2019 Azerbaijan GP: Bottas On Top Again
The 2019 Azerbaijan GP was not the most exciting Formula One race to take place in Baku since its appearance on the calendar, and one that will leave fans wondering what hope any team has to compete with the Silver Arrows.
The Ferrari car has routinely been propped up as the one with the best straight-line speed, but it could do little to keep up with the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton at the Baku Street Circuit, which boasts the longest straight of the year.
Some will say that had Charles Leclerc not crashed his Ferrari in qualifying, he might have been able to fight for the top two spots, but his pace on Sunday was not electrifying enough to warrant that judgement. It was all Sebastian Vettel could do to stay in range, and when the Virtual Safety Car ended with a few laps to go in the 2019 Azerbaijan GP, the two Mercedes simply took off. Leclerc was so far behind that Ferrari were able to pit him for free to nab that extra point for the fast lap.
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Still, it was a promising day for Red Bull and, in particular, its engine supplier Honda. The Japanese manufacturer has clearly gotten something right this year, as it didn’t seem to struggle with speed at a circuit that, historically, had given it trouble. The Renault-powered cars seemed to have the most difficulty where speed was concerned. That being said, Pierre Gasly did have to retire from an engine issue, so work still needs to be done on the reliability side.
Both Racing Point and McLaren drivers managed to score points, establishing themselves as the midfield teams to beat, while Kimi Raikkonen once again finished in the top 10 despite starting from the pit lane because his front wing was found to be outside the regulations.
Daniil Kvyat was involved in a strange incident with Daniel Ricciardo. The latter overdid it on the brakes while attempting to pass the former on the inside. Ricciardo had to continue straight into the run-off area, preventing Kvyat from turning into the corner and leaving both of them momentarily stranded. Ricciardo, apparently unaware that Kvyat had stopped behind him, then reversed straight into the Russian, ending both of their races.
It was ultimately a close race for the 2019 Azerbaijan GP win between Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, but the former did well to keep the latter at bay during the opening lap with some wheel-to-wheel action that likely had Toto Wolff wincing on the pit wall. Hamilton came back at Bottas near the end, but a mistake on the last corner of the penultimate lap gave Bottas the breathing room he needed to claim his second victory of 2019.
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Kurt Verlin was born in France and lives in the United States. Throughout his life he was always told French was the language of romance, but it was English he fell in love with. He likes cats, music, cars, 30 Rock, Formula 1, and pretending to be a race car driver in simulators; but most of all, he just likes to write about it all. See more articles by Kurt.