Ferrari begins to smell singe. Like every year since the Formula 1 World Championship started rolling in the 1940s, the team She showed up on time for the appointment and did so with her batteries charged, hoping for the change in the regulations that always opens the door for surprises to sneak in. And the biggest surprise was the red racing cars, at least during the pre-season rehearsals and the first stops on the calendar. However, the advance of the calendar seems to indicate that all that strength was basically a mirage, an impression supported by statistics. The bloodiest case is that of Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque is surely in the sweetest moment of his career as a driver and his devilish speed is reflected in the numbers: the boy accumulates six pole position of eight possible, the last four chained consecutively. What happens is that his car has stopped accompanying him and that could cost the Italian team the possibility of fighting for the World Cup until the end of the course, something that he has not achieved for ten years (2012).
In Baku, Leclerc made magic again on Saturday afternoon with a fantasy lap that was absolutely useless, after the engine of his car was completely fried before reaching the halfway point of the test (lap 20 of 51 ), and when he had everything in his face to take his third victory of this 2022. As happened three weeks ago in Montmeló, the boy had to retire as a result of a breakdown when he was driving at the front of the peloton, which still adds a point more cruelty to the thing. As if that weren’t sad enough, the Maranello-based manufacturer is slipping through his fingers to win another title, something he hasn’t achieved since 2007 with Kimi Raikkonen.
Misfortunes never come together and that is also applicable to Formula 1, so the disappointment that the ‘Il Cavallino’ troop took in Azerbaijan was double because neither of their two F1-75s was able to cross the finish line: Carlos Sainz’s car suffered a problem in its hydraulic system that directly affected the brakes and led him to walk back to the workshop at the first change (ninth lap). In the last three races, Leclerc has gone from leading the championship with a 19-point advantage over Max Verstappen, his closest rival, to third place overall, 34 points behind the current champion and 13 behind the second, who after this weekend is Checo Pérez. The Dutch and the Mexican deserve to be considered the most powerful couple on the grid. If we add to that the latest failures of those who should fight them, a lot has to change the panorama so that the brand of the red buffalo does not revalidate the title held in that apocalyptic last grand prix of last year, in Abu Dhabi.
With the two Ferraris out of action, Red Bull took a walk through Baku and its castle area; a circuit embraced by walls and full of traps when one has to ride to the limit, something that was not necessary this time for the team from Milton Keynes (Great Britain). On this occasion, it was not even necessary for the strategists of the energetic formation to mediate to reverse the order of its two riders, since the tires of the prototype of the driver from Jalisco fell apart before the first visit to the garages, and that facilitated that Mad Max overtook his partner without even flinching. “Don’t fight”, they limited themselves to warning Pérez, at the moment in which his neighbor jumped on him (lap 15). This is the fifth victory for the boy from Hasselt of the eight that have been put at stake, and the third double for Red Bull, the most competitive team at the moment. George Russell found the lane that allowed him to get back on the podium, while Fernando Alonso finished seventh.
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