Although the tyre compounds in Baku this year are softer than in 2019, It is still expected to be a one-stop 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Those who must start on the P Zero Red soft tyre — in other words, the top ten – are more likely to utilise a soft-hard strategy, despite the fact that this limits their pit-stop options.
Another effective alternative – which those outside the top 10 can employ – is to utilise the P Zero Yellow medium and P Zero White hard compounds, especially if track temperatures exceed 50 degrees.
On the other hand, as all of the red flag stops in qualifying shown, the safety car is a strong possibility. If there is a safety car period, this allows for a ‘free' pit stop, thus starting on the softer, faster tyre could be beneficial. Unlike Monaco, though, track position isn't everything in this race: overtaking is fairly possible.
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The qualifying session:
Two red flag periods marked the start of Q1 for separate incidents at the treacherous Turn 15. Q2 was again brought to an early close by a third red flag, which was followed by a fourth in Q3. Qualifying took about an hour and a half to complete.
From Q1 through Q3, all of the drivers utilised the soft tyre, with the exception of Mercedes, who used the medium for the first few runs in Q1.
Track temperatures in the afternoon were slightly cooler, at roughly 46 degrees halfway through the session, with 29 degrees ambient, after reaching above 55 degrees in free practise this morning.
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Mario Isola stated with regards to the qualifying: “This has to be one of the most chaotic and unexpected qualifying sessions we've ever seen! The drivers primarily utilised the soft tyre throughout the session, since the margins were so close on this long circuit that it was the safest option for ensuring passage into Q2, especially given the high likelihood of interruptions.
"This means that all of the top ten will start on the soft tomorrow, thus locking them into a soft-hard one-stop strategy, especially given the high track temperatures expected for the Grand Prix. Those outside the top 10 may find that starting on a tougher compound allows them to run a longer first stint and gain track position, as well as have greater pit stop flexibility. This is a circuit where anything may happen, as we've seen in a tense qualifying session.
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He added that, "Four different teams in the top four on the grid demonstrates the close rivalry on this stunning city circuit: after a six-kilometer lap, vehicles were separated by only thousandths of a second. Congratulations to Ferrari and Charles Leclerc for securing their second pole in a row."
What do you think about this possible tyre strategy which could help the drivers win the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.
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