2021 Formula 1: Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Do Mercedes have sandbags again? Or will VER take Poland in the qualifiers for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix? Ah, Azerbaijan Grand Prix, nice. Somehow it just makes sense, F1 in this country running on oil and gas. It is almost a kind of nostalgia captured in modern times. In addition, the circuit on the streets of Baku is also interesting. In some narrow sections, overtaking is as unlikely as in Monaco. But these distances are mixed with long distances with full throttle leading to intense braking zones. A mistake was made there. We saw it in the competitions that were held here before. But also in the free workouts. Higher leaflets such as Verstappen, Leclerc and Mazepin suffocated and hit the wall. Almost all other drivers also shot straight somewhere, but were able to continue through the exit zones. However, it is clear that it is tricky to neatly color in lines on the windy streets. “Tricky” is also a good word to describe Mercedes’ experiences so far. After the accident with Das Haus in Monaco, the team has unexpectedly had a hard time again this weekend. Bottas and Hamilton do not have the pace and are grumpy on the radio. Although Hamilton ran the third fastest time in the third free practice, he needed a significant slipstream. Is the disease at Mercedes real, or are it sandbags again? Okay, so we’ve seen an accident in a little corner here. So it is no wonder that many drivers are already at the traffic light in the pit at the beginning of the session. It’s nice to have a time on the clocks if a colleague hangs it on the wall. However, Lance Stroll is so eager that he almost immediately flattens his Aston Martin AMR21. The Canadian beats his hands on the helmet in frustration. Of course, his team can not use this. A red flag follows, right after that it is Verstappen and Perez who shoot to the top of the time list. That’s how we like to see it. Verstappen therefore does not seem to experience any bad effects from his crash in VT3. The Red Bulls, just like Ferraris, Alpines, Vettel and a few others, are just in time for their fast laps. Now Giovinazzi hangs it in the wall at exactly the same point as Stroll did. It raises the second red flag. Mercedes will not be so good. The black Silberpfeile drove both twice, only to drive back into the pits without any action. In principle, the remaining nine minutes of the session are sufficient for a sufficiently fast round. But yes, it’s not perfect, after all you never know. Hamilton then puts a P4 on the clock on his first try, while teammate Bottas goes to P9. With Stroll and Giovinazzi already on the side, that should be enough. In fact, Hamilton drives for a while and goes to the fastest time this weekend with no slipstream from anyone. So they just do it, that’s for sure. But who will fall off besides the two bit pilots? There are no surprises: Latifi, Schumacher and Mazepin get to drink beer. Alonso gets away with horror. The break: Latifi – Schumacher – Mazepin – Giovinazzi – Stroll At Red Bull, it’s just as scary when drivers come out in battle for their first runs. Vettel’s Aston Martin comes flying out of a box like a devil and the two RB16Bs have to put on the brakes. Perez then goes to 1: 41.6 and Verstappen to 1: 41.7. It’s almost impossible, but the two ferries are still in the middle. Norris is also within two tenths of Perez. Bottas and Hamilton make a slow lap first to make the tires work. It places the first in seventh place, but the second in second place. HAM is currently only four thousandths slower than Perez. Especially in the fastest sector, Mercedes is now spearheading. In the replay we see that LH44 even made a mistake, Verstappen also comes through and is now five thousandths faster than his teammate and thus nine thousandths faster than HAM. So the differences at the front of this six-kilometer-long course are bizarrely small at the top of the field right now. Number 7 Gasly loses three tenths and the top 13 is within a second. Only Raikkonen and Russell seem to fall in the battle for a place among the top ten.

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