A short time ago, it looked like dominant F1 races and Mercedes were a thing of the past. However, the team’s 1-2 finish in Baku was its 4th consecutive win in the 2019 season. Ferrari was quite confident when they entered the weekend. However, things started to unravel during qualifying. Due to the unpredictable nature of the circuit and the quick racing trim, we uncovered why everything unfolded as it did.
Racing Against Bottas
This wasn’t a classic F1 race. At first, Lewis Hamilton looked like he got a phenomenal start that would place him in the lead. However, Bottas held pole position after Turn 1 and also kept Hamilton behind him during Turn 2. A horrible start cost the driver in China, and he refused to let history repeat itself.
The start of the race was mostly the critical moment for Bottas as Hamilton would get this close again for the entire Baku race. Mercedes was also never under real pressure from Ferrari in the race other than the activity that occurred during the pit-stop window. Even though the challenge from Ferrari faded, Bottas was required to keep his composure because Hamilton kept pushing until the end of the race.
Although most spectators are still sceptical about Bottas 2.0, we believe he was fantastic in Baku and Australia. However, on both occasions, Hamilton seemed to settle for the second position once he lost the first fight. One factor that shouldn’t bring any doubt to spectators is that Bottas has the innate talent to create a genuinely exceptional battle for the title. Every pole position will give Bottas a boost in confidence. This is something that was genuinely lacking during the 2018 season.
Where Exactly Was Ferrari?
Ferrari didn’t have the pace when it mattered most. It’s unusual as this weekend looked like Ferrari’s weekend until Charles Leclerc managed to misjudge his breaking point when he attempted to take Turn 8 during Saturday’s qualifying. That incident managed to shit the momentum and assisted Mercedes to take the first and second position on the grid which allowed them to dominate the race on Sunday.
For a moment, it looked like Leclerc might have raced worth mentioning as he started on medium tyres as opposed to soft tyres that all drivers at the front opted in for. If the safety car was deployed when Bottas was still over 9 second behind, Leclerc might have had a free pit-stop that would have allowed him to take the lead with a brand-new set of hard compound tyres to make it until the end. However, while each lap passed without the safety car, it assisted Bottas to get closer to the long first stint of Leclerc which eventually allowed him to retake the lead.