Nico Rosberg may have claimed pole position for the inaugural Grand Prix of Europe from Baku, but the race for the top step is far from over.
The street circuit, featuring a 2,2km flat out section followed by the tightest series of corners on the F1 calender only a few moments later has proved to be a truly unique challenge for drivers and engineers. In the quest for ultimate top speed teams have been forced into a low downforce set up leaving cars on the absolute edge. This coupled with high pressured , hard compound tyres from Pirelli, alongside a number of niggling 1st race issues around the Baku venue gives us a thrilling Grand Prix in prospect.
The attrition rate seen in the GP2 feature race hinted at the spectacle we can expect in the F1 race. Overtaking is possible all over the circuit, T1 the most common. Run off zones whilst small are just about large enough for drivers to force competitors into them without risk of penalty. All in all, the F1 race really could be anyone’s. Judging by the GP2 race pole position or running in first place could actually work against a driver, expect oval racing levels of slipstreaming and overtaking along the main straight.
With this in mind bookmakers have been surprisingly generous in the odds being offered on drivers in the top ten. It’s hard to pick out one specific driver to follow for the race, so I’m suggesting 5!
Lewis Hamilton -Dominated the weekend until a shocker in qualifying, starting 10th on the grid. He is in the fastest car and Mercedes have introduced a low downforce wing which should mitigate the issues the team have had running in traffic in earlier races this season. Winner odds 3/1
Sergio Perez – Second only to Nico Rosberg in qualifying. A gearbox penalty drops him to 7th on the grid, but after a podium in Monaco, and rumours of Ferrari considering him for 2017, Perez will be eager to impress. A great offering of 40/1 – consider an each way bet
Kimi Raikkonen – Yes Vettel out-qualified him, but he has been quietly doing his thing around Baku, and has engaged reverse far fewer times than his competitors this weekend. Also offering at 40/1
Max Verstappen / Carlos Saniz – How bold are you feeling? If Baku is to be a race of attrition, which may expect it will be. Max showed the world in Canada how calm he can be under pressure, at 80/1 the return could be great! More out there, but an even greater opportunity, Sainz. Arguably driver of the day in the last few races. With a new contract under his belt Saniz could be a great outside bet and a huge pay day at 500/1! Are you feeling bold?
Check out these odds and more at William Hill.
Finally, don’t forget to check out the live IN-PLAY odds available during F1 Races. In a race of attrition there could be some special odds availble for the fast fingered. To find out more about IN PLAY odds, check out my feature here.
The toughest STR challenge so far? Did Max take a short cut….???
STR Russian GP Preview:
The next round of our STR Olym-PicknMix Games is now available! Carlos is one point ahead after winning the first Game of the season. Who do you think will build the tallest tower of Red Bull cans, Carlos or Max?
A week prior to second Grand Prix of the season, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz made time for an important cause: Wings for Life. Both Scuderia Toro Rosso drivers were filmed in the Netherlands for the running contest, which will be held in 33 countries on 8 May. In a relaxed and friendly manner, both team mates were up against each other.
Max and Carlos will not run themselves but are enlisted to drive the so-called “Catcher Car”, effectively a moving finish line. They will set off half an hour after the start and will “sweep” up contestants along the way. Whoever is caught, is out of the race. Across the planet, all contestants will start at the same time, regardless if it is day or night. The last contestant running will be the winner.
On Friday, Max and Carlos were trained and instructed by Colin Jackson, the hurdling triple world champion and sporting director of the Wings for Life World Run. The F1 aces have adhere to the speed limit which starts at 15km/h. Not an easy things for the young racers to do. Check the live snapchat recording on the RedBull account if you want to see how the boys did.
Are you up for the challenge to stay ahead of Max and Carlos? Sign up for the Wings For Life World Run.
Scuderia Toro Rosso is happy to announce that Estrella Galicia 0,0 is reinforcing its ambitious commitment to Formula 1 by strengthening the partnership agreement signed with the team last season.As from this weekend in Australia, and for the whole 2016 World Championship, the beer brand will appear for the first time on the new STR11 of our two drivers Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen. Estrella Galicia 0,0 will be present on the car bargeboards, increasing significantly its visibility in comparison to last year.
Franz Tost – Scuderia Toro Rosso Tem Principal
“Following last year’s fantastic co-operation, we are very happy that Estrella Galicia 0,0 has decided to confirm and increase the trust in Scuderia Toro Rosso.
“Like in 2015, their logo will feature prominently on the drivers’ race suits, as well as on
the team personnel’s clothing, but in addition to this it will also be displayed on our new STR11’s barge boards.
“Sponsors are the lifeblood not just of our team, but also of the sport of Formula 1 in general, so it is particularly pleasing to tighten our relationship with Estrella Galicia 0,0, towards what I expect to be an exciting season. Our companies share the same philosophy of being young and dynamic, with Carlos and Max being the perfect combination of drivers for both of us. In the name of Toro Rosso I want to thank the Estrella Galicia 0,0 management for this decision, I am convinced that we will achieve great results together.”
Ignacio Rivera – CEO at Hijos de Rivera
“Today is a very important day for the Company, a day that we are extremely proud of as it represents another step forward in our agreement with Scuderia Toro Rosso and our involvement in F1.
“We both share the same values and philosophy to support young talents, as is this case of Carlos and Max, who I am sure will offer us lots of happy moments this season.
“We are delighted and very satisfied for accomplishing a dream nobody thought we could, with the added incentive of achieving it during the year that we celebrate our
Scuderia Toro Rosso drivers Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz enter into the first of 21 challenges to be set by the team ahead of each race weekend.
Casio Computer Co., Ltd. announced today that it has signed a two-year agreement as an official partner of the Formula One team Scuderia Toro Rosso, beginning in January 2016. Casio will make the most of this relationship to actively promote its EDIFICE brand, which takes its inspiration from motorsports concepts.
Scuderia Toro Rosso is enjoying a surge of popularity with its lineup of up-and-coming drivers including Max Verstappen, already a force to be reckoned with at just 18 years of age. His teammate is the talented Carlos Sainz whose father is a former World Rally Championship title holder. The two hotly anticipated drivers will lead the charge for Scuderia Toro Rosso in the upcoming Formula One season.
Under the concept of “Speed and Intelligence,” the EDIFICE brand evokes a sense of velocity and energy that is found in motorsports. These watches continue to evolve in how they utilize the latest electronics technology to deliver improved chronograph and world time functions. With their bold designs and varied functions, EDIFICE watches enjoy a strong following among motorsports enthusiasts.
Scuderia Toro Rosso brings its youthful energy and racing cars powered by outstanding technology innovations to the Formula One circuit, in the passionate pursuit of speed. Casio believes that these qualities are a perfect match for the EDIFICE brand concept, which led to the decision to become an official team partner. EDIFICE will be supplying watches to the team for the 2016 season, with Casio and EDIFICE logos appearing on racing suits worn by Verstappen and Sainz. Casio and EDIFICE logos will also appear on the nose sections of the team’s race cars.
Casio will leverage the partnership with Scuderia Toro Rosso to actively promote the EDIFICE brand on a global scale.
Casio previously partnered the Red Bull Racing F1 Team. With the RBR team agreeing a Tag Heuer engine naming rights, the existing Casio relationship was likely to come to an end. Casio electing to remain in the Red Bull family serves to validate commercial confidence in the Red Bull brand in F1.
To discover more about Casio and the Scuderia Toro Rosso partnership range click here
A festive message from Faenza. Merry Christmas!