F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix: What We Learned From the Race

2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Victory for Bottas, a double-triumph for Mercedes – culminating in the Silver Arrows’ fourth 1-2 of the season- and yet another podium for Sebastian Vettel. The 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix wasn’t as crazy as previous editions but it taught us much.

Once again, Mercedes provided too big a challenge for Ferrari to equal, let alone better, as the 51-lap contest at Baku produced an all too familiar result.

So, are Mercedes simply unbeatable or could it be that Ferrari are shooting themselves in the foot? And did the team in red spoil the chances of their young Monegasque driver winning the race?

Up first, a key question…

Is there a lot to be learned if you’re Mattia Binotto and Ferrari?

While Vettel was the first among the two Ferrari’s to pit, the German eventually holding on well for a comfortable third place finish, the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix pitted Ferrari and Mercedes directly in a race of strategy, aced by the Toto Wolff- led outfit as the Scuderia’s plan for Leclerc left a lot to be desired.

The 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix asked a key question of the Italian team, and had the Tifosi scratching their heads.

Did the Scuderia bungle a good chance for a Charles Leclerc race win?

That’s right, not Sebastian Vettel, who has clinched pole twice in the past and secured a P2 in Azerbaijan, but Charles Leclerc, the man who eventually finished behind Verstappen for a relatively harmless fifth, albeit setting a new track record at 1:43:009.

One wondered what was the point in having Leclerc do a longer stint, having him pit so late in the race, with little opportunity to maximise the benefit of being on soft tyres? While the idea was to play for a safety car or even hold up Bottas to bring Vettel closer to Hamilton, did it really pay-off?

If the qualifying fiasco on Saturday wasn’t enough to upset Leclerc’s track position for the start of the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, it didn’t help that he had to fight doubly hard to get the fresh rubber to play its role with only a handful of laps to go.

Therefore, all the good work done by car number 16 – in the form of some brisk overtaking as seen during the move on Verstappen (lap four) in the battle for fourth and also with Sergio Perez early on – was undone by Leclerc’s struggle during the closing stages as he played catch up to the Dutchman who he’d earlier passed.

Still Fight Left in the Iceman

We also learned that there’s a bit of fight remaining in Kimi Raikkonen. After his Alfa Romeo’s front wing failed the deflection test, Kimi was forced to begin his Baku challenge from the pitlane.

That’s not where you want to be on a track where it’s tough to overtake – right? Yet, Raikkonen’s steely moves on both Haas cars as seen during the middle stages reminded one that the Iceman’s still got it.

We also found that perhaps there’s not such a thick bond between the Baku street circuit and its consistent non-finisher, Romain Grosjean.

It’s not the greatest love-story is it?

Seeing Grosjean, who’s failed to secure a point here ever since the first instalment of the race, in 2016, retire again – locking up at the third corner of Lap 32 – didn’t make for a pretty sight.

That told, the biggest thing we learned is that Charles Leclerc is the real deal in 2019. In setting the fastest lap of the race, and a new track record, the man who could have been in control of the race may be feeling that his first win is just around the corner.

Leave a Comment

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Recommended For You

Toto Wolff

Toto Wolff Is Concerned About Mercedes’ Current Form And Why Wouldn’t He Be?

Toto Wolff is usually a charismatic, smiling team boss. Someone ...
Kimi Raikkonen

How Did Kimi Raikkonen Score A Point At Baku Despite All The Drama Out In Front?

Kimi Raikkonen arrived at Baku, home to the Azerbaijan Grand ...
2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Sunday - Max Verstappen (image courtesy Red Bull Racing)

Spare A Thought For Max Verstappen!

Max Verstappen fans- look at the bright side. Your hero ...
Formula 1 Podcast | Ep 110 | 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Review

Formula 1 Grid Talk Episode 110: 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Review

Welcome to Episode 110 of our Formula 1 podcast, Grid ...
Antonio Giovinazzi

Following Torrid Crash, A Tough Race Looms Ahead For Antonio Giovinazzi At Baku!

Antonio Giovinazzi, upon his last visit to the Baku-bound Azerbaijan ...

More in News

2021 Russian Grand Prix, Friday - Valtteri Bottas (image courtesy Mercedes-AMG Petronas)

Valtteri Bottas Flying On Day 1 In Russia

It was a strong Friday showing for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas ...
SOCHI, RUSSIA - SEPTEMBER 24: Pierre Gasly of France driving the (10) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT02 Honda during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on September 24, 2021 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202109240342 // Usage for editorial use only //

Pierre Gasly Third Fastest On Opening Day At Sochi

With Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc set to start at ...
SOCHI, RUSSIA - SEPTEMBER 24: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing RB16B Honda during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on September 24, 2021 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202109240101 // Usage for editorial use only //

Max Verstappen Takes Engine Penalty, Set To Start At Back Of The Field

Max Verstappen has changed his engine ahead of the FORMULA ...
Lando Norris, Mclaren Mcl35m Side On

Lando Norris Feeling Confident After Day 1 In Sochi

McLaren's Lando Norris is feeling confident after a P4 finish ...
Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Russian Grand Prix Practice Day Sochi, Russia

Alpine Put Both Cars In Top 10 On Day 1

Alpine F1 Team finished with both cars inside the top ...

Trending on F1 Chronicle