Max Verstappen, the new F1 Championship leader revealed that he expects Mercedes to be more competitive at the Azerbaijan GP. This is the first time since the German GP in 2018 where Mercedes are not on top of the F1 Constructor’s Championship. Mercedes endured a torrid time on the streets of Monaco with Lewis Hamilton finishing seventh while Valtteri Bottas did not complete the race.
Although the margin is very small, this is the first time that he has led the standings in his five year career. Verstappen leads Hamilton by 4 points while Red Bull lead Mercedes by a solitary point. Baku is another street circuit with much faster straights.
“The track is ok but probably not a favourite of mine if I’m honest,” said Max Verstappen ahead of the Azerbaijan GP. “I’ve never been on the podium there so it’s time to change that. Let’s see how competitive we are, I do expect Mercedes to come back strong there though.”
“It has been a strong track for Mercedes in the past and so we’re not under any illusions.” Red Bull chief Christian Horner said. “I’m sure they are going to bounce back hard and we have got to go there and attack the weekend exactly as we have every race so far this season.”
The controversy over flexible rear wings could be a big talking point off the track. Mercedes and McLaren have both criticised the test time-frame keeping in mind the importantce of straight line speed.
“If the limbo wings are on in Baku with the advantage that we see it’s going to go to the stewards, and if the stewards are not enough then it’s going to go to the ICA [International Court of Appeal],” Wolff said. “So I guess the FIA is going to clarify things before Baku because if not it could be very messy.”