Battle for Bronze: Who is on top after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix?

07-06-2021 15:00
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Battle for Bronze: Who is on top after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix?

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix will undoubtedly go down as one of the races of the season. An action-packed and drama-filled Sunday in Baku was on show to all as major changes in the chase for the Formula 1 2021 World Championships occurred. Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton were battling it out at the front for the majority of the race, but disaster struck when Verstappen crashed out on the final straight of Lap 47. A red-flagging of the race occurred and on the restart, it was disaster again, but this time for Mercedes, as Lewis Hamilton went flying into the run-off zone at the end of the straight. With the two championship leaders being out of contention, the midfield battle has once been intensified because of the results in Baku.

McLaren were able to hold onto their lead over Ferrari at the Monaco Grand Prix through Lando Norris’ podium, yet were not able to extend it and only led by two points after the first street circuit battle of the season. Aston Martin’s strongest weekend of the season came last week with both Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel finding themselves in the top 10, with the German finishing fifth. Pierre Gasly was, once again, AlphaTauri’s saviour as Yuki Tsunoda’s rookie struggles were visible in his Monaco debut. Alpine’s Monaco weekend resulted in only two points for the French team, as Fernando Alonso was unable to extract anything from the car.

As our weekend in Azerbaijan has now ended, which team is leading the way?

Ferrari

After claiming pole position on Saturday, Charles Leclerc and Ferrari finally must’ve thought that their chance to overtake McLaren was on offer. Indeed it was. The Prancing Horse has been hot on the British team’s tail since Spain and now they finally hold bronze in the Constructors’ Championship. Leclerc knew that winning the race from pole would be tough and that it was. The Monegasque driver dropped as low as P8 in the race but managed to claw back up and finished in fourth position. It was an even longer day in the office for Carlos Sainz, as the Spaniard ran into the runoff zone at Turn 8, dropping him all the way down to P14 but he recovered and finished in eighth place. The duo secured 16 points for Ferrari, moving them two points in front of McLaren.

McLaren

McLaren and Norris had to change their strategy once the race got underway in Baku and it worked in their favour. In order to move up the top 10, an undercut attempt to get ahead of Valtteri Bottas was called for and it worked. The young Brit finished the race in fifth position, one place behind Leclerc, however, he did start from ninth on the grid due to a penalty enforced from qualifying. Daniel Ricciardo gained four places in the race and moved from 13th up to ninth, securing a single-point for McLaren. The team will undoubtedly be upset with losing their third place in the Constructors’ to Ferrari but should be able to bounce back in upcoming Grand Prix weekends.

AlphaTauri

Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda were both in the top 10 for the first time since the season-opener in Bahrain and the Frenchman secured himself a podium place. After a fourth-place in qualifying on Saturday, he was in an intense battle at the front of the race throughout all 51 and was rewarded with a third-place finish. The rookie Tsunoda also qualified within the top 10 and was able to move up one place, finishing seventh. The duo secured the Italian team 21 points, which was enough to move them up to fifth overall in the Constructors’ Championship.

Aston Martin

Vettel. Podium. What more can you ask for! After we witnessed Aston Martin’s best race weekend of the season in Monaco, they were at it again in Baku. Vettel climbed up the grid off the race restart and finished behind only Perez, claiming the British team’s maiden podium in F1. However, it wasn’t all glory for the team. Stroll crashed out on lap 31 as his left rear tyre had a failure and sent him flying into the barrier. The Canadian was okay and was escorted straight back to the pits, where he was seen walking and talking to his race engineer. Vettel secured 18 points for the British team but were still overtaken by AlphaTauri in the standings.

Alpine

Alpine struggled in Monaco, with Esteban Ocon scoring only two points and Alonso struggling on the street circuit. This weekend was similar for the French team as only one of their drivers scored points, but it was the opposite to a fortnight ago. The Spaniard finished in sixth-place, scoring eight points for the team but it was a short race for Ocon. The Frenchman retired from the race after four laps as smoke was seen coming out of his car out of Turn 16.

Which team in the midfield has had the best weekend? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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