Before we head into the race for the Azerbaijan GP, we have a look at the qualifying results and see just how far apart the times are for the top 5 race drives. It’s quite interesting to see as 2019 has been all about Mercedes heading all the races and winning by huge margins. So, shouldn’t they be that much further ahead with lap times as well?
We use the qualifying times of the Azerbaijan qualifying to see just how far apart the top teams are, which might only reveal some of the reasons Red Bull and Ferrari are struggling to keep up.
Once again, it’s both Mercedes drivers in first and second position off the start line. However, instead of Hamilton leading, Bottas is the one managing the fastest time at the Baku City circuit. He managed a fantastic time of 1:40:495, putting him in first place with his teammate Hamilton right behind him with a title of 1:40.554. Already, we don’t see a significant gap in the best lap times from either Merc drivers, giving us reason to believe they’ll finish carefully as well.
Where is Ferrari?
The Ferrari team seems to have more and more troubles as we saw in 2018. They were doing well and keeping to second place overall, but the Red Bull team is catching up, and they might not claim second place for the team this year.
Since Mercedes has been first and second in every race of the season, Ferrari has had no chance of keeping up with the team. Now, they’ve also had some trouble with Charles Leclerc in Azerbaijan as he crashed during qualifying. It’s unclear as so what happened, but since he didn’t finish, he would be starting in 9th place behind Raikkonen in the Alfa Romeo.
Vettel has managed to keep the team in the top five positions by delivering impressive results. Sure, the Mercs stay far ahead with points, but Vettel claims third most of the time. Qualifying over the weekend results in a third-place start with a tile of 1:40.797. That’s not far behind Hamilton or even Bottas who is in the lead. If Vettel managed to keep the pressure on during the race and stay close to either Mercedes drivers, he might claim second or even first.
What About Red Bull?
We see a very similar pattern with the Red Bull team as one of the drivers are doing well and getting real results and the other is pulling back the side a little.
Of course, Verstappen has been the one helping Red Bull remain among the top five racing teams by keeping up with Vettel and sometimes even beating him. He once again proves the point with a fourth-place start for this weekend with a time of 1:41.069.
His teammate, on the other hand, will start in 20th position due to a disqualification after setting the fastest lap of the day. It was later revealed that Gasly is now being summonsed for a fuel glow breach along with the Red Bull team.