Crimson Bull by no means took pole place in Baku, and Charles Leclerc stored that wait going as he unexpectedly set the tempo within the Azerbaijan Grand Prix qualifying. However can the Ferrari driver compete for the remainder of the weekend? And the place do their rivals sit? We current key information forward of the primary F1 Dash of the yr…
Leclerc masters Baku as soon as once more to present Ferrari hope
There’s one thing in regards to the streets of Baku that brings out the very best of Leclerc, Monegasque with a tremendous efficiency in qualifying, taking the primary pole place of the yr and the third consecutive place in Baku.
READ MORE: Leclerc beats Verstappen in qualifying rigidity for third consecutive Azerbaijan GP pole place
It was much more shocking when Leclerc stated on Thursday that he expects this to be one of many hardest weekends of the yr for the workforce.
In keeping with our preferrred tour information, even when everybody mixed their greatest mini-sectors, Leclerc would nonetheless prime the checklist, however undoubtedly Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen may have been nearer.
Ferrari was quickest within the slower corners, solely barely behind Crimson Bull within the mids and lengthy straights that dominated the Azerbaijan road circuit.
There isn’t any doubt that the crimson automobiles will wrestle to maintain the Crimson Bulls out on Sunday, particularly Carlos Sainz, who’s struggling to tackle his Ferrari teammate for the weekend’s tempo.
However our race simulation information (a mix of pre-event simulations and multi-lap small laps that drivers do in a single observe session of the day) suggests it might be nearer than it has been all season.
Crimson Bull stays a pressure to be reckoned with
It will not be the primary time a Crimson Bull pole will begin in 2023, however the workforce’s confidence in RB19 is so excessive that they only stood out to complete second and third.
Verstappen identified that Crimson Bull has a greater automobile than anybody else on excessive gasoline, whereas implying that he’s extra centered on making ready the automobile for racing gear, contemplating the revised format F1 Dash and Grand Prix. of your rivals.
READ MORE: “We now have an excellent race automobile” – Verstappen and Perez assured to take the struggle to Leclerc after lacking pole
Crimson Bull was the quickest within the mid-speed corners – however solely a fraction of them – and so they had been crushed solely by Aston Martin by way of straight line pace.
Perez is a Baku skilled and has an opportunity to get a giant outcome this weekend, whereas Verstappen stays assured that he’s in form to struggle for victory on all fronts.
It’s going to take a little bit of a beating – however from what we noticed in Baku on Friday, it is a extra delicate benefit than they’ve had for many of this yr, which suggests they could wrestle a bit on their arms.
Mercedes backs out from Australian tempo
Mercedes was unable to copy the shock tempo it displayed in Australia, the place the Silver Arrows briefly ran a one-two and Lewis Hamilton completed second in Baku.
Trackside engineering chief Andrew Shovlin admitted that they could not discover a good beginning setup for the weekend’s single observe session and it harm them.
READ MORE: As Russell seems to sort out after Q2 debut, Hamilton hails “a very candy lap” to seize the highest 5 grid slots
Each Hamilton and George Russell struggled with dealing with and stability, overcoming minor braking points at the beginning of the weekend.
The info exhibits they lack Ferrari, Crimson Bull and McLaren within the gradual corners. Towards Ferrari, that distinction was nearly a second.
Nonetheless, with Aston Martin and one of many Ferraris they nonetheless rallied to be in an excessive amount of of a mixture – and Hamilton’s lap in Q2 would have been one place decrease had Fernando Alonso nailed his lap.
McLaren improve seems good
Whereas Alpine failed to listen to about their main improve for the Baku weekend, rivals McLaren stepped up the laps and obtained some very thrilling pace with their long-awaited package deal.
This was the automobile the workforce had hoped to ship on time at the beginning of the season, however a late change in improvement has made it an unattainable objective.
HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the motion of an thrilling qualifying lap in Baku as Leclerc stuns Crimson Bull to take pole
Our information exhibits that the improve, which incorporates closely revised floor, gave them 0.2 to 0.3 seconds per lap, explaining why they had been capable of make their method into Q3 for the primary time this season with two automobiles in a really tight mid-group package deal. .
Their pace within the gradual corners was notably spectacular – solely Ferrari and Crimson Bull had been higher, whereas at mids they had been fairly assertive, balancing out their lackluster efficiency on the straights.
As you’d count on, the workforce is not getting carried away – however there isn’t any doubt that the British operation has taken a step ahead – and there must be plenty of components in the remainder of the weekend regarding the scores.
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