Once again, the press and broadcast team were convinced that Ferrari had the edge over the field after Free Practice sessions. Then Charles Leclerc crashed in Qualifying and Sebastian Vettel’s compromised qualifying strategy left him third for the start of the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Surely, given the press and Toto Wolff’s insistence on Sunday that Ferrari still had everyone on the back foot, Mercedes wouldn’t be able to convert pole position and a front-row lockout into a win. Sky Sports F1’s, David Croft, even suggesting that Mercedes would be wondering how they managed to hold Ferrari at bay as the duo crossed the line for another one, two finish this season. Their fourth of the season to be exact. He then said they aren’t lying about Ferrari being the car to beat. I think having a one, two finish in every race so far would suggest he is wrong.
Valtteri Bottas converted his pole position to a victory by making a better start than in China and led Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel home.
A win for Mercedes who, contrary to what the media and Mercedes would have you believe, can do whatever they want to do in short and long-run pace. Running slow on Friday practice sessions gives the impression Ferrari are quick but when Saturday and Sunday come, Mercedes can turn the engine up and match the Ferrari pace. They’ve shown that in four races now and yet the media still insist on patronizing fans in the face of clearly contrary results.
A win for Valtteri Bottas who needed to reverse his fortunes from China. He had a decent start and held Lewis Hamilton off on the first lap to take the lead. He now leads the driver’s points by one and it is important to keep his championship challenge motivated and moving ahead.
A win for Charles Leclerc who snatched fastest lap after stopping for new soft tires on lap 48 and taking the single point from Valtteri Bottas.
A win for Max Verstappen who managed 4th in his Red Bull with a new Honda power unit. The Dutchman made the best of what he had and was a bit of a threat to Ferrari throughout the day.
A big win for Racing Point’s Sergio Perez who was challenged all day but managed to keep his car in 6th place for good points and showed that even though they may not have the best chassis, that Mercedes power unit is the class of the field. Being best of the rest is quite an achievement for the team in Baku. Lance Stroll managed to also get in the points in 9th for a dual-points finish.
A win for McLaren who inherited grid positions at the start due to penalties but they managed to keep both cars in the points and while Carlos Sainz was able to get around his teammate, Lando Norris, the rookie did a great job and the team is heading in the right direction given their fate two weeks ago.
A fail for Ferrari who crashed in qualifying and didn’t have the pace to challenge Mercedes on Sunday. Leclerc was stuck as the soft tires that were degrading much faster than projections so they had to leave him out longer and that compromised his race. Vettel had a tough first stint and while the medium compounds were better, they had nothing for Mercedes.
A fail for Haas F1 who just couldn’t come to terms with the tires and were lost in the detritus at the back of the pack with Romain Grosjean eventually retiring with brake issues.
A fail for Renault who, as a works team, should be challenging for best of the rest since their customer team, McLaren are in the points. With a DNF for Daniel Ricciardo and a 14th for Nico Hulkenberg, that’s not what the factory want. This is starting to leave serious questions about the man at the helm of the team.
A WTH for Daniel Ricciardo who tried to pass Daniil Kvyat, over-cooked the corner and sent both of them into the run-off area. Then, Ricciardo backed up into Kvyat’s car causing race-ending damage to both cars. I assume Dan couldn’t see the Russian in his mirrors but I’m not sure how, he was right behind him. This was not Kvyat’s fault, folks.
I must have missed why the Virtual Safety Car was engaged when Pierre Gasly retired from the race in the exit road area. IF he was not far enough into the exit road, I would have thought double yellows would have sufficed?
Azerbaijan GP Results
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||51||17.493s|
|6||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||51||1m16.416s|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||51||1m23.826s|
|9||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||51||1m43.816s|
|10||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||50||1 Lap|
|11||Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso/Honda||50||1 Lap|
|12||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||50||1 Lap|
|13||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||50||1 Lap|
|14||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||50||1 Lap|
|15||George Russell||Williams/Mercedes||49||2 Laps|
|16||Robert Kubica||Williams/Mercedes||49||2 Laps|
|–||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull/Honda||38||Gearbox|
|–||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||33||Accident damage|
|–||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||31||Accident damage|
|12||Carlos Sainz Jr.||6|