Hamilton roars up on Rosberg’s lead
Only nine points stand between Lewis Hamilton and the championship lead, a lead that some – namely Nico Rosberg – fear will signal the end of the title race once Hamilton gets his nose in front.
At the start of this season, it was all about Rosberg and his incredible run of form. The German secured the first four race victories to romp to a 43-point lead over Hamilton. It was, according to the history books, a feat that should have seen Rosberg running away with the championship to win his first world title.
But what the history books did not take into account was Hamilton.
Since Mercedes’ point-less Spanish Grand Prix in May, it has been all Hamilton. He arrives in Azerbaijan for the European Grand Prix chasing his third win in succession.
The 6km anticlockwise street circuit, which runs through the capital of Baku, has all the characteristics that suit the British racer. It is a layout that drivers have to attack while being careful to stay away from the Tepco barriers. A lack of run-off area means mistakes will be costly.
Ferrari will be hoping Mercedes’ intra-team battle will force the team-mates into mistakes, if risks are needed to take the finest line or a make a daring pass.
The Scuderia will also benefit from their upgraded turbo down the 2.2km straight – the longest on the F1 calendar. Sebastian Vettel is looking to assert his claim on best of the rest, while Kimi Räikkönen’s career is on the line. With F1’s silly season in high gear, the Finn must put in a strong showing today if he wants to prove to Ferrari he deserves another extension.
Ferrari will face a tough challenge from Red Bull Racing. The track should play to the strengths of the RB12 and its Renault power unit. And with Daniel Ricciardo still seeking his first win of the campaign – and his team determined to justify his faith in them – expect an all-out attack from the Milton Keynes squad.
Street circuits have not been kind to Williams in recent years. They have struggled with slow corners, so expect them to be locked in a battle with the likes of McLaren, Toro Rosso and Force India.
Newcomer Haas will be keen to return to the points. Sauber and Manor, both without a point to their name, could benefit from chaos and close encounters with the barriers further up the order. 5
11 Kimi RDikkönen MAx VerstAppen VAltteri BottAs Felipe MAssA Sergio Perez DAniil KvyAt
FerrAri Re4 Byll-TAg Heyer WilliAms-Merce4es Force In4iA-Merce4es Toro Rosso-FerrAri McLAren-Hon4A HAAs-FerrAri RenAylt SAyEer-FerrAri MAnor-Merce4es FIN NED FIN BRA MEX RUS RB WL WL FI TR MC FR RB WL FI TR ML HA RN SB MN
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