Liberty turns everything it touches into gold or, at least, that is the feeling one has in the last two years, in which this North American entertainment company has turned the Formula 1 World Championship upside down to the point of turning the grand prix into a kind of aspirational product; events that you have to go to yes or yes, regardless of the taste you may have for racing. In his desire to seduce people who have not yet been hooked on the championship, the promoter of the contest shook up the format a little more. And he reformulated the bet for those weekends, six, in which in addition to the race on Sunday, a short test is also held, the sprint. This rethinking could not have had a more famous premiere than the one seen this Friday in Azerbaijan, the best possible scenario for the resurrection of Ferrari. We’ll see if the revival of ‘Il Cavallino Rampante’ is permanent or temporary, welcomed in any case by fans who are beginning to worry about Red Bull’s dominance.
Charles Leclerc’s relationship with the Baku labyrinth is worth studying if we take into account that the Monegasque has accumulated the last three ‘pole positions’ that have been put into play there, without having been able to convert any of them into victory. This time, the ‘Scuderia’ runner brought out that leprechaun that he carries inside and that lately seemed hidden, to steal from Max Verstappen the most envied square of all. In a last kidney blow that led him to kiss the barriers with the rear of his red car, Leclerc surpassed by two tenths the time that five minutes earlier gave him the pole provisional to the current champion, who will share the front row with him. This is the first time this season that a Ferrari will lead the field when the lights go out.
“It has been a surprise. We arrived thinking that it would be good if we managed to finish ahead of Aston Martin and Mercedes, and in the end I was on pole position”, summed up Leclerc, who will start with a free track for the first time since the Singapore event last year. “Our car is still behind Red Bull, so it will be difficult for us to maintain that position,” added the driver from the Maranello team.
In the second line they will form Checo Pérez (third) and Carlos Sainz (fourth), while Fernando Alonso will start the sixth, from the third, conditioned by a day that was uphill for the Asturian. With this new sequence of events, the smallest problem acquires an enormous dimension; even more so if the part that fails is the mobile rear wing (DRS) on a circuit with an endless straight line of more than two kilometers. It so happens that Aston Martin debuts precisely this component in this race, which, due to the profile of the layout, recommends a very particular aerodynamic configuration. “We had a problem with the DRS in the final part of qualifying, which cost us a few tenths. If we take into account how tight things are, I think he would have finished fourth instead of sixth if it hadn’t happened ”, Alonso summed up.
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