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Mercedes protests and redemption - What to expect at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Mercedes protests and redemption - What to expect at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

F1 News

Mercedes protests and redemption - What to expect at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Mercedes protests and redemption - What to expect at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Leclerc fuelled for rebound

After his car was given the all-clear by Ferrari, Leclerc left the Monaco pit lane to head to the pole spot waiting for him. The heartbreak in his voice over the radio declaring there was a problem, later discovered to be a driveshaft problem, will still echo in the minds of his fans.

However, Ferrari and Leclerc will take solace from their ability to even be in contention to start from pole which, not so very long ago, looked a million miles away from being possible.

Monaco marked the second race in a row that Ferrari had outperformed McLaren in the battle for third in the constructors' championship with Baku providing a different challenge altogether.

Leclerc and team-mate Carlos Sainz should benefit from the tight, twisty 90-degree corners mid-lap but will lose out in the high-speed sections of the circuit.

McLaren's trump card at the moment is Norris who keeps putting in performance after performance. The British driver is third in the standings after a consistently stellar start to the season that has brought two podiums.

Expect the tussle between the two teams to continue across the weekend.

Time for those struggling to find their pace

Round six of the season should be when we start to see the true colours of those that are new to the sport or new to a team.

Of those to have changed team, Daniel Ricciardo has struggled the most scoring just 24 points to team-mate Lando Norris' 56. At Red Bull, Sergio Perez has also endured a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs.

Upon his return to F1, Fernando Alonso has been largely anonymous with no points registered at either of the past two grand prix whereas Sebastian Vettel finally found something in his Aston Martin AMR21 at the Monaco Grand Prix, finishing fifth for his first points of the year.

Carlos Sainz has definitely unlocked pace on his side of the Ferrari garage and backed it up with a podium last time out and will hope to continue his form.

For the rookies, Yuki Tsunoda will be hoping to make a marked improvement on the last few races after a string of disappointing performances and individual errors.

Haas driver Nikita Mazepin will no doubt aim to keep fellow-rookie Mick Schumacher behind after his impressive Monaco weekend.

Chaos on return to Baku?

Whilst Monaco was the first of the circuits to return after the year absence due to Covid, Azerbaijan provides the challenge of picking a suitable downforce level to contend with both the narrow, winding sections and the long, drawn-out straights that are crucial for overtaking.

The three hour-long practice sessions will be crucial for teams to dial in a preferred set-up, but with a high probability of incidents and delays, it is quite possible teams will need to prepare to complete their programmes in considerably less time.

In the race, there is usually plenty of action down the long back straight and with side-by-side racing promoted in the first sector, safety cars are a common occurrence.

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