Azerbaijan and Austria are the two final stops for the teams and Formula 1 drivers before the summer break. Most of the teams have arrived in Baku and setting up their garages for the upcoming race.
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas secured Mercedes first 1-2, this season, after seven races in Canada and scored crucial points for the championship. Lewis Hamilton remained close to Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ championship and Mercedes is now leading in constructors’ battle followed by Ferrari.
Baku is the newest circuit in Formula One calendar, it made its debut in 2016 and Nico Rosberg was the driver who took the first chequered flag in the street track.
The track was designed by the German architect Hermann Tilke, one of the most experienced and recognised architects in the Motorsport family. The track combines high speed parts with slow corners, which makes it one of the most fascinating street circuits.
Max Verstappen – “Baku in my opinion is quite a special street circuit, it’s really unique in terms of having quite wide sections but also some of the tightest parts of track on the calendar. Sector 2 is tighter than parts of Monaco which has always been regarded as really narrow and challenging. When you drive up into the old town and past the castle it is fun and tricky but also amazing to watch as a spectator. That section of the track is my favourite, the straight is quick but seems to go on for a long time and gives you a chance to relax a bit. As the hotel is really nice and new as well as being situated right next to the paddock I didn’t manage to get out and have a look around last year. The old town is fun to drive so I think I should try and get up there one evening this year and see what else it has in store.”
Baku City Circuit
Circuit Length: 6.003 km
Race Length: 306.049 km
Lap Record: 1:46.485 (Nico Rosberg – 2016)
Pirelli announced the tyre compounds for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the teams will be able to use the white (medium), soft (yellow) and supersoft (red) compounds.
Mercedes and Ferrari selected the same sets of tyres, whilst Red Bull decided to have two sets of medium and three sets of soft, one less from the Mercedes and Ferrari.
The two DRS zones are spotted close to each other, the first one is at the starting straight and the second zone is after the first two corners.
Kevin Magnussen – “I never tried the Baku City Circuit in a simulator before actually racing there. It was a cool experience to just go on a track you don’t even have 100 percent idea which way the corners are going. I really had to learn the circuit from scratch. It was a cool experience and the track was really cool. I’m looking forward to going back again. It’s going to be fun. The corners are going to be faster this year because of the increased downforce. We’re going to be a bit slower on the straights, so I suspect Baku might be one of the tracks where we’re not going to be that much faster than the old cars, but it’s still going to be massively fun and challenging in the corners.”
In Monaco Ferrari had an advantage compared to Mercedes, Baku has not the same outline with Monaco but both are street circuits and they have similar characteristics. I am expecting a strong Ferrari and a close battle between Hamilton and Vettel.
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(Images courtesy of Pirelli F1 Media)