F1 Predictions Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Free Formula 1 Predictions | Sports News

Mark Thompson

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Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc celebrates his sixth pole position in eight races this season

Mark Thompson

Free Formula 1 tips, best bets and analysis for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku on Sunday.

where to watch

Sky Sports F1, Sunday noon

Best bet

Victory of Charles Leclerc
1pt 13-8 Hills

Race preview

After a thrilling four-way battle for pole position, the stage is set for a thrilling Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc stormed to his sixth pole position of the season, but it is world champion Max Verstappen, third on the grid, who leads the bets for the race.

Historically, pole position has been more of a curse than a blessing on the streets of Baku.

Only Valtteri Bottas in 2019 managed to win from pole in the four races held on the track. The other three pole-sitters didn’t even make it to the podium, for various reasons.

And Leclerc himself has a terrible conversion rate after starting from the front. This is his 15th career pole, yet the Monegasque has only won four races.

However, there are plenty of reasons to believe Leclerc can pull off a late victory this afternoon.

This year, his Ferrari tended to be better suited to a one-lap shootout than a race distance. This is due to a combination of its tires consuming faster than its rivals and a lack of straight-line speed.

That made them particularly vulnerable against Red Bull, for whom Verstappen holds a nine-point lead in the drivers standings.

But recent updates from the Italian squad seem to have mitigated those factors.

At Barcelona, ​​Leclerc’s tires showed no signs of degrading as he held a huge lead when he suffered a rare engine problem.

Meanwhile, Ferraris lost just a tenth of a second against Red Bull in the final sector of the Baku lap – which is practically flat out. That means Ferraris won’t be sitting ducks.

This high-speed circuit, surrounded by concrete walls, invariably sees a safety car.

That could put strategy on the line, which could be a concern for Leclerc supporters after Ferrari got badly wrong in a wet and dry Monaco race last time out – costing the home hero another easy win.

But all things considered, Leclerc has the value.

If Verstappen wants to win, he will first have to do without team-mate Sergio Perez, who outqualified the young Dutchman for the second race in a row.

It’s likely – but not a given – that Monaco winner Perez will be asked by his side to move. The Mexican is only 15 points behind Verstappen and should be considered a championship contender in his current form.

Perez’s best chance of victory is sandwiching Leclerc between him and his teammate.

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