre management was strong. I thought the tailwind was quite random and here in Baku you are always on the edge. “

“We only have to wait a few days before we go racing again, so let’s see what we can do next week in Miami!”

Lance Stroll, 7th: “It was pretty tough out there today. I was happy with my start, as well as the Safety Car restart, but I wasn’t feeling super comfortable with the car once the race got going and made a slight mistake.”

“A little misjudgement can end your day here, so I was fortunate to get away with brushing the wall and managed to continue with the race. Once Lewis [Hamilton] passed me, it was just about maintaining position and holding off George [Russell] for the remaining laps.”

“He was pushing hard, but we managed the tyres well and I was able to keep him behind me.”

“As a team, we definitely have a few things to work though ahead of Miami, but I think we need to be pleased to come away from the first Sprint weekend of the year with a decent haul of points to maintain second in the Constructors’ Championship.”

Mike Krack, Team Principal: “Another well-executed weekend by the entire team and we leave Baku with a combined total of 22 points.”

“That is a good return from quite a challenging event on a very demanding street circuit. Full credit to the drivers who did an excellent job to make progress from their starting positions.”

“They managed the Hard tyres well over a long stint, while maintaining good race pace, and brought the cars home safely to round off a clean weekend.”

“This sets us up nicely for our first trip of the year to the United States next week as we get ready to entertain the fans in Miami.”



Charles Leclerc, 3rd: “We are still not quite there in terms of race pace and we know that’s what we have to work on the most at the moment.”

“We maximised every session throughout the weekend and couldn’t have done anything differently, so that’s something to be happy about and the team did a great job.”

“The bottom line is that we have to focus on race pace and tyre management and push to make even more progress in the coming races.”

Carlos Sainz, 5th: “This has been a very difficult weekend. P5 brings home some points but I must put my hand up and admit I lacked confidence under braking and the pace was not there.”

“On the Medium tyre I could push a bit more, but with the harder compound I simply didn’t feel the car.”

“Now I look forward to a reset, as Miami is just around the corner and I can’t wait to jump in the car again and keep pushing.”

Fred Vasseur, Team Principal: “Overall, this has been a positive weekend for the team. We took two pole positions and one podium finish with Charles and our overall points total, thanks also to Carlos’ fifth place, is satisfactory.”

“There were signs of progress in Melbourne, but they were overshadowed by the poor race result. In the four week break, we worked hard in Maranello and here in Baku we have made further progress which translated into a good result.”

“We definitely are back to where we wanted to be in terms of qualifying, but there’s still a significant gap to Red Bull in the race. However, we aim to fight them for the win and we are gearing up to do just that.”

“It’s a morale booster for the whole team to finish on the podium, something which we will carry forward as we prepare for next weekend’s race in Miami.”



Lewis Hamilton, 6th: “The timing of the Safety Car wasn’t ideal! I couldn’t get bogged down in that frustration though. I had to keep my head down and get focused on attacking. That’s what I did, and I got right back in the race. I really enjoyed those battles with the cars around me.”

“The Ferrari of Sainz was just a little bit quicker on the straight than us, even with the DRS open. I gave it everything I had to get past though.”

“I’m continuously proud of my team. We didn’t have the pace that we did in Melbourne, which is not the greatest, but there is no lack of motivation in this team.”

“We’re all super hungry, and hopefully this is the beginning of something better in the coming races. Once I get that confidence in the car, the pace will come.”

George Russell, 8th: “I’m a little bit disappointed with myself today. I made a really good start and got in a decent position.”

“I made a good move on Stroll to get past him into the pit lane but I then made a mess of the restart. I was defending from Lance and almost ran into the back of Fernando (Alonso).”

“I then ran wide and got my tyres dirty. Ultimately that’s why both Lance and Lewis got past. From there, it was line astern.

“I’ll take the extra point for fastest lap but the only reason we had that opportunity was because we were in a bad position. It was close pace-wise between ourselves, Ferrari and Aston Martin and small differences can make a big change in terms of results.”

