May 2, 2019 Off By The Badger

F1™ Race Report – Azerbaijan GP 2019

It’s a tight squeeze into turn 1, but both Mercedes drivers avoid contact and crucially Bottas keeps the lead ahead of Hamilton

Flawless Mercedes march on

What a start by Mercedes. Four wins in a row, four one two’s in a row and two wins a piece for their drivers, separated only courtesy of a Valtteri Bottas fastest lap in the opening race. Strategies have been flawless and it really has been a team effort down at Mercedes as they propel themselves to a sixth consecutive title. Are we witnessing a repeat of 2016 when both the silver arrows went neck to neck? It’s still to early to call, but all we know is that Bottas is a changed man. Long gone is the 2018 version of the Finn, the new Bottas has a point to prove and with Esteban Ocon sniffing for a race seat, credit to Valtteri for his incredible start. Over to you Lewis.

“I am Stupid. I am Stupid”

Charles LeClerc had been untouchable all weekend in Baku. Quickest in practice, the young Ferrari man seemed to be in a class of his own and a shoe-in for the win on Sunday. Disaster struck mid-way through Q2 as LeClerc shunted into the narrow corner by the castle that had claimed it’s share of casualties. He was pushing the limits and perhaps inexperience got the better of him with other drivers bailing out of the lap and using the run off area. Those are the margins, but all the drivers have been there and mistakes are a common occurrence in F1.

LeClerc is his own biggest critic, we’ve heard him push himself last year and his determination and raw honesty is a pleasure to witness. It’s crazy to think that this is only his second full season in the sport.

No fireworks in Baku this time out

Baku is a recent addition to the F1 calendar, and given the past two editions we would forgiven to think we were in for another spectacle. Saturday’s Qualy session almost confirmed we would be in for a treat with one of the longest sessions of recent memory thanks to shunts from Kubica and LeClerc. The less said about what happened on Friday with Russell and the loose drain cover the better, but feel free to look for the video if you haven’t seen it – unless you’re a Williams fan of course. Against all odds, all cars made it safely into turn 1, no safety car throughout the race saw this race become a battle of tire wear and strategies. We did however see one “collision” as Daniel Ricciardo continued his miserable start to his Renault career by reversing, no that’s not a typo, into Daniel Kvyat who was stranded after the Aussie overshot his corner. Not something you see very often that’s for sure!


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Final Classification

# Driver Team Time Stops
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:31:52.942 1
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1.524s 1
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 11.739s 1
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 17.493s 1
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 69.107s 2
6 Sergio Perez Racing Point 76.416s 1
7 Carlos Sainz McLaren 83.826s 1
8 Lando Norris McLaren 100.268s 2
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point 103.816s 1
10 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 1 LAP 1
11 Alex Albon Toro Rosso 1 LAP 1
12 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 1 LAP 1
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1 LAP 2
14 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1 LAP 2
15 George Russell Williams 2 LAPS 2
16 Robert Kubica Williams 2 LAPS 3
DNF Romain Grosjean Haas 2
DNF Pierre Gasly Red Bull 0
DNF Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 2
DNF Daniel Ricciardo Renault 2

Fastest Lap

Driver Team Time Lap#
Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:43.009 50


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