F1 heads to Baku in Azerbaijan for the latest round of the 2022 season.
Although the circuit has only been on the calendar since 2016, it has quickly established itself as a favourite with both drivers and spectators. The track winds its way through the narrow and twisty streets of Baku, but it also has a long high-speed straight which runs along the city’s coastline. So, the teams need to choose a setup which works across the whole circuit.
Championship leader Max Verstappen heads into the race with a nine-point lead over closest challenger, Charles Leclerc. Verstappen will be hoping to build on his lead with a strong result at Baku.
Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez comes into the race off the back of his first win of the season at Monaco last time out. He has also been rewarded with an extended contract from Red Bull, showing the faith the team have in the Mexican. Perez is only 15 points off the championship lead and will want to build on his current run of good form.
Leclerc will be looking to get his championship challenge back on track after a difficult result last time out in Monte Carlo. The Ferrari driver has displayed his pace throughout the season and has started from pole for five races, including each of the last three. However, he has only been able to convert two of these poles into a race win. Leclerc and Ferrari will hope for better luck in Azerbaijan this weekend.
Meanwhile, Mercedes will be hoping to continue their mini-revival and narrow the gap to the two teams at the front. After a difficult start to the season which saw them hampered by ride quality problems for their new car, the Silver Arrows started to show signs of improvement at the Spanish Grand Prix. The streets of Monaco proved to be another difficult race for the team and with Baku combining characteristics from these last two races, it will be interesting to see whether Mercedes will be challenging at the front once more.