F1 2023 | Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan GP ‘23: Bulls Keep Pushing

April 30, 2023

motorsport journalist

Neal Venter

Motorsport Journalist

Another Grand Prix, and another Red Bull victory. The Bulls have now won four out of four races this season so far, with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez both sitting on two wins each. 

It seems as though their domination will continue for the foreseeable future, but there has been a glimmer of hope that we can take away from Baku. 

Although the Baku Grand Prix might have been a mundane race, there’s a lot to unpack behind the scenes. Let’s get into it.

Ferrari Close the Gap

Baku has always delivered some interesting races over the years, with most of them featuring late safety cars, spectacular overtakes and even tire blowouts close to the end of the race.

In 2023 however, we didn’t see much action despite there being two races this weekend. Baku was the scene of the first F1 Sprint of the season (more on that later), but the general consensus among the F1 community is that this was one of the worst races in recent years — even Gunther Steiner seemed to have dozed off on the pit wall.

But, one thing we could establish from this weekend is that the pecking order has changed slightly. Charles Leclerc put in some blistering laps in Qualifying (and the Sprint Shootout) to get two pole positions. 

However, the Monegasque couldn’t convert these pole positions into wins, taking his F1 record to a grisly 5 wins from 19 pole positions (a conversion rate of just 26%).

This weekend, the Ferrari couldn’t keep up with the Red Bull’s jaw dropping straight line speed, with the Red Bull redlining at 342 kilometers per hour compared to the Ferrari’s 312 kilometers per hour on the lap where Verstappen overtook Leclerc — the same problem that Mercedes suffered from when fighting the Bulls in Australia.

We also saw the Ferrari struggle with their tire wear, which meant that Perez could pull away from Leclerc during the Sprint despite it being a shorter race. 

Nevertheless, Ferrari still managed to show some signs of improvement by taking pole position twice in one weekend. There are rumours of significant upgrades coming for the Prancing Horse camp at Imola, so we might see a resurgence from them soon.

Mercedes and Aston Martin are Close

Lewis Hamilton Azerbaijan GP 2023

Aston Martin brought an upgraded rear wing to this weekend’s Grand Prix, but it gave them some trouble as they struggled with their DRS.

Throughout the course of the weekend they were in the mix with Mercedes, which shows that these two teams are now quite evenly matched. 

Aside from Red Bull streaking ahead, the competition is pretty tight through the rest of the field. Nevertheless, we need to see these teams catch up to the Red Bulls ahead of them.

With Ferrari, Mercedes and Aston Martin all on level terms, we could see  an exciting fight emerging in the next few races!

Packed Schedule Could Cause Problems

Azerbaijan GP Race Start 2023

Formula 1’s schedule is hitting a bottleneck over the next few weeks, and that could pose a unique challenge for all the teams.

The teams are facing five races over the next six weeks, which means that fatigue could play a massive role in both the drivers and the team members over the next couple of races.

There’s also a ton of traveling that needs to be done, with the next race being in Miami, the teams need to travel a massive 11,022 kilometers in a week. Then, they need to head back to Europe for the following race in Imola.

It’s poor planning on F1’s part, and it could take a huge toll on everyone by the end of this stretch of races.

To make things worse, Monaco lies right in the middle of this stretch of races — one of the most mentally demanding circuits for drivers. We could see some vital errors being made by drivers and pit crew due to being overworked.

Miami Up Next

Sergio Perez - King Of The Streets in Azerbaijan GP

Formula 1 heads State-side next as we prepare for the second Miami Grand Prix. It was quite a show last year, from NFL helmets on the podium to celebrities on the grid. 

Although the race didn’t live up to expectations last season, the track is tricky enough to serve up a great race. We might get to see Ferrari, Mercedes, and Aston Martin challenge the Red Bulls.

This year’s Miami Grand Prix will be spectacular — make sure you don’t miss it!

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