Azerbaijan GP: Race heating up at the top between Mercedes and Red Bull

Formula One returns to the Baku, Azerbaijan this weekend. (Picture: @BakuCityCircuit/Twitter)

F1 action returns this weekend with the Azerbaijan Grand Prix set to take place at the Baku City Circuit.

This will mark the return of the Azerbaijan GP to the F1 calendar, after a hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Max Verstappen and Red Bull will be hoping to extend that lead in Baku, after a fantastic weekend in Monaco which saw them take home first and fourth place, jumping Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton for first in the Driver Standings and Constructors Championship.

Meanwhile, Mercedes will be looking to put the disaster weekend of Monaco behind them and will be desperate to bounce back.

Hamilton’s seventh place finish in Monaco marked the first time the seven-time world champion did not finish on the podium since September last year, breaking his 12-race streak of podium finishes.

With Baku offering plenty of overtaking opportunities especially on the straight leading to turn one, it is bound to be a fierce battle between Red Bull and Mercedes for top honours.

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An array of overtaking opportunities means the field is more open than usual in Baku, with it somewhat unclear which teams from the rest of the field will prevail with Red Bull and Mercedes expected to be the top two teams.

With McLaren proving to be the third-fastest car thus far this year, they would be expected to have a strong weekend, though questions still loom with Daniel Ricciardo struggling to get the most out of his car.

Aston Martin will be looking to collect more points and start closing the gap that McLaren and Ferrari have on them after a strong showing at Monaco. Monaco marked the first time both Aston Martins finished in the points, with Sebastian Vettel looking like his old self with a fifth place finish.

Ferrari will also be eager to try and keep the pressure of McLaren in the standings, currently sitting two points behind them following a bittersweet weekend in Monte Carlo.

Ferrari has shown in Monaco and Spain they can get the most out of their car with impressive results in qualifying and the race, but will have their work cut out for them with the long straights at Baku not ideally suited to their car.

The top 10 should be very competitive with a high likelihood of overtakes, crashes and safety cars which should make for one of the most exciting races on the F1 calendar.

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About Ben Filosi 36 Articles
Ben is a die-hard sports fan who enjoys watching all sports. Based in Adelaide he covers F1, Basketball and Combat sports with a particular interest in MMA. He is also part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics coverage. He is currently studying Journalism at Deakin University.

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