Behind The Headlines – Baku – Making sense of another crazy race in Azerbaijan

Behind The Headlines Features

It was another crazy race in Azerbaijan where Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took the team’s first win of the season. Like last year, there will be many talking points from the race, which saw crashes, safety cars, and many unfortunate events.

Bottas should have won?

Valtteri Bottas looked on course for the win, Mercedes relived after the race they were looking for another safety car, which would have allowed Bottas to stay ahead of Vettel. That would have prevented the German from undercutting Bottas.

If there were not a safety car, they would have run Bottas later and switched to the ultrasofts after the supersofts gave longer than expected tyre life. That would have allowed Bottas to move to Ultras for the final ten laps.

Bottas could have stayed ahead of Hamilton; however, that plan should have worked. However, on the final restart, the Finn suffered a puncher with five laps remaining following the safety car. The safety car would have helped Bottas remain in the lead and all he would have needed to do was hold off Vettel.

When bull’s charge (to disaster)

Bottas, Vettel and Hamilton were all placed into that position of fighting for the win after both Red Bull’s crashed into each other. We know both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen are hard and great fighters in wheel-to-wheel battles.

We went over the incident on lap thirty-nine in Notebook Review, however, I think there was nothing Ricciardo could have done as he overcommitted. Red Bull could have been in the position to score a double podium.

My question to Red Bull, “Why following the earlier battles and the banging of wheels, did you not ask them to stay calm?” However, we no Red Bull at this stage of the season do not like to use team orders, unless its necessarily.

However, I believe that before the race, Christian Horner gave them a reminder to race hard against each other but to keep it clean. After the incident, he said and you have to agree that “We’ve let them race hard against each other and unfortunately today has resulted in the worst possible scenario.”

We know that Verstappen is a late breaker and hard defender, and Ricciardo is a fighter so I think both of them could have handled the situation differently. The stewards decided to give them both a reprimand after deciding that both drivers’ actions contributed to the collision

Why factor?

Last year’s race was just as chaotic, Baku seemed to sow little subplots of the remainder of the season. We are earlier but we had one big question answered ‘Why have not Mercedes won and have they under delivered?’

I believe that Mercedes is not able to perform at the same level we have seen in the past few seasons. Last year, we saw Mercedes struggle on street circuits; time will tell if in order to solve that problem they have created new problems on proper circuits?

Hero of the day?

One of the surprises in Baku was the result Charles Leclerc had in the Sauber. We knew that from his dominate F2 season last year, he was and is capable of producing results. He was a major winner from the drama at Red Bull.

Nevertheless, the good result could be because of the Alfa Romeo deal and having Ferrari partnership. I believe Leclerc held his own in that race and proved himself as a talent. We saw his skills as a driver in his battle with Alonso in that race.

Leclerc has admitted he was “lucky” in his fight with Alonso, and keeping Kimi Raikkonen behind was a shock. The Monacan was voted as Driver of The Day and the first driver from the city-state to score a point in F1 since Louis Chiron at the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix


Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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