“Whether we finish P4 or P8 though, it’s far from first so we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “Today was not a thriller. There was very little overtaking even with a big pace difference. We headed into a sub optimum set-up direction during FP1 and by the time we realised it was too late, and the car was in parc fermé conditions. It’s the same for everyone though under this format.

“The pace in free air today looked similar between ourselves, the Ferraris and the Aston Martins. It was hard to tell who was ultimately quicker though, because with the difficulty of overtaking you are stuck where you are stuck. The Red Bulls meanwhile sailed away into the sunset on merit. If we can get the platform right though, I think we can close that gap this year. It’s not about adding points of downforce, more giving the drivers a car that they have confidence in.”



Lando Norris, 9th: “A good race. It was as good a result as I was going to get and the best we could achieve today. P9 really doesn’t sound like a lot but it was the best we can do at the moment.”

“We got a bit unlucky with the Safety Car happening just after we had pit. I then got stuck behind Hulkenberg, but we got a couple of points on the board, which is a solid result, plus we got some good things out of the new parts we bought to track.”

“So, I’m happy with that and we’ll try to improve again in Miami.”

Oscar Piastri, 11th: “It was a shame to miss out on points by one spot, but we were just lacking a bit of pace in the middle of the race, so there wasn’t really much more we could do.”

“I’m happy I survived the weekend after being unwell and we’ve got some really good learning in the bank. I certainly learned a lot about the tyres in that race, and how to manage them better, so all of that will help us fight for points next time.”

“Thanks to the team here and back at the factory for getting the upgrades out to us, it’s definitely helped. We go again in Miami.”



Nyck de Vries, DNF: “The accident today was fully my mistake. It was very silly and unnecessary and that responsibility is on me. I am disappointed with myself but that’s the way it is. There are positives to take away from this weekend and I’ll try to look at them. I am happy to be racing again next week so I forget this weekend as soon as possible.”

Yuki Tsunoda, 10th: “It was a tough race today but the team, especially the mechanics, did a great job to repair the car after yesterday.”

“The engineers found a strong set-up, even if we lost some time in sector two. We didn’t get many chances to do long runs this weekend but to be able to demonstrate a strong pace, and build on this performance throughout the race, was awesome from the team.”

“I am also happy with my performance. I was consistent, and being sandwiched between the two McLarens meant any mistake would cost us the point. It took a lot of concentration but in the end, we were able to achieve another top-ten finish.”

“There is still room for development and improvement to fight for points consistently, but I have confidence in my team to race stronger in the future.”


Nico Hulkenberg, 17th: “It was hard work – I was head-down, focused. It was a quali race to be honest for me, that was all I had but it was okay for 40 laps or so and then at the end, unfortunately the tyres started to drop quite rapidly.”

“The Safety Car didn’t come out and that’s what we needed with the strategy we pursued.”

“Nevertheless, it was good learning. We elected for a pit lane start and changed the set up completely to something more conventional. We learned something, on the positive side, and now onto Miami where I think we’ll be more competitive.”

Kevin Magnussen, 13th: “We were stuck in traffic the whole race, we had pace for much more but just couldn’t pass.”

“Unfortunately, with the wing we have it’s really fast with no DRS but with DRS it doesn’t really have a big impact. Overtaking is very difficult, defending is pretty good because without DRS we’re pretty fast.”

“That little detail made the difference today because I think looking at the cars ahead I was way quicker than them but just couldn’t get past. A bit of the same story as last year as we were in the points until the end but this year, we had even more pace. Hopefully that carries onto Miami, and we will try again.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: “Kevin got his front wing endplate knocked off at the start because Bottas in front of him locked up, so he couldn’t avoid him, and it was severe enough to make a front wing change. With Nico, we tried a different strategy and it didn’t work because the Safety Car came too early. All in all, the performance of the car was good and we could hold pace with the Alpine and McLaren. I think we just have to take this one as a little dip and come back in Miami, where maybe for our car it’s even better, being a medium-downforce circuit.”

The Formula 1 Girl

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