F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Predictions, Free Formula 1 Betting Tips | Sports news

Mark Thompson

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Ferrari's Charles Leclerc celebrates his fifth pole position in seven races this season

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc celebrates his fifth pole position in seven races this season

Mark Thompson

Free Formula 1 tips, best bets and analysis for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku on Sunday.

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Sky Sports F1, Sunday midday

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Charles Leclerc wins
1pt 13-8 hill

race preview

After a thrilling four-way battle for pole position, the stage is set for a mesmerizing Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc stormed to his fifth pole position of the season but it’s World Champion Max Verstappen who is leading the bets for the race from third on the grid.

Historically, pole position on the streets of Baku has been more of a curse than a blessing.

Only Valtteri Bottas has managed to win from pole in the four races held at the track in 2019. The other three polesitters didn’t even make it onto the podium for various reasons.

And Leclerc himself has a terrible conversion rate after starting from scratch. This is his 15th career pole, but the Monegasque has only won four races.

However, there are plenty of reasons to believe Leclerc can pull off an overdue win this afternoon.

His Ferrari has tended to fare better for a one-lap shootout than a race distance this year. That’s because it eats up its tires faster than its rivals and lacks straight-line speed.

This makes them particularly vulnerable to Red Bull, for whom Verstappen has a nine-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship.

But the Italian team’s recent updates seem to have mitigated those factors.

At Barcelona, ​​Leclerc’s tires showed no sign of wear as he had a huge lead amid a rare engine problem.

In the meantime, the Ferraris have lost no more than a tenth of a second to Red Bull in the last sector of the Baku circuit – which practically only goes full throttle. That means the Ferraris won’t be sitting ducks.

A safety car is seen throughout this high-speed track, which is surrounded by concrete walls.

That could bring strategy into play, which could be a concern for Leclerc supporters after Ferrari made a huge mistake in a wet-dry Monaco race last time out – costing the home heroes another easy win.

But all things considered, Leclerc looks worth it.

If Verstappen is to win, he will first have to do without his team-mate Sergio Perez, who disqualified the young Dutchman for the second race in a row.

It’s likely – although not a given – that Monaco winners Perez will be asked by his team to leave. The Mexican is just 15 points behind Verstappen and must be considered a championship contender in his current form.

Perez’s best chance of victory is to slide Leclerc between himself and his teammate.

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