Times – GMT+4
23 June: Practice 1 (13:00) / Practice 2 (17:00)
24 June: Practice 3 (14:00) / Qualifying (17:00)
25 June: Race (17:00)
Track: Baku street circuit, Baku
Location: Baku, Azerbaijan
First race: 2016
Length: 6.003 KM/ 3.730 M
Fastest lap: 1:46.485 (Nico Rosberg, 2016)
2016 winner: Nico Rosberg
The newest edition to the Formula 1 calendar ‘Azerbaijan’ hosted it’s first race last year and it was mediocre to say the least with not many overtakes bar those done by DRS.
It was a Mercedes race through and through, even if it was just the one. Rosberg dominated the weekend winning the first race in Azerbaijan. Team mate Hamilton however didn’t have such a good time, he crashed at the castle section in qualifying and had engine issues all through the race.
What made those problems worse was that the FIA had just brought in a new ruling which effectively banned all but essential talk between driver and engineer. This meant that Hamilton was unable to resolve the issue until the closing stages of the race.
Someone who did have a good race whoever was Force India’s Sergio Perez who scored a rare podium for the team. All this despite having started from 7th after a 5 place grid penalty.
And given Force India’s form recently I wouldn’t be surprised if Checo or even his team mate Ocon end up on the podium.
It was expected last year that given this was a new track meaning no one new it and it was a street circuit, there would be lots of crashes and safety cars.
But there was not a single crash I can recall and no safety cars either. Everyone keeping it clean.
However I would say there is a much higher chance of that happening this year with the wider and faster cars. Especially at the tight castle section.
And then we come to the Mclaren boys and my goodness they are gonna have a shocker. Honda have yet to bring a substantial engine up grade and given this track has a lot of straights including the longest one so far. They are going to swamped, if they make it any further than lap 1 that is.
Top 5 prediction: