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Thread: Azerbaijan 2021: Post Qualifying Analysis

  1. #1
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    Azerbaijan 2021: Post Qualifying Analysis

    Four red flags during qualifying. What a mess, but it really shook up the grid which is always exciting.

    Ferrari and Charles Leclerc on pole for the second straight race. Completely unexpected, but very exciting for Formula 1. Getting into the two behind Hamilton was perfect and according to Sainz was worth a good 2 tenths. That tells us the laptime was good regardless. If Practice 2 has any relevance, Ferrari are likely to struggle with tire wear on Sunday so one would have to assume Leclerc will fall back. A podium would be an excellent result.

    Mercedes has not looked strong this weekend. The team decided to make a lot of changes to the car on Saturday, which does bring an element of unknown to the race. However it seems those changes only really applied to Hamilton's car as he got the benefit of the low downforce setup which appears to be worth a massive amount of top end speed. 331 kph vs 322 kph compared to Bottas without a tow. It also appears that Mercedes sacrificed Bottas in Q3 to give Hamilton a tow during his lap, and had no intention of returning the favor. With Hamilton's straight line speed and good tire wear, he could be right in there for the win. Bottas' low top speed and general struggles means a podium might be difficult.

    Red Bull probably had the car to beat but just never got the lap in to prove it. Max Verstappen didn't even try to hide his frustration which was amusing. While I think Verstappen has the car to battle for the win, I don't think he will give an inch to Hamilton and the walls around Baku are very unforgiving. Perez probably has enough speed to challenge for a podium.

    AlphaTauri shows their qualifying strength once again. Give Gasly a raise, that guy has been a stud all year in Qualifying. Hopefully a good race to come from it. Tsunoda on the other hand.... not so much. I think he's earning his place as a bottom 5 driver. His mistake in Q3 wasn't a small one, he completely missed his braking point. He will be one to watch to see if he keeps it out of the wall in the race.

    McLaren's pace probably can't be accurately judged from this qualifying session. Lando did good, a bit surprised he didn't get some form a penalty (at least at the time of this writing). Many drivers have had infractions that were harmless during a red flag but still received a penalty. Ricciardo sure appears to be at a low point, hard to think he will make any moves in the race.

    Alpine might be a car to watch in the race. Their car seems to be quite gentle on tires which means on long runs they may be quick. Usually this means the tires are hard to fire up, which can be difficult if a safety car comes out, which is very likely. Though Alonso had enough pace to get himself into Q3 with Ocon only a couple tenths back.

    Aston Martin definitely appear to have improved since the beginning of the season. Vettel in particular is starting to find his form. Nearly getting into Q3 once again. Starting 11th with tire choice is a great position to be in. Stroll has had success in Baku before, I could see him flying under the radar and getting close to points in the race.

    Alfa Romeo looking strong again. Either they have made some improvements or the car really likes the street circuits.

    Williams doesn't look like the car is getting any better this season. Russell gets into Q2 once again, but he only starts 15th, once place ahead of his teammate, so it really isn't that impressive. Fortunately they will have good engines for the race.

    Haas at the back. Hopefully they can put some pressure on Williams for a fun battle. Both drivers primary goal will be to keep the cars out of the barriers and finish the race. Give a little bit of credit to Mazepin. In the difficult streets of Monaco and Baku, he has kept it clean and his times have been good in comparison to Schumacher's.

    Be sure to set your DVR's for 1 hour extended time as there may be enough red flags to make for an exceedingly long race. Safety cars and strategy could really change the dynamic of the race.

  2. #2
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    Excellent, one note.
    Norris got a 3 places penalty

  3. #3
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    Lando's assessment is spot on!

    Replays will show he had nothing more than a handful of seconds to make that decision. He also did the right thing to consult the team.

    There needs to logic in Implementation.

    Congratulations to SF and CL. Hope this turns out to be a bit of a pick me up, which the teams very much in need of.

  4. #4
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    I agree that Lando probably didn't deserve the penalty. It's been done before though. Harmless infractions and still get a penalty. 3 grid places isn't too bad at least. If it was 2006 he'd be forced to start at the back.

  5. #5
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    Great summary mate.

    Can't see how there isn't a safety car/red flag today to be honest. With the likes of Mazepin and Tsunoda. So many drivers lost it in to turn 15 and with a car full of fuel and tyres which seem difficult to switch on, should be interesting viewing!

    I hope Charles can stay ahead but will be a tough ask..would like Max to do Lewis off the line and that Mercedes struggles with tyre warmup so I think there's a good chance of that.

  6. #6
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    If they turn as they start in the first corner, I can't see how MY can stay ahead of MV at the end of lap 1.
    I would be massively surprised.

  7. #7
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    Binotto says pole is no big deal! It's only 2021 ! I'm sure our drivers are encouraged to here the pole was nothing big. The flags were there for all the teams to benefit !
    Last edited by Brembo; 13th June 2021 at 23:06.

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