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Verstappen can make up places in the race

Teen star can show practice pace was no fluke

Max Verstappen has benefitted from an upgraded Renault engine
1 of 1

Azerbaijan Grand Prix
Channel 4 & Sky Sports F1, 2pm

Top tip
Max Verstappen podium finish 7-4
Friday's topsy-turvy timesheet was replaced with a much more conventional-looking grid order in Baku, but it may be worth betting that Max Verstappen - the star of the first day - can get in on the action in the race.

Teenage ace Verstappen starts fifth after failing by 0.04 seconds to eclipse Sebastian Vettel, but starting on the odd-numbered side of the grid, which should be cleaner, may turn out to be an advantage.

The Red Bull was not expected to shine at Baku, with its 2km straight, but the Renault-powered cars have set some competitive figures through the speed trap.

Lewis Hamilton left a poor Friday behind in storming to his fifth pole position of the season.

His teammate Valtteri Bottas looked set to steal the front of the grid when a mechanical problem brought Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull to a halt on track and caused the top-ten shootout to be stopped with three-and-a-half minutes to go.

However, in the mad dash to set one final laptime, Hamilton produced a stunning effort to leapfrog his teammate. 

Hamilton trails Vettel by 12 points in the championship, and will be hopeful of leaving Baku leading the title chase.

Vettel missed much of Saturday morning practice with a mechanical issue, and the team opted to fit an old engine in his car as a quick fix.

That seemed to limit his performance in qualifying, however, and it took a great effort for the German to make the second row of the grid.

Down on power on the straight, Vettel's prospects of making any ground in the race look limited. It is worth remembering that when Bottas was forced to use a high-mileage power unit in Spain it expired in a cloud of smoke after 38 laps.

The Mercedes seem in a class of their own at this circuit, and while that hasn't always meant they go on to dominate the race, it's hard to see Kimi Raikkonen making much of an impact.

The Finn has managed just two podiums this season - one of them at the unique Monaco track where Ferrari had a clear advantage - and Verstappen could be the man to lead the distant chase of the Silver Arrows.

The Dutchman made a superb start in Canada last time and held second position in the early stages until a mechanical failure put him out, and problems with his machinery are the biggest concern for punters backing him to make the podium.

Other markets
Williams double points finish 11-10
Lance Stroll posted by far his best performance of the season in finishing ninth from 17th on the grid in front of his home crowd in Canada last time.

The 18-year-old son of a billionaire has come in for plenty of criticism in his rookie season, but the Montreal performance seems to have done wonders for his confidence.

And so it should have. The result was no fluke as Stroll had to pull off some daring overtakes and trust in his strategy, and the two points were just reward for a fine drive.

Stroll has been in the top ten all weekend and outqualified his vastly more experienced teammate Felipe Massa for the first time.

The track suits the Williams, and Stroll and Massa, who start eighth and ninth, should comfortably be able to stay in the top ten if they keep their noses clean.

Recommendations
M Verstappen podium finish
2pts 7-4 general
Williams double points finish
2pts 11-10 Sky Bet

Down on power on the straight, Vettel's prospects of making any ground in the race look limited
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