Championship leader Max Verstappen has made a clear statement as to why drivers are in F1, and that is to win.
He is still smarting a little from having lost the Azerbaijan GP when his left rear tyre blew as he travelled down the long straight at over 300km/h. He wasn't hurt, and nor was his car heavily damaged, but having led for 90 per cent of the race, he lost a certain 25 points and also another grand prix victory to go with the 12 he has so far.
Fortunately, his main rival Lewis Hamilton, lost his braking at the first corner on the race restart after Verstappen's crash, and could only finish 15th, meaning no points for him either. Verstappen's Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez won the race from Sebastian Vettel in the Aston Martin and Pierre Gasly in the Alpha Tauri.
Heading into this weekend's French Grand Prix, which has been brought forward by one week so Austria can host two races in the following weeks after the Canadian GP and then its replacement in Turkey were cancelled bevcause of Covid-19 pandemic issues, Verstappen has not let the Baku setback shake his confidence. If he was in the same car as Hamilton, he said, he would be two-tenths quicker.
It may sound like a cocky comment but needs to be put in context. After his own error cost him victory or second place in Baku, Hamilton said Red Bull had the quicker car and that is why Verstappen had led and Perez eventually won. Verstappen heard what Hamilton had said and came back with a retort.
"I would say that too if I were him," Verstappen said. "I think if I'm in his car I'm still two tenths faster than him. I don't care what he says."
Warming up to the winning theme, Verstappen has commented on the importance of believing you are the best driver.
"A racing car has a steering wheel and two pedals. That's what you can control," he says.
"As a driver, you always have to believe you are the best. And do I? Of course.
"We race each other hard. And I think that's exactly how you want it to be, isn't it? You have to believe you can beat anyone out there. If you really think that's not possible, then it's better to stop, because it's never going to work out."
Verstappen says although he wants to beat Hamilton, he respects him and will race him "fair and square".
"Then the best one, at the end of the day, will win.
"You have to be better than Mercedes, you have to be better than Lewis. When you can achieve both those, you can definitely fight."
Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 world champion, can be a harsh critic in his TV media role, but he says Verstappen has matured with experience and has gone from being a controversial driver to a fair one on the track.
"In his first season, there was a lot of weaving, you know, on the straights and so on. And he stopped doing that. He seems to have gotten into a much better balance now on what is fair and not fair as a fighter and how to go and when, when to push, when not to push. He seems to be a lot more complete."
That is fairly high praise, coming from Villeneuve, who does not suffer fools lightly. He also says he doesn't see any weaknesses in Verstappen's driving.
"Even when he finished second in Bahrain, because he went wide, he took it in his stride. Its like, 'Okay, well, you won' the season is long, so very mature right now."
Fernando Alonso had his best result with 6th in Baku, since returning to F1 after a two-year break. He was the first one to say that it hasn't been easy and he has struggled even against his Alpine teammate, Esteban Ocon. But he also says the critics have been a little unfair.
"This thing kept repeating every weekend, and the opinion was like I was struggling a lot, even comparing me with other drivers that changed teams this year, like Daniel [Ricciardo] or whatever. But I didn't think that was fair, because I think there is a very big difference on their struggles compared to what I was having. I was not worried. I knew it was just a matter of time."
Alonso says he is enjoying being back in F1, and the sport is completely different to other racing he tried with some success, including sportscars and the Dakar rally.
"At the end of the day, when you have a car that you can win with, that's the magic of the sport. Until that day, everything is preparation. It changes your approach to a race weekend.
"I think all you do when you don't have a package to fight for the championship is to prepare for that moment. You have to make sure you improve every day."
Alonso made it clear when returning to F1 with Alpine, who formerly were the Renault team that gave him back-to-back world championships in 2005 and 2006, that the target was the 2022 season when regulation changes should create an even playing field.
"If we are hopefully in a position to fight for the World Championship in 2022, 2023 or 2024, then as a team we have to be ready to withstand the pressure and the heat in important moments of a race.
"Every driver in the paddock believes he can fight for the World Championship with a competitive package. I'm sure we all feel that way here, because otherwise there would be no reason to be here. Every competitive person loves to win in everything they do. But that doesn't always refer to Formula 1 or motorsport. Once you've tasted victory, you hate losing for the rest of your life."
If Alonso is aiming to win a third title in one of the next three years, he will be over 40 should he succeed. Hamilton is currently negotiating with Mercedes to extend his contract with a new multi-year deal, but the 36-year old has indicated he can't imagine still racing when he is 40.
"I honestly hope I'm not racing at 40," he told an Italian publication. "There are so many things I want to do that it would be difficult. But in life the evolution is so fast that it can surprise you. For example, I didn't expect to have as much fun as I am having this season."
That seems a bit of a contradictory statement from Hamilton, because in his last two races, Monaco and Baku, he did a lot of moaning and groaning and seemed quite distressed about racing poorly as he did in Monaco or making a rare mistake by switching off his brakes, as he did for the restart in Baku.
He says the reason for his excitement is not the challenge from younger drivers. Rather it is something within himself.
"The reason is because I'm discovering new things about myself every day. With the pandemic lockdowns I've had more time to refine my talent, my body and mind.
"I'm competing against myself. I think about how to beat myself. I look at how I was last year and how to be a seven-time World Champion."
Four–time world champion Vettel finished second in Baku, signalling he had got his mojo back, although undoubtedly the problems for Verstappen and Hamilton helped his cause. Former F1 driver Gerhard Berger is still convinced that Vettel is past his best.
"By 1995, I was already in the autumn stage of my career and couldn't get used to the way the Benetton was built precisely to Michael's [Schumacher] needs," Berger said.
"Still, again, 10 years earlier it wouldn't have been a problem for me. I see it similarly with Sebastian. He's also increasingly demanding that a car has to suit his driving style. That shows that he's already over his zenith in terms of speed and willingness to take risks."
At the other end of the scale and the grid to the current world champion, former world champions and future world champions, is Haas driver Nikita Mazepin. Hamilton has been critical of Mazepin getting an F1 drive because he is the son of a Russian billionaire, part of the so-called "Billionaire's Boys Club", whereas Hamilton's father, Anthony, worked at several jobs to get enough money for his son to go racing.
Mazepin however argues that "every new driver in Formula 1 has received support from sponsors".
Despite the criticism as to how he got the Haas drive, Mazepin says he has a good relationship with all the drivers but "I would especially point out the older generation such as Alonso and Vettel. Very nice men."
Unlike Mazepin, they are already world champions, but although he is in the slowest car on the grid, he too wants to be a world champion.
Otherwise, he wouldn't be in F1 - he is clearly not in for the money.