2022 Azerbaijan Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: With just about a third of the season over, a huge chunk of the field is already staring down the barrel of powerplant allocation grid penalties.
EVENT: Does anyone really go to this race? The grandstands, except for one, are small. They don't seem filled. Very few people are milling about. And we used to complain about Bahrain and Abu Dhabi attendance.
TRACK: There is nothing like F1 cars flying by a castle where the castle wall is also the track wall.
QUALIFYING: Leclerc takes advantage of Sainz's mistake on the flyer, Perez continues to be faster than Verstappen, Russell continues to be faster than Hamilton, Gasly and Tsunoda shine, and Stroll makes a lobotomized mess of it all.
RACE: Oddly, we did not get the "Baku Chaos" (that should be trademarked). And with Ferrari disappearing, we didn't get an interesting strategy fight. Instead we got a typical France or Austria type race with some nice midfield fights sprinkled in.
START: Perez rockets off the grid, Leclerc locks it up, and it's all quite boring behind.
VERSTAPPEN: Well, that "slump" only lasted a race. Max took back team control and expanded his championship lead.
PEREZ: Briefly, it appeared Sergio would pull off two in a row and really create waves. Instead, he fell 20 seconds behind.
RED BULL: From their own reliability problems to riding high.
FERRARI: If it's not one thing, it's something else. And not just with their team.
RUSSELL: How many times can we come up with a unique comment about finishing in the top five and beating Hamilton?
HAMILTON: But, Lewis did have a great race ... and then a painful back.
MERCEDES: BAM! BAM! BAM!
GASLY: Now, that's the Pierre and AlphaTauri we expected this year.
TSUNODA: Yuki has really overcome his immaturity from his rookie year. Now, he needs to overcome some bad car luck.
ALPHATAURI: Duct tape fixes everything.
RICCIARDO: A huge turnaround this race, as Daniel ran fast, smart, and aggressive. Hopefully, this is the beginning of the end of his job being in jeopardy talk.
NORRIS: Not too happy about those team orders.
SCHUMACHER: Well, Mick didn't crash. All weekend. There is that.
ZHOU: Continues to shine. Just needs a reliable car to show for it.
LATIFI: Looks like this will be Nicholas' last year...
PIASTRI: ...as Oscar is set to take over that Williams ride.
FIA: You need to put your foot down and not allow F1 to schedule a race the same weekend as Le Mans. Especially, when the race is on during the 24 Hours. Stop it. Just stop it.
F2: Calan Williams led the feature race late and then went straight down an escape road. Juri Vips led next and then smacked the wall. Norwegian Dennis Hauger gladly took the win. Dane Frederik Vesti won the sprint race.
LE MANS: Toyota won their fifth in a row in an expected boring affair at la Sarthe. However, the manufacturers start returning next year, and by 2024, we'll be back to a new heyday in sportscar endurance racing.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Reliability.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 6 -- The number of different drivers in the number of years F1 raced at Baku (the first year it was the European GP): Nico Rosberg, Daniel Riccardo, Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Sergio Perez, and Max Verstappen. But, they were split evenly between two teams -- Mercedes and Red Bull.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Fernando Alonso has now been driving in F1 for the longest span (not consecutively) of time -- 21 years, three months, eight days. He made his F1 debut driving for Minardi at the 2001 Australian GP, qualifying 19th, and finishing 12th. Michael Schumacher won the race for Ferrari. Max's father, Jos, finished 10th after a 25-second penalty for passing under the yellow flag in an Arrows.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: The WTF1 tweet which gave this comical stat: Verstappen has now won more races from Leclerc poles than Leclerc has won from Leclerc poles.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Max Verstappen thoroughly enjoying himself after taking the checkered flag, "Was that a good race or was that a good race? You tell me!"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Zhou displaying his frustration with his car's reliability, "Are you kidding me? Again?"
SCHEDULE: Off to Montreal, another fast, bumpy street circuit where porpoising will reign.
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