F1 2019: 5 early predictions for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

F1 Grand Prix of China
F1 Grand Prix of China
Modified 23 Apr 2019

The 1000th Formula One Race has come and gone. And while it wasn't a classic race, it has made the Championship battle all the more interesting as Lewis Hamilton takes the lead in the title race, with Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel close behind.

Luckily, the 1001st race in F1 history will be held in none other than Baku, Azerbaijan. Yes, the first race in 2016 wasn't a memorable one, but the last two years have seen unbelievable races featuring crashes and overtakes gone right and wrong to leave us with unexpected winners.

At this point last year, Ferrari were seemingly running away with the title and Mercedes hadn't even won a race yet. But Hamilton took advantage of Bottas's misfortune and a divebomb gone wrong from Vettel to take his first win of 2018 and get going on the road to his fifth World Title.

Will Vettel or Leclerc do the same for Ferrari and turn their fortunes around after Mercedes notched up three consecutive 1-2 finishes for the first time for any team since 1988? No matter what happens, we'll all be looking for an exciting race. But can that happen with every team looking to not repeat their mistakes from years past?

Surely we won't get two Red Bulls crash into each other again? We won't see Hulkenberg bin it in the wall one more? Will anybody have a phantom crash and blame it on Marcus Ericsson?

Who knows, but like always we won't stop guessing. Here are five early predictions for the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

#5 Verstappen gets his first pole

F1 Grand Prix of China
F1 Grand Prix of China

Max Verstappen has notched up five wins in his career so far, but he doesn't yet have any pole position.

Red Bull's car hasn't really had the ability to grab pole on many circuits, as it is aerodynamically proficient, but lacks in engine power. As we head to Baku, a very strange and unique circuit, I predict that the Austrian outfit will find some pace and that of all cars, theirs will be the most well suited to the streets of Baku - even more so than Ferrari and Mercedes, who have both been fluctuating in and out of success at every track.

Verstappen has been very quick before, but has never managed to put it all together for a pole lap. We see the Dutchman managing to do so this Saturday, leaving Ferrari and Mercedes scratching their heads as to how the Honda powered car jumped them, and making for a very interesting start to the race on Sunday.

Why Verstappen over Gasly? Well, the Frenchman hasn't really had the easiest time getting an understanding of his car. In both qualifying and in the race, he has been lacking in pace compared to his teammate.

Maybe if the car is good enough, he can snag P2 or P3, but we see the Red Bulls being split by all of the Silver and Red, with Max at the helm.

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Published 23 Apr 2019
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