Venue: Baku City Circuit
Sergio Perez sprang a surprise when successful in Monaco but it would not be a major upset to see him follow up in our Azerbaijan Grand Prix predictions.
The Mexican previously had to be restrained from challenging Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen for top honours in Barcelona and is clearly full of confidence right now.
The 32-year-old, who joined Red Bull from Racing Point at the end of 2020, is currently third in the drivers’ championship standings after finishing fourth last season.
He said: “For me, this has been an incredible week. Winning the Monaco Grand Prix is a dream for any driver and then to follow that with announcing I will continue with the team until 2024, just makes me extremely happy.
“I am so proud to be a member of this team and I feel completely at home here now.
“We have built tremendous momentum as a team and this season is showing that. I am excited to see where that can take us all in the future.”
Title holder and 2022 table topper Verstappen is obviously still number one with the Milton Keynes outfit and that is reflected in his price of 2.5 for Baku glory.
However, with the Dutchman now just 15 points ahead of Perez, they should be allowed to compete on more of a level playing field.
Team principal Christian Horner referred to that gap as “nothing” and said: “Checo has done a fantastic job.
“Time and again he has proved himself to not only be a magnificent team player but, as his level of comfort has grown, he has become a real force to be reckoned with at the sharp end of the grid.”
Perez prevailed in a crazy contest at this venue 12 months ago and we’re hoping it is a case of same again this season.
How the Monaco Grand Prix finished
1 Perez (Red Bull), 2 Sainz (Ferrari), 3 Verstappen (Red Bull), 4 Leclerc (Ferrari), 5 Russell (Mercedes), 6 Norris (McLaren), 7 Alonso (Alpine), 8 Hamilton (Mercedes), 9 Bottas (Alfa Romeo), 10 Vettel (Aston Martin), 11 Gasly (Alphatauri), 12 Ocon (Alpine), 13 Ricciardo (McLaren), 14 Stroll (Aston Martin), 15 Latifi (Williams), 16 Guanyu (Alfa Romeo), 17 Tsunoda (Alphatauri), DNF Albon (Williams), Schumacher (Haas), Magnussen (Haas)
Charles Leclerc will be seeking quick compensation for a frustrating fourth-place finish in Monaco, where he secured pole position and controlled proceedings early on.
Unfortunately for the Monegasque, his hopes of claiming a first home victory were ruined by poor decision making with regards tyre choices by his Ferrari team.
Principal Mattia Binotto commented: “First, we need to admit, if you are leading the race and then you’re finding yourself on fourth position, we may have done something wrong.
“So, we certainly made mistakes in our judgement and we made mistakes in our calls.”
Team-mate Carlos Sainz was second in Monaco and can be backed at 17.0 to go one better here.
However, an incredibly long main stretch along the Baku shoreline is tailor-made for Red Bull’s straight-line speed and streamlining ability under DRS.
Mercedes duo George Russell and Lewis Hamilton are quoted at 51.0 for those seeking a bigger price in their Azerbaijan Grand Prix betting tips.
Russell has made the top five in every race so far this season and leads the seven-time world champion by 34 points but Hamilton has not had much luck in 2022.
Team chief Toto Wolff still feels his drivers are “very much on the same pace” and stated: “I think the pendulum will swing so that these unlucky situations will stop with Lewis.”
Past Azerbaijan Grand Prix winners
2021 Perez (Red Bull), Vettel (Aston Martin), Gasly (Alphatauri)
2019 Bottas (Mercedes), Hamilton (Mercedes), Vettel (Ferrari)
2018 Hamilton (Mercedes), Raikkonen (Ferrari), Perez (Force India)
2017 Ricciardo (Red Bull), Bottas (Mercedes), Stroll (Williams)
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