2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Picks and Predictions: No Stopping Verstappen

Max Verstappen may not start in front of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix field thanks to a terrific qualifying effort by Charles Leclerc, but our F1 betting picks expect the Red Bull racer to be leading when the checkered flag waves.

Last Updated: Apr 29, 2023 8:00 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Max Verstappen F1
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Formula One's small early-season intermission is officially over, and Sunday's grid is set. Ferrari secured their fourth pole position at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in the seven years of its existence, with their star driver Charles Leclerc edging out both Red Bull cars. Max Verstappen was second, and Sergio Perez was third. Leclerc has some security with teammate Carlos Sainz in the fourth position.

Azerbaijan has been home to some wonky and wild results in its short history, with no pole position driver having ever secured a win on Sunday, and just two making the podium in six races.

Will Azerbaijan throw a wrench in Leclerc's weekend, or will the Ferrari leadman secure his first race win of the 2023 season?

Continue reading for free Formula One picks and predictions for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday, April 30th.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix picks and predictions

Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Azerbaijan Grand Prix picks

Race prediction: Max Verstappen outright

Verstappen remains arguably the most talented driver on the grid, and is operating the best Formula One car on the planet. Despite that displayed disparity throughout the season, Charles Leclerc was able to just inch him out en route to his first pole position of the season.

The two set identical times early in the third round of qualifying, but Verstappen noted that he lost grip on his tires and was unable to stick with Leclerc's later pace. If Max and the Red Bull team can sort out the grip concerns, Verstappen should be able to eventually overtake Leclerc.

After all, it was this exact race last year during which Max climbed from third on the grid to a mammoth 20+ second win. There's no reason to believe he can't do the same this year.

Pick: Max Verstappen outright (-215 at DraftKings)

Best bet: Max Verstappen fastest lap

Taking into consideration how Friday's qualifying went and the context of those results, there's value here in Verstappen taking home Sunday's fastest lap. That's especially the case considering Verstappen had no problem posting the fastest lap during Free Practice, edging out Leclerc by 0.037 seconds.

And while Leclerc has been able to take home two straight qualifying rounds in Azerbaijan and is a potential threat to take home fastest lap, that is more a product of his ability to build that pace during a lower stress environment compared to the typical craziness of the actual Baku City race.

In fact, in the six Azerbaijan races, the fastest qualifying lap has been 3-5 seconds faster than the fastest race lap. Not many (if any) of the other Grand Prix's feature that type of consistent discrepancy.

Last year, a Red Bull car (Sergio Perez) took home fastest lap, but largely did so due to there being no need for the winner (Verstappen) to press his vehicle with a 20+ second lead.

Pick: Max Verstappen fastest lap (-125 at bet365)

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