Azerbaijan F1 GP 2022 Preview: Ferrari and Red Bull come head-to-head in Baku 

The Baku City Circuit will host the Azerbaijan F1 GP 2022 and eighth round of the World Championship this weekend. Once again, the streets of the capital city, on the shores of the Caspian Sea, will frame the battle for the control of the championship. The second-largest track in the calendar never disappoints. 

In this spectacular setting, Red Bull and Ferrari will resume their private battle for control of the standings. After their second consecutive fiasco of the year in Monaco, the Italians must wake up if they want to stand a chance. In the elegant avenues of the Principality, an unforgivable strategic error deprived Charles Leclerc – the strongest on the grid since Friday – of a home victory that was so near.

With this fiasco both ‘La Scuderia’ and its Monegasque star accumulate four rounds without winning (from the Australian GP). After a blazing start to the season, is as if someone had taken the wind out of their sails. Their troubles seem to be largely the fault of old familiar mistakes by the Italian team which we thought to be long gone. 

In the face of this winning drought, they really need to deal an authoritative blow to their rivals this weekend. Second in the drivers’ standings with nine points less than Max Verstappen, Leclerc has vehemently criticized the failings of his team. Besides the difference in points, not to worrying at this relatively early stage of the championship, it is frightening to see how easily they have squandered their considerable advantage of four Sundays ago.

Ferrari’s second in command, at least, seems to be getting hotter behind the wheel. Carlos Sainz is slowly letting go of past mistakes. More confident with his F1-75, he was second in Monaco…at the expense of ignoring team orders. If he hadn’t, however, he would have gifted Red Bull a 1-2. Such were the miscalculations of Ferrari’s strategists in the land of the Grimaldi 

La Scuderia’s position in the constructor’s standings, second and 36 points down from the Austrian team (235vs 199), is even direr. In sum, the Italian team is desperate to turn things around at the Azerbaijan  F1 GP 2022  and that can only mean one thing…winning.  


(Civil) war drums in Red Bull at Azerbaijan F1 GP 2022

Ferrari’s rivals, on the other hand, are ecstatic. The squad from Milton Keans has conquered both favourable and hostile rounds, four in a row ( Emilia-Romagna, MiamiSpain & Monaco). Checo Pérez, for instance, took the gold in Monte Carlo, one of Ferrari’s lucky tracks, escorted by Max Verstappen in third.  

The good relationship between the two partners, however, could soon go awry. Following his second success with the blue team, the racer from Guadalajara is only 15 points behind the Dutchman, leader with 125. 

The Mexican could therefore join his teammate in the fight for the title, opening a civil war in the blue garage. The first cracks in their perfect partnership are in fact, already visible. Jos Verstappen, father of the current champion, criticized Red Bull for not prioritising his son’s interests in Monaco. In response to those words, a Red Bull advisor reminded him that both drivers are free to fight for the crown. 

This weekend, and immersed in this tense conflict, they will come against each other at a track which has given them very different results in the past. The Dutchman has never conquered the podium in Baku and in 2021 he suffered a dramatic accident following a puncture and had to retire for a third time.

Pérez, on the other hand, has reaped some of his greatest successes in the Azerbaijani capital. It was there that he took his first win with Red Bull in 2021 and the two incredible podium finishes with Force India in 2016 and 2018. 

Mercedes: Russell vs Hamilton again

As for Mercedes, George Russell is awaiting any mistake by the favourites to steal what would be his third podium of the season. Meanwhile, his teammate Lewis Hamilton will try and stop his young compatriot from defeating him again.

Images of Azerbaijan F1 GP 2022: Red Bull Racing.

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