The F1 season ships out to Baku for this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which has proved to be a thrilling street circuit in recent years.
Red Bull comes in on a four-race winning streak and remains at the top of the 2022 Constructor Standings (team standings) with Ferrari now in second, trailing by 36 points. Mercedes remains a fair bit behind in third, trailing Red Bull by 101 points.
Despite Red Bull’s Sergio Perez winning the last race in Monaco, his teammate Max Verstappen stands in first place in the Drivers Standings. Monaco was the first race that the reigning champion finished but didn’t win; yet, he still holds a nine-point lead over second-place Charles Leclerc of Ferrari.
The rest of the top five is Sergio Perez, Mercedes’ George Russell, and Leclerc’s Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz.
Seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton continues to sit in 6th in the Drivers Standings but is now just two points ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris.
Ferrari will come into the Azerbaijan Grand Prix looking to prove a point after it’s taken a lot of criticism for the way it handled the race in Monaco, potentially costing Leclerc the race due to pitting strategies, or lack thereof.
The track at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix will also be a stark change from Monaco. While both are street circuits, the course at Baku also has a few rapid straightaways and two DRS zones that often add to the race’s excitement.
In fact, it will be tough to top the drama of last year’s race when Verstappen, who seemed assured of a victory, had a tire blowout only two laps from the finish. The red flag restart saw Lewis Hamilton push into first before he experienced brake issues that allowed Sergio Perez to claim a victory.
In addition to the excitement of the straightaways, the Baku circuit also brings the narrow Turn 9 in the old city center, which has become famous in its own right.
Since the course balances the need for high-speed straight performance with the grip required for tight turns, it makes for a unique strategic race when it comes to tires and over-taking strategies. The softest Pirelli tires are available for the weekend, with a focus on traction and braking.
It still seems like the 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix will come down to Red Bull or Ferrari, as it has most of the season. Mercedes has been trending up of late. While Monaco wasn’t a tremendous finish, Lewis Hamilton showed good pace in the Spanish Grand Prix, and it appears that the team addressed the car’s issue with porpoising, which could help the team push for a podium, but I’m not sure they truly have the top-end speed right now to make a win all that realistic.
Lando Norris has been driving well for McLaren, but the team does not appear happy with Daniel Ricciardo’s performance this season (or last) and Haas has also become frustrated with the repeated crashes of young driver Mick Schumacher.
With those two teams in a bit of disarray and Aston Martin registering as just the 9th-fastest car on the grid at Monaco, there seems to be quite a gap from the top that could prevent us from seeing any real dark horse performances at the 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Although, that doesn’t mean the race won’t be exciting as any of the top four from Ferrari and Red Bull could have a real shot to take this win home.
Azerbaijan Grand Prix TV, how to watch
- Date: Friday, June 10th
- Time: 7:00 a.m. ET and 10:00 a.m. ET for practice 2
- TV: ESPN2
- Date: Saturday, June 11th
- Time: 10:00 a.m. ET
- TV: ESPN2
- Date: Sunday, June 12th
- Time: 7:00 a.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
For more F1 Coverage, visit amNY Sports
2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Odds
|Driver||Odds to win||Odds to finish Top 6||Odds to Finish Top 10|
Odds for Azerbaijan Grand Prix courtesy of DraftKings. For more, click here.
Azerbaijan Grand Prix Top Picks
Max Verstappen to win (+110)
I know Verstappen finished 3rd last race, but, as many have pointed out, that actually shows a newfound maturity for the reigning champ. With his teammate in a good position to win, and Verstappen ahead of Leclerc, there was no reason to push for a dangerous overtake. As a result, I wouldn’t read too much into Verstappen’s finish. He remains one of the best technical drivers on the circuit in arguably the best car on the circuit. He has the pace to push Ferrari on the straightaways, and I trust him to make the bold passes on the corners if need be.
Sergio Perez to finish on the podium (-140)
We can stick with another Red Bull pick here. Sergio Perez is in great form and will likely be riding high after signing a new contract. As we mentioned at the start, I really feel like it’s between four cars to make the podium and Vegas agrees as Carlos Sainz has the 4th-best odds here at +115 and then it jumps to +300 for George Russell. If you really wanted to believe in Mercedes’ bounceback, you could bet +380 for Lewis Hamilton to finish on the podium but that won’t be for me.
Fernando Alonso to finish top 10 (-200)
The Alpine cars have been performing well and should continue to do so at the Baku circuit because they’ve shown so giddy-up in the straightaways. Esteban Ocon is higher in the drivers’ standings than Alonso, but Alonso has the pace and skill to crack the top ten here. If we remember that Baku has been a hectic circuit in the past then I like experienced drivers like Alonso to make the most of the opportunities that could be presented.
Azerbaijan Grand Prix Darkhorse Pick
Sebastian Vettel Finishes top 10 (+125)
If we’re expecting that there might be some sort of chaos this weekend, as there has been historically, then that could give an experienced driver like Vettel. It’s also important to note that Aston Martin made upgrades to the car ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, where Vettel finished in 11th-place. He then finished in 10th in Monaco. With the improved performance of the car, and Vettel’s handling of it, I think a bet on him to crack the points isn’t such a long shot.
Yuki Tsnuoda Finishes top 10 (+185)
A longer shot is definitely Tsunoda to finish inside the points. However, we know how this car can handle and Tsunoda finished 10th in the Spanish Grand Prix. I’m not sure the set up of the Monaco circuit really favored the aggressive and inexperienced driver, but we know he wants to push the pace, which could serve him well on these long straightaways in Baku.