All the preliminary action is done for the Formula One starts in Baku. A wild weekend at one of the most wildest tracks on the F1 circuit has taken place. See, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix normally produces some of the most insane racing of the entire season.
I mean, we’ve had Racing Point (formerly Force India) score two podium finishes in three tries. Williams, scored another podium. That’s three straight years for an unlikely visitor for the rotunda. With the way things are going so far, we’re likely to see a fourth.
So, what’s going to happen?
Honda’s Looking Stout
Both Honda teams are looking so strong so far this weekend. Both Toro Rosso’s were quick in practice and will start towards the front.
Daniil Kvyat was sixth in both full practice sessions and even qualified his No. 26 Honda in sixth as well. He’s +200000 and a good betting option this weekend.
His teammate Alex Albon is +250000 and was eighth in both practice sessions himself. He’ll start 12th on Sunday.
The Red Bull’s have been quick too. Max Verstappen was fourth and third respectively in practice and will start fourth in his No. 33 Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Honda. While he’s retired out of the last two races in Baku City, he does have three straight top four finishes on the season and is +1000. Don’t count him out.
His teammate Pierre Gasly was quick in qualifying but they elected not to run a lap in Q2 due to a penalty that will force the second year driver to start on pit lane on Sunday. I doubt he goes from last to first, but he can get to the top 10 though.
Ferrari’s Shoot Themselves In The Foot
The best short run speeds belong to the Ferrari’s this weekend. But, where that paid off the most, they failed to not only get a pole, but get a car on the front row too.
n Bahrain, they were the class of the field only to see Sebastien Vettel spin while battling for second and Charles Leclerc have an engine problem in the closing stages while leading.
So far this weekend in Azerbaijan, they’ve been the clear cut favorites. Leclerc, was quickest in both full practice sessions and was even fastest in the opening round of qualifying on Saturday. Vettel, was second in each of the two practices himself.
But, from Q2 on, Ferrari self destructed yet again.
Leclerc became the second victim of the narrow Turn 8 section of the track as he got into the tire barriers hard at turn exit. In Q1, Robert Kubica had a similar incident bringing out a 15 minute red flag.
For Leclerc, his No. 16 Ferrari was badly damaged as it didn’t allow him to get back out for Q3. He will start 10th as a result.
Vettel, will only start third. He is +200 but only has one podium in Baku and that came back in 2016. He was fourth in each of the last two years and has scored just one podium all season (3rd in China). He was fourth and fifth respectively in the other two races in 2019. Trends say he will finish fourth or fifth on Sunday.
LeClerc has finished fifth, third and fifth respectively this season and was sixth in his Sauber in this race last year. He’s +325 for Sunday’s race and trend say he will finish between third and fifth again. He has the speed but will enough carnage happen in front of him to get him there?
Top 5 Prediction
- 77 Bottas (+275) – He will make up for a bad ending to his race that he should have won last year and go flag to flag for his second win of the 2019 season. Bottas, finished runner-up in 2017 and was a few laps away from winning in 2018. With three straight top two finishes to start the season, Bottas wins on Sunday.
- 44 Hamilton (+175) – Hamilton is the defending race winner and like Bottas, has finished in the top two in each race this season, gives Mercedes a fourth straight 1-2 result. But, with two fifth place runs in Baku in 2016 and 2017, Bottas is just a slight bit better.
- 26 Kvyat (+100000) – He’s got a good car and for a fourth straight year, we get an unlikely podium finisher.
- 11 Perez (+200000) – He’s close to his third podium in four tries at Azerbaijan but a fourth place run is solid. Perez, has improved upon his finish in each of the first three races this year (13-10-8) why not a fourth?
- 16 Leclerc (+325) – Daniel Ricciardo went from 10th to win in 2017, but Leclerc just doesn’t have enough time to get there on Sunday. He’s fast but his starting position hampers his winning chances.