The first race to sprint of the season validated the reconsideration made by Liberty Media, the promoter of the Formula 1 World Cup, which has started the weekend in two clearly differentiated blocks: Saturday is the race to the sprint; on Sunday, the traditional. The Baku Maze is one of the most spectacular settings on the calendar, which is probably why it regularly becomes a trap for runners. It has happened in the previous editions of the test held in Azerbaijan, with neutralizations and the appearance of multiple safety cars, and the story was repeated this Saturday. The pole position that Charles Leclerc took in the morning placed him in the best situation to serve Ferrari the first victory of the course. A partial victory in terms of points but a revitalizing boost for a semi-groggy team, involved in a permanent dynamic of changes that it is not clear where it will lead. Not even with those could she scuderia contain Checo Pérez’s Red Bull, who crossed first under the checkered flag after getting rid of the Monegasque, before the equator (lap 7 of 17) and thanks to the very powerful effect of the mobile rear wing (DRS). Leclerc finished second and Max Verstappen third, while Carlos Sainz finished fifth, just ahead of Fernando Alonso, sixth.
The almost four and a half seconds that Pérez endorsed Leclerc in just 17 laps give a good measure of the muscle that the energetic car hides, a sensation that was sensed in Bahrain, the venue for the start of the championship, and that was accentuated with the passing of the big prizes. In the fourth of the 23 that must be held, it is not crazy to think that Red Bull can come out on their shoulders one Sunday after another and so on until the end of November. Even more so if we take into account the state of grace in which the Mexican has settled, the most qualified squire that Verstappen has ever had, more demanded than he had ever been before by a neighbor in the workshop. The current champion knows that he cannot get lost because the Mexican wants to. The same ones that led him to hook up with George Russell, after the Briton from Mercedes did not leave him enough space on the first lap, in a maneuver that ended with the side of the ‘Mad Max’ car half open.
As soon as he got out of the car and with adrenaline shot up, Verstappen went looking for his opponent to ask him for an explanation, even though he was not too satisfied with the reasoning received, based on the lack of grip. “None of us have traction. Asshole!” he snapped at Russell, who walked away with the case still on and gave him no reply. “When he came towards me I thought he was going to congratulate me on the battle. That’s why I was surprised by how angry he was,” declared the Mercedes driver, who eventually finished fourth, just behind the Hasselt boy. “Since we were eight years old, since we raced karts, we know that whoever has the inside of the apex of the curve has the preference; it’s his curve. Whoever draws on the outside is taking a big risk ”, considered the boy from Norfolk. “It really caught my attention that he went there in the first lap, on an urban circuit,” he added.
After almost a month of hiatus, the expectation to gauge the extent to which some single-seaters and others had improved was enormous. The appetizer prior to the race on Sunday (1:00 p.m., Dazn) makes it clear that the person who has worked best has once again been Red Bull. The magical line of Adrian Newey and his crew have tweaked the RB19 and sharpened it even more. Among all that is seen, the area of the side pontoons stands out, with larger openings, a modification that not only improves the cooling of the car, but also increases the airflow directed to the rear. Red Bull goes at its own pace with everything. While most of its rivals appeared in Azerbaijan with a new rear wing, with less downforce to take advantage of the more than two-kilometre straight that presides over the track, the structure from Milton Keynes (Great Britain) appeared with the one it came with. wearing. That, which depending on the situation could be seen as something negative, is exactly the opposite in this case, since it reconfirms the margin in favor of the Austrian manufacturer’s car, winner on Saturday and which has everything to repeat on Sunday.
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