Former F1 driver Timo Glock worries we cannot expect the closer competition for Red Bull in Melbourne to carry over into Baku.
After stories of Red Bull dominance at the Bahrain and Saudi Arabian GPs, the Australian Grand Prix proved to be a race where Red Bull were challenged in the early stages of the race.
Mercedes’ George Russell qualified within a quarter of a second of Red Bull’s polesitter Max Verstappen, and Russell would in fact get the jump on Verstappen at the start, as did his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, making it a Mercedes one-two out front.
The unfortunate timing of the red flags though ruined Russell’s strategy, one which Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff felt could have made Russell a genuine contender for the win, while a power unit failure later in the race brought a definitive end to Russell’s hopes.
Verstappen later breezed past Hamilton with the aid of that mighty Red Bull DRS, with his buffer out front peaking at around nine seconds on an afternoon interrupted by multiple red flag stoppages and restarts, a race which ultimately finished behind the Safety Car.
But considering the advantage which Red Bull seemingly have using their DRS, rival teams apparently believing it to be worth as much as three-tenths per lap over theirs, Glock suspects Red Bull will stretch clear again at the upcoming Azerbaijan GP, which takes place at a Baku City Circuit featuring long straights, in particular that monster start-finish straight.
“Is there any hope that the next races will be more exciting? I think the fact that the field was closer together in Melbourne was due to the characteristics of the track,” Glock wrote in his column for Sky Germany.
“I had hoped that Mercedes in particular would have moved closer. You have to see if they can keep up the pace.
“In Baku there are more corners, long straights, where the DRS effect of Red Bull comes into play. That’s why I think Red Bull will again put a bigger gap between themselves and the competition in Baku.”
Verstappen goes into that race at the top of the Drivers’ Championship with 69 points on the board, putting him 15 clear of Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez and 24 up on Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso.