Last year’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix was one of the races of the season and hopes are high for a repeat of that action-packed afternoon as Ferrari seek to get back to winning ways in Baku.
The street circuit through the Azerbaijani capital presents a great mix of the old and the new, providing one of the longest straights in F1 history, alongside one of the tightest ‘dog-legs’ of the season through the Old City.
After a dull inaugural Grand Prix, Baku was the backdrop to one of the most dramatic races of 2017 with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo eventually taking the chequered flag after a series of collisions, including Sebastian Vettel intentionally hitting Lewis Hamilton.
Ricciardo heads to Azerbaijan fresh from his latest win in China but it is tough to see the Red Bulls enjoying as productive a weekend at this low-downforce circuit.
As per usual, it is Mercedes’ Hamilton who is favourite for the race, being priced at 21/20 to break his duck for the year after a frustrating first three races of 2018.
The Silver Arrows are tipped to be strong around this circuit and you should expect to see at least one of their drivers on the podium, with Valterri Bottas, who drove well in China, 4/5 to finish in the top three.
Last year, Williams’ Lance Stroll took a surprise third place but, barring any incidents, it is hard to imagine anyone other than Ferrari completing the top three.
The Scuderia were rapid in China and it would appear the F1 scales in the V6 era have finally tipped in their favour after years of Mercedes dominance.
Sebastian Vettel’s chances of confirming Ferrari as top dogs were ruined by a strategy error and a collision but the 33/20 shot can come out on top in Azerbaijan.
Away from Sunday’s race itself, Vettel also looks tempting at 17/10 to secure pole position having blitzed qualifying in China when Mercedes had no answer to Ferrari as they locked out the front row.
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