Formula 1 touches down in Azerbaijan for the second ever time this weekend. The season is seeing a tightening between Sebastien Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. There are just 12 points between the two heavyweights.
Ferrari is enjoying a renaissance this season and in recent weeks it has been Mercedes trying to keep up. Mercedes and Ferrari are creating a new intense rivalry that is starting to spark some life back into F1 for me. With Daniel Ricciardo’s win last race and Red Bull sitting behind the two main teams it seems there is a possibility the sport is starting to open up for teams to compete.
The track in Baku is proving a tight affair, literally, and has already seen Sergio Perez succumb to a crash in practice. There are some enticing straights though where the drivers are able to release the full power of the cars. Altogether the track is a good one in my opinion which will be both challenging for the drivers but also good to watch for us!
The Red Bull duo Verstappen and Ricciardo were top after practice 1 with Vettel and Hamilton 4th and 5th respectively. They were not on the quickest tyres however so it will be interesting to see how their cars perform in the qualifying.
Due to this Hamilton is favourite to top qualifying 10/11 with Vettel just behind in the odds. Because of the tight nature of the track, it will be difficult to see taking over in the tight section. The straights might be more fruitful but that depends on the power of the cars rather than driving ability.
Hamilton is likely to go all out on this track which will remind him of Monaco. If he makes pole he will go on to win overall, but with odds of 1/1 this wouldn’t be the most interesting of choices. Instead, if you bet now you could pre-empt mistakes in qualifying and side with Max Verstappen.
He has shown that he is adept in tight spaces and if the practice rounds are anything to go by, the Red Bull car is looking and building every week to create something capable of winning. At 20/1 he is big money and could be the surprise package. If you’re not feeling as brave as me then going for Verstappen in the top 3 will still get you 4/1 still.