Last time out it was Perez who emerged as victorious in Baku, having driven a superb race prior to race leader Verstappen’s freak crash with just over two laps to go, due to a freak tyre failure that flung the Dutchman’s Red Bull car into the wall at incredibly high speeds along the start/finish straight. Perez had overcut Hamilton in the pit stops and kept the seven-time World Champion behind him for several laps in Baku, utilising the middle sector of the track to his advantage.
Following Verstappen’s crash, a red flag was brought out with every driver allowed to replace the hard tyres for softs for safety reasons at the restart. Hamilton actually managed to overtake Perez off the line, however, the Brit accidentally flicked a switch on his breaks which completely flipped the balance of his brake bias, meaning that he was unable to stop at the corner, gifting Perez the win, whilst Sebastien Vettel earned second place after an incredible drive for Aston Martin and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly completed what is a very popular podium amongst the F1 paddock.
This time around, we firmly expect to see Hamilton mount a strong comeback as stated above, due to his previous experiences at this track which has seen him won on both occasions that F1 has visited, as well as the pace that we saw when the Mercedes strolled to victory at Portimao earlier on in the season, whilst it is also expected that Verstappen could be a thorn in the German constructor’s side due to his blistering pace, whilst Perez also showed significant improvements last time out despite starting the race in Baku in seventh place.
At present there is just four points separating Verstappen and Hamilton in the standings, so the Brit will be desperate to get ahead of the Dutch driver before the sport does back-to-back weekends at the Red Bull Ring, where the home team have been particularly strong at in recent years.
Prediction: 1. Hamilton. 2. Verstappen. 3. Bottas. 4. Perez