Verstappen’s 5th win, Ferrari’s sweeping season – 3 key talking points from Baku

  • Red Bull Racing have taken command of the 2022 Formula 1 Championship with a dominant win in Baku.
  • Championship rivals Ferrari are scratching their heads after both drivers retired twice.
  • Despite excessive ups and downs of the cars, Mercedes-AMG was the second best team in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

It was a day of joy and sorrow at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2022 as both Red Bull Racing and Ferrari had something to report. The Austrian team achieved maximum points after Max Verstappen led a dominant 1-2 finish, while for Ferrari… well, the Italian team walked away with zero points.

Here are three key takeaways from racing through the streets of Baku.

Verstappen on course for the 2022 championship

Max Verstappen hasn’t had the easiest weekend in Baku. From first practice through qualifying, he was trailing Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez and struggling to maximize his car’s performance potential. In the race, however, Verstappen squeezed every ounce of power out of his RB18 to 1) overtake Perez at the front of the race before 2) holding onto the win.

At one point, Verstappen’s pace was so strong that the team asked him to slow it down. Despite being committed, he extended his lead over Perez to eventually win by more than 20 seconds.

READ: WINDING | Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2022 – Max Verstappen becomes Baku’s sixth winner as Ferrari bomber

“Today we had incredible pace in the car,” said an enthusiastic Verstappen after the race. “Overall very happy with the balance of the car. Going 1-2 as a team – a really good day for us.”

Verstappen has won five of the season’s eight races so far and appears to be in the best position to win the 2022 F1 Drivers’ Championship. He drives more confidently than ever before and is more calculated in his risks and overtaking manoeuvres.

Reliability makes Ferrari’s season go up in smoke

“It hurts. We really need to look at this so it doesn’t happen again. I really can’t find the right words to describe it [it]. It’s very disappointing.”

Such were the words of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc after he retired from the race in what appeared to be a powerplant-related issue. Leclerc’s problem wasn’t the only one robbing Ferrari of some joy. Laps earlier, teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. retired with a hydraulic problem. Later, Kevin Magnussen’s Haas also suffered from engine problems, as did Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo.

READ: Heartache for Ferrari as Verstappen wins Azerbaijan GP, ​​leading a dominant Red Bull 1-2

Although Leclerc’s departure was the most spectacular of the four, it would not have given team boss Mattia Binotto any comforting thoughts.

Leclerc and Ferrari lost to Verstappen and Red Bull in the championship. Any attempt to catch up would require a monumental effort if they are to have any say in this year’s title result.

The physical strain

The Mercedes-AMG team is struggling to make the most of a challenging season and things seem to be getting worse for the German team. But there was hope in Baku as both drivers managed to finish inside the top five, with George Russell coming home in third place and Lewis Hamilton fourth. Nevertheless, the biggest challenge for the car this year was particularly evident in Baku.

Russell has managed to squeeze every ounce of performance out of his car so far in 2022, and Hamilton, his highly rated teammate, has had to battle for position in a car that seems to be having a little too much porpoise (hopping) fun . The porpoise was so bad in Baku that Hamilton complained of back pain during the race, to which team boss Toto Wolff replied at the end: “It’s a bit of a **** box to drive. And sorry for the back problems.”

Every F1 team is suffering from porpoises this year, some more than others, but Mercedes-AMG has been particularly hard hit by the problem. The 2.2km Baku main straight exacerbated the problem, leaving Hamilton harassed throughout the race.

But despite the problems, the team managed to go through the remainder with a strong result. The Mercedes star said after the race: “I just pressed and bit my teeth because of the pain and the adrenaline [helped]. I can’t express the pain you’re feeling, especially on the straight here.

“At the end [of the straight], you’re just praying for it to end But we were still in such a good position, third and fourth, a great result for the team. The team did a great job with the strategy.”

Verstappen’s 5th win, Ferrari’s sweeping season – 3 key talking points from Baku

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