Azerbaijan GP preview

Azerbaijan GP has always been one of the exciting races in the calendar since 2016 and has always thrown in surprises and challenges for both the drivers and the teams. The 2018 race in the Baku city street circuit was simply amazing and the level of excitement and fun that we all experienced from the race right from the start till the end was a memorable one. This is the 4th race this year and with 3 exciting close finishes already this year, we are in for a treat this time around in the beautiful city of Baku. Interestingly, out of the last 3 races held in Azerbaijan, the drivers who qualified in the top grid has won only once.

Mercedes have had a dream run so far with 3 back-to-back 1-2 finishes this season, a record which was held earlier by Williams in the year 1992. We all know how dominant Mercedes have been in this V6 hybrid era and to achieve a new milestone this year certainly shows the dominance. With Ferrari and RedBull yet to find their form on Sunday, Baku is crucial for all teams to get one over Mercedes. RedBull have done really well in Baku in the past, only to miss out on few occasions, just like last year when Ricciardo and Verstappen came together, bringing down the curtain for the team with two DNFs. This time around, RedBull and Toto Rosso are expected to receive Honda engine upgrade, which should bring them closer to the top 2 teams.  Ferrari, on the other hand, are bringing in their first upgrade for this season here at Baku, so it should spice things up.

As far as qualifying goes, we have had 3 different pole sitters here in Azerbaijan, with Nico Rosberg being the only one to have a podium finish at the race. Lewis Hamilton took pole in 2017, and Sebastian last year. They have had their fair share of altercations and disappointments at this GP, so we expect them to turn things around. Since the first Azerbaijan GP in 2016, the pole sitter has never won the race, which is quite interesting. Traditionally, Azerbaijan has been one of the toughest tracks for cars and drivers, with every corner throwing in a unique set of challenges, making it tough.

Baku street circuit is unlike other street circuits where overtaking is hard. Here the long straight with DRS offers plenty of overtaking opportunities for drivers, and as seen last year, there are many other narrow overtaking spots around the track as well. Valterri Bottas, Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen also have a chance for the pole. Just like the previous 3 races, even here we expect a close fight between the top 3. History suggests that out of the last 3 races at Azerbaijan, winning margin has never been over 6 seconds, which suggests we are in for another exciting Baku race. We can also expect VSC and safety cars too because only less than 16.5 drivers have classified. Sergio Perez has had a good run here at Baku, with 2 podium finishes in the last 3 races, but the Racing Point is not expected to be as competitive as last year, you never know. There are 2 DRS zones, and the second DRS zone expected to be the main overtaking zone for teams and drivers, it is expected to be super fun. With the pack being closer this time around, we can expect Baku to remain ranked no. 1 in terms of on track passes for the 3rd consecutive time.

Azerbaijan GP 2019 Race Stats

First GP - 2016

Number of laps - 51

Circuit length - 6.003km

Race distance - 306.049km

Lap record - 1:43.441 Sebastian Vettel (2017)

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