A “street war” between Verstappen, Leclerc and Peres enters the competition line

Posted in: 09/06/2022 – 10:22Last updated: 09/06/2022 – 10:20

Baku (AFP) – Red Bull’s Mexican Sergio “Checo” Perez has entered the Formula One world title race as he prepares to compete in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, round eight, recalling his victory last year in Baku and in the midst of a new “street war” between his Dutch teammate Max Verstappen and the driver Ferrari Charles Leclerc of Monaco.

Armed with his victory in the streets of the Principality of Monaco on May 29, “Chico” reaches the coast of the Caspian Sea and the ink has barely dried on the paper extending his contract with the Austrian barn for two years.

Peres’ victory in Monaco came after he finished second in three races, which reflected positively on the balance of the best Mexican driver in the world championship, raising his points to 110 in third place, 15 behind the leader Verstappen, the defending champion, and 6 points behind runner-up Leclerc.

Red Bull’s British director Christian Horner confirmed that Pires had entered the drivers’ title race, after the latter won his third victory in his career, saying, “He is in the midst of the championship struggle, just like Max.”

Although Peres, crowned in the Sakhir Prize 2020 and Azerbaijan last year, benefited in the streets of the emirate from the wonderful strategy of his team, in contrast to the complete failure of Ferrari to achieve his third victory, Horner warned in Monaco that it would be difficult to stop the Italian manufacturer, who has the fastest car on the tracks “in upcoming races.

It is difficult to predict who will win.

Baku has a reputation for providing great services for the unexpected, as soon as cars pass Nevcilar Avenue, with the longest straight line on the first-class calendar, at 350 kilometers per hour, before passing through the winding old town surrounded by the ancient city walls of Baku. for the Middle Ages.

The list of winners confirms the difficulty of predicting the identity of “lucky”, as a different driver has won in each edition since German Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) topped the first step in the first edition of the Grand Prix in 2016, on his way to winning his world title for the first time in his career before announcing Suddenly he retired.

Verstappen admitted that Baku is not one of his favorite destinations, recalling the “explosion” of his left rear tire last year, 4 laps from the end while in the lead, as he continued to struggle with this race not to get on the podium.

Although he finished third in Monaco behind Pires and Spain’s Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), the Dutchman seems satisfied with the consolidation of his lead in the championship and further away from his direct pursuit Leclerc, who considered his race at home a “terrible disaster” after starting from first to finish fourth.

The man from Monaco saw the momentum of the title he achieved with his victories in Bahrain and Australia disappear against Red Bull after his results declined in the last four awards, where his best result was his third place in Miami, while he returned with a zero score from Spain after withdrawing on lap 27 due to a malfunction. Hit the drive group (engine).

-Mercedes Dominant-

“Everything was against us…but we will come back stronger,” said Leclerc, in words that clearly reflect what he’s been through.

In turn, his Italian manager Mattia Binotto echoed the same sentiments, saying, “We know very well: being competitive is a fact, and winning is another task and another level of difficulty. I think that as a team we are still progressing and learning, and it may take some time.”

At a time when the Red Bull and Ferrari teams dominated since the beginning of the championship by sharing victories (2 for the Italian fold versus 5 for Red Bull), Mercedes is struggling to extract the best from his “sick” car.

The upgrades the Silver Arrows made to its car in Barcelona last month seemed encouraging, while Austrian team Toto Wolff, under pressure, sought to solve the “rebounds” problem that spoiled the performance.

Mercedes’ unquestioned speed is expected to positively impact seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton, winner of Baku in 2018, and fellow young fellow star George Russell and make them a force to be reckoned with in qualifying.

But it is very difficult for Mercedes to enter the game of speculation about adding another win to the three victories (Rosberg 2016, Hamilton 2018 and Valtteri Bottas 2019) in the five races held in Baku on Sunday so far.

Prior to Pires’ victory last year, the German fold failed to reach the highest threshold on the podium for the first time in 2017, when the victory returned to Australian Daniel Ricciardo in the colors of the Red Bull team also after starting from tenth place.

Ricciardo is struggling to find his best “form” with McLaren this season, as he was only able to collect 11 points compared to 48 for his British teammate Lando Norris.

In Monaco, the Australian’s words converged with his American manager, Zak Brown, that he failed to achieve what was expected of him after his move to McLaren, and said, “No one will be more cruel to myself than me.”

“I know I don’t want to race 10th and 12th,” he added.

“I still think I can be up front and belong in it, so it was a little bit more, of course, like a test sometimes, in terms of trying to get ahead and fit in with this car.”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.