Sergio Pérez says that the Baku City Circuit layout has tended to suit the Racing Point F1 Team and hopes that the team can continue its good string of Azerbaijan Grand Prix performances in 2019.
Pérez has managed two third place finishes in the Azeri capital in three visits, including one in Formula 1‘s inaugural visit in 2016.
The Mexican then profited from a late Valtteri Bottas retirement and a mistake from Scuderia Ferrari‘s Sebastian Vettel in ’18 to repeat the feat and take the only non-Mercedes AMG Motorsport, Ferrari or Red Bull Racing podium finish of the season.
Pérez, who has scored points in each of the last two races in ’19, said that he would prefer more tracks in a similar style to Baku, due to the excitement produced and the challenge they pose.
“Baku has become one of my favourite races of the year,” said Pérez.
“It’s a quick lap with good overtaking opportunities and that seems to generate lots of drama.
“I love the lap and it’s a real challenge for the drivers because the walls are close and you have to be so precise. Street circuits generally really test the drivers and I actually wish we had more on them on the calendar.
“I’ve been on the podium in Baku at two of the three races so far and I think my podium last year was one of my best races,” he continued.
“I remember getting ahead of Vettel and then keeping him behind me during the final laps. I had to concentrate so hard and I drove some of the best laps of my life.”
When asked what characteristics of the track play into Racing Point’s favour, Pérez explained that the longest straight on the F1 calendar allows the team to benefit from customer Mercedes-Benz power units and that the Racing Point package is generally good under heavy braking – another pertinent feature of the Baku circuit.
“This team has always been competitive in Baku so I am hopeful the same is true this year,” Pérez added.
“For a number of reasons the track layout has always suited our cars. It’s a track where you need good top speed and confidence on the brakes.
“I was happier with our performance level in China, especially on Sunday [finishing in eighth place], and we need to find the same rhythm in Baku.”