So, next up in Formula 1 is the ‘Europe’ GP in Baku- Azerbaijan,a city that lies in both Europe and Asia and the country that is as much a part of Asia as it is of Europe, far far away from the traditional Europe that we know eh… nevermind. So, the Europe GP is the eighth grand prix this season in Formula 1 and things are shaping up in the driver’s standings. 2016 has been dominated by Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull so far, so why talk about anyone else.
Mercedes have been ruthless this season and of the previous 7 grand prix, they have finished pole position in 6. The only one they lost out on was the Spanish GP where they crashed between each other to allow other teams to catch up on the gigantic point difference they had created thus far. Good show of sportsmanship Mercedes!
The battle for the first two positions has become really intense between the two Mercedes drivers. Nico Rosberg started with a bang winning four straight races but has taken a back seat for the past two grand prix. Lewis Hamilton won the Canadian and Monaco grand prix and is now just 9 points behind his teammate. However, Rosberg has an advantage in the upcoming GP where he will be starting the race from the pole position while Hamilton will be starting 9 places behind him.
While both the Mercedes drivers are in a comfortable lead, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel is chasing hard from a distant third. Unfortunately for Vettel, even if Mercedes rekindle their sportsman spirit (like the one in Spanish GP) and take on one another in Baku again, he will remain third even if he manages to take the pole (so close… yet so far). What Vettel needs to be vary of is not the battle in front but the battle behind him led by his teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, both looking to take his spot.
Despite being fifth, Kimi’s season is going topsy-turvy. He managed three podium finishes but had to retire in two races. As of now, he is 9 points behind his Ferrari teammate Vettel and would be starting fourth in Europe GP where Vettel will be third.
Red Bull started the season with Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat at the wheel but Kvyat had to be replaced by Max Verstappen few races ago, thanks to his run-ins with Sebastian Vettel.
(For further details on Kvyat’s run-ins with Vettel, check out http://sportsdungeon.com/formula-1/one-batch-two-batch-f1-time/)
When Max Verstappen joined Red Bull, he immediately made an impression by winning the Spanish grand prix and thus becoming the youngest ever Formula 1 grand prix winner in the process. He achieved the feat at just 18 years beating the likes of Vettel and Alonso who were 21 and 22 respectively when they won their first. Although he retired in the Monaco GP and finished just outside the podium in Canada, Verstappen has all the right ingredients to succeed, especially at Red Bull when we look at the fact that he is currently holding the sixth spot in driver’s standings at such a young age.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo on the other hand has been consistent. Consistent in finishing fourth! He finished fourth in four races and is fourth in the driver’s standings too. So, basically he is the Formula 1’s version of Arsenal (football lovers will get that!). With just one podium finish to his name, it is remarkable from Ricciardo that he is only 3 points behind Vettel and would be starting right behind Nico Rosberg in Europe GP at second place. Meanwhile Daniel’s teammate Max Verstappen will be starting right ahead of Lewis Hamilton at ninth on the grid.