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Mercedes dominance to continue? Get Azerbaijan Grand Prix tips

Leigh Copson 23 Apr 2019

Mercedes in action (credit: HOCH ZWEI/DPA/PA Images)

Azerbaijan Grand Prix predictions for the race on Sunday, April 28. The 2019 Formula 1 season continues with the fourth race taking place in Azerbaijan – but who will be victorious? Read on for our all of our free predictions and betting tips.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019 Predictions

* Odds correct at 08:40 BST on 23/04/2019

Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019 Betting Tips Explained

Expectations were high for Ferrari heading into the new season, thanks to a stellar performance in testing, but they have so far failed to transfer that over to competitive action and already Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc have lost ground in the title race. Mercedes, meanwhile, have come storming out of the blocks with three straight one-two finishes, and after seeing team-mate Valtteri Bottas take the opener, defending world champion Lewis Hamilton has notched back-to-back race wins to go six points clear at the top of the standings.

So even though Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix is only the fourth race of the season, the pressure is mounting on Ferrari to finally get things right. Can they do that in Baku?

The Baku street circuit suits their car very well, perhaps better than it does Mercedes, but it cannot go unnoticed that the Scuderia have had headaches trying to get the car to perform at top level for a full race. Reports in Australia claimed Vettel and Leclerc were hampered by cooling issues that affected the performance of the engine, while another engine issue in Bahrain robbed Charles Leclerc of what would have been his first ever Formula 1 race win.

As Ferrari have faltered, Mercedes have stepped up their game to take full advantage, but they now head to circuit that has brought mixed fortunes since it was introduced to the schedule three years ago. Hamilton had a couple of fifth-place finishes at this track in 2016 and 2017 before finally coming out on top in 2018, but he admits that his win here was aided by a big slice of ‘good fortune’.

“It’s a great track and one that I have struggled at a little bit,” Hamilton conceded. “I go with a mindset that I have to improve on my previous performances. I was fortunate to win last year but I was not quick enough through the weekend and I expect Valtteri to be quick and the Ferraris to be particularly quick.”

Hamilton has not been quiet about Ferrari’s potential since pre-season – he has been telling anyone and everyone who will listen. But does the defending world champion really believe the Scuderia are a massive threat to his reign as F1 king or is he playing mind games in an attempt to pile the pressure on his rivals? After all, when the pressure built on Vettel last season he wilted and produced several major mistakes that destroyed his title challenge.

It is hard to tell, but right now Mercedes are the hot hand and it would be wrong to bet against them. It is just a case of successfully picking who out of Hamilton and Bottas will be victorious. Bottas was unable to follow up his season-opening win in Melbourne with victories in either of his last two races, but he has shown plenty of promise and is now heading back to a track he has shown he can perform on. Only a late tyre puncture 12 months ago could prevent him from being victorious in Baku, but I believe he can exorcise that demon with a win on Sunday.

My second selection is to back Charles Leclerc to miss out on the top three. The Ferrari newcomer has made an encouraging start to life with the team, but I expect both Mercedes drivers to be standing on the podium after Sunday’s race and that means only Ferrari driver will be able to join them. The Scuderia have already played the ‘team orders’ game this season to benefit Vettel and we could see more of the same here as the Italians try to prevent their number one driver from falling too far behind in the title race.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019 Predictions

* Odds correct at 08:40 BST on 23/04/2019

Azerbaijan Grand Prix Circuit

The Baku City Circuit is a relative newcomer to the Formula 1 calendar having made its debut as the host of the European Grand Prix in 2016. The race was rebranded as the Azerbaijan Grand Prix ahead of the 2017 season and the street circuit was confirmed as the host venue going forward.

 At 3.730 miles in length, the Baku City Circuit is the second longest track on the Formula 1 calendar behind Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) and it was also designed to be the fastest street circuit in motorsports with a top speed of just over 223 miles per hour. It has received some criticism from drivers in the past, due to a lack of run-off areas, but it has received praised because it remains one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar.

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix made its debut in 2017 and Daniel Ricciardo became it's inaugural winner, with Lewis Hamilton taking the honours 12 months later. In 2017 Sebastian Vettel eclipsed the fastest lap record that had been previously been set by Nico Rosberg when this track hosted the European Grand Prix.

Location:  Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan
Number of Laps: 51
Lap Length: 3.730 miles
Lap Record: Sebastian Vettel, 1 minute 43.441 seconds (2017)

Azerbaijan Grand Prix Previous Winners

Daniel Ricciardo celebrates becoming the first ever Azerbaijan Grand Prix winner in 2017. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Azerbaijan Grand Prix Winners

2017Daniel RicciardoRed Bull
2018Lewis HamiltonMercedes

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