Conclusions | Hamilton vulnerable under pressure and Red Bull finally bites

07-06-2021 10:24
F1 News
Conclusions | Hamilton vulnerable under pressure and Red Bull finally bites

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix was another spectacle with overtaking, crashes, a red flag and of course the Safety Car. Sergio Perez eventually won the race, but aside from his breakthrough at Red Bull Racing, here are the five conclusions after the race in Baku.

RB16B the best on the street

After the Monaco and Azerbaijan Grands Prix, it is clear that the Red Bull Racing RB16B is the strongest car on the streets. In Monaco, Red Bull had to beat Ferrari in qualifying, but in the race in Monaco and Baku, nobody could match the pace of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. Another street race in Singapore was cancelled this weekend, leaving only the race in Saudi Arabia as a real street race.

Hamilton proves to be really vulnerable under pressure

Lewis Hamilton seemed as reliable as a tank in recent years. The Brit rarely, if ever, made mistakes, but was also not really under pressure from Valtteri Bottas. In 2017 and 2018, Sebastian Vettel gave it a go, but he couldn't shake Hamilton like Nico Rosberg did in 2016. That will be different in 2021, though.

After a big mistake in Imola and a bad weekend in Monaco, Hamilton made another huge mistake this weekend. He accidentally touched the button that changed his brake balance and shot straight on at the restart. Mistakes which used to be rare, we now see much more often with this seven times world champion. Pressure seems to be doing something to him as well.

Pirelli can't deliver reliable tyres

Since Pirelli returned to Formula 1 in 2011, the tyre supplier has been criticised more than once. The tyres are said to wear out too quickly when driving behind another car, making overtaking difficult, but that is not the worst of it. Pirelli tyres are unreliable.

Wear can be measured by the teams and often felt by the drivers. If there is vibration it is time to slow down or change the tyres. However, with Pirelli tyres, things can go wrong, and that can cause life-threatening situations. The crashes of Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen on the straight could have ended very differently at that speed.

It's not the first time Pirelli tyres have given up the ghost. During several editions of the British Grand Prix, drivers suffered a blowout out of nowhere, and also on other circuits with high wear, things went wrong. Pirelli has extended their contract with F1, however, as Verstappen pointed out after the race, they will probably blame track debris for the problem.

Vettel thrives when given confidence

Sebastian Vettel fell all the way back in recent years at Ferrari after the team started to focus more on Charles Leclerc. Vettel struggles under pressure and that pressure became too much for him at Ferrari. We didn't see the old Vettel of his time at Red Bull Racing, where he won four world titles.

After a difficult start, he has found his rhythm and takes the lead at Aston Martin. After a great performance in Monaco, a podium followed in Azerbaijan. The German is perfectly at home at Aston Martin. He's the clear frontrunner, without feeling the huge pressure to be champion.

Red Bull Racing finally has a strong second driver

After two years of struggling with Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon, Red Bull Racing has finally made its move. Sergio Perez showed he has the speed in Imola qualifying and in the races in Bahrain and Monaco he showed pace in the race. This weekend he tied it all together, showing his value to Red Bull.

Finally, it wasn't just Verstappen battling Lewis Hamilton, Perez also managed to hold off the Brit. A crucial role, because after Verstappen dropped out, Perez ensured victory, while Hamilton and Bottas both failed to score points. Now Red Bull can really fight for the world title.

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