And how about a pre-race reading? Our report from yesterday’s chaotic qualifying session:
How are you? How are they:
1 Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
2 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
3 Lando Norris (McLaren)
4 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
5 Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
6 Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
7 Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
8 Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)
9 Pierre Gasly (Alphatauri)
10 Esteban Ocon (Renault)
1 Red Bull 149
2 Mercedes 148
3 McLaren 80
4 Ferrari 78
5 Aston Martin 19
Lando Norris acknowledges his three-place grid penalty, for failing to pit immediately after a red flag, is unfair. He dropped from the usual five spots because Norris had “very little time to react,” yet he moves him from sixth to ninth.
“[I’m] a little gutted “ he said. “I didn’t feel like I had done anything wrong. I felt [it] it was the safest thing to do. It is a bad decision or an unfair sanction ”.
Sad news from the world of F1:
McLaren CEO Zac Brown says: “Mansour has been engraved on the heart and soul of this team for almost 40 years and was intrinsic to its success. He was a true runner in every way. “
So after reaching seventh and eleventh In practice sessions on Friday, what exactly changed for Hamilton’s car in the run-up to qualifying yesterday? Any suspicion of sandbags was eliminated by Toto Wolff’s account of “a really comprehensive engineering program and we had no qualms about trying extreme things, which were just as extreme as we are.” [have ever] experienced”.
Hamilton elaborated: “We made some changes overnight that did not rectify it. We tried a few different things on P3 and then we tried something right at the end and it unlocked the settings. We hadn’t been able to turn on the tires like the other cars and the difference was that all of a sudden the tires started working and we were back in the game. It is the biggest jump we have been able to make between P3 and qualifying. It was literally night and day with the car. It’s a bit overwhelming and we have a very different race ahead of us than we expected. “
There is nothing like a little misery that propels you to greatness. Charles Leclerc was heartbroken in his hometown of Monaco last week, unable to join the grid after taking pole in qualifying, but has responded in Baku with another perfectly timed lap to claim his place at the front of the grid today. . Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton, outmatched in the title race after a medium showing in Monaco, has come out swinging in Azerbaijan. He left it late though, enduring some disastrous practice sessions before taking second place in yesterday’s crash-filled qualifying session, just ahead of Max Verstappen, the man who passed him in qualifying.
The past week was fast and furious. Or rather, Verstappen was fast and Mercedes was furious, with the Red Bull driver jumping to the lead in both championships, and a paragliding dispute rumbled throughout the week. (Christian Horner on Toto Wolff: “If I were Toto with the front wing on his car, I’d keep my mouth shut.” Wolff on the horn: “Christian is a bit of a fan who wants to be in front of the camera.”)
Hamilton’s seventh place in Monaco Along with the retirement of Valtteri Bottas mid-race, Mercedes also gave up the lead in the constructors’ championship by a single point to Red Bull, and they have a task in hand to regain first place given that Bottas has only qualified in tenth place here. .
Verstappen, flawless in Monaco, now leads Hamilton by four points; it is the first time he has led the title race in seven years. Much of that was due to a poor qualifying session from Hamilton, and history seemed to repeat itself this week (he was 11th in practice second yesterday) only for the Brit to make a notable turnaround and roar in an impressive second. Today bodes well for the entertainment factor.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism