The FIA Formula 1 World Championship moves away from street circuits this weekend and onto the first of three back-to-back races, starting off with the French Grand Prix.
Red Bull Racing go into the weekend after a mixed weekend in Azerbaijan, with championship leader Max Verstappen crashing out and Sergio Pérez taking his first win for the team.
Pérez goes into the weekend full of confidence after his first Red Bull win in Azerbaijan, the Mexican is full of emotion after all the work that has gone into his side of the garage since January.
“I feel very, very proud. It’s a victory that really shows the amount of work that we’ve all put in since the start of January and shows how hard work always pays off. It’s also a great boost for the whole team to know that we’ve got two cars that can fight for the championship and that we all really want to win.”
Pérez now has the first win burden dealt with and can fully focus on the remainder of the season, he has now finished on the podium for four different teams in his career. The experienced driver is fully aware of just how much things can change during the season and that the best thing to do, is to keep his head down and see where he ends up come Abu Dhabi.
“It’s only race six and as I say it doesn’t really matter where we are now it’s where we finish in Abu Dhabi so we just have to keep chipping away, making sure we maximise our car potential. I’ve been in Formula One for many years that I know that so many things can happen, so we just have to keep our heads down, now what has happened is history and we just have to keep looking forwards.”
“There is so much space” – Verstappen
Max Verstappen remains the championship leader going into this weekends French Grand Prix, despite his dramatic tyre failure in Baku. In the run up to this weekend Pirelli have come forward with their investigation of the incident, they explained that the failure was caused by a circumferential break on the inner sidewall of the rear left tyre.
Despite not finishing in Azerbaijan, Verstappen feels good going into the triple header, the Dutchman is fully aware that the next few weeks could have a huge impact come the end of the season.
“I’m feeling good but I’m sure that Mercedes will be very strong on the ‘normal’ tracks again, so we have to keep pushing and keep improving right to the very end because it’s never enough. So far the season has been pretty good to us but we need to remember that there are still a lot of races ahead of us.
“I am happy with the race results that we have had so far and that we are leading the championship, but we also have to be there leading it in Abu Dhabi, that’s all that matters.”
Red Bull have had plenty of success in the past at a vast number of circuits, however they have never led a single lap at the French Grand Prix, something Verstappen will be hoping to rectify this weekend.
“The Circuit Paul Ricard is a fast track. There are a fast few corners towards the end of the lap and you also have to be quite careful with tyre degradation. There’s also a lot of run off so sometimes it’s a bit weird because there is so much space, which is of course completely different than the two street circuits we’ve just been to. I’m looking forward to going back there and hopefully stepping on the top step of the podium.”