For­mula 1 Azer­bai­jan Grand Prix makes fan­tas­tic end in Baku

Azer News - - Front Page - By Rashid Shiri­nov

The 2017 For­mula 1 Azer­bai­jan Grand Prix has suc­cess­fully wrapped up in Baku, once again mak­ing Azer­bai­jan the cred­i­ble host of an­other ma­jor in­ter­na­tional event.

Baku, a host of last year’s Euro­pean Grand Prix, this year caught the eyes of mil­lions for the Azer­bai­jan Grand Prix on June 22-25. As many as 20 driv­ers from 10 teams, in­clud­ing such fa­mous pi­lots as Lewis Hamil­ton, Fer­nando Alonso, Se­bas­tian Vet­tel, Kimi Raikko­nen, Valt­teri Bot­tas and oth­ers, par­tic­i­pated in the hec­tic race on the Baku City Cir­cuit.

Pres­i­dent of Azer­bai­jan Il­ham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and fam­ily mem­bers also watched the Open­ing Cer­e­mony and fi­nal race of the Azer­bai­jan Grand Prix.

For­mula 1 first and sec­ond prac­tice ses­sions, and For­mula 2 prac­tice ses­sion and qual­i­fy­ing were held on June 23, the first day of the races. Then, For­mula 2 first race, and For­mula 1 third prac­tice ses­sion and qual­i­fy­ing were held on the sec­ond day, June 24. Lastly, For­mula 2 sec­ond race and For­mula 1 Azer­bai­jan Grand Prix were held on the last day of the races, June 25.

The spe­cially con­structed street cir­cuit saw For­mula 1 cars race around the stun­ning down­town area of Baku, in­cor­po­rat­ing its UNESCO-pro­tected old city – Icheri She­her (In­ner City) his­tor­i­cal-ar­chi­tec­tural re­serve – as well as its mod­ern sky­line and beau­ti­ful Caspian Sea prom­e­nade.

The Baku City Cir­cuit looped around the cen­tral and the most pic­turesque streets of Baku. When it came to se­lect­ing the per­fect route for the race, the or­ga­niz­ers de­cided to em­pha­size the panoramic view of the city.

The in­ter­est­ing fact is that the cars raced in an anti-clock­wise di­rec­tion. The length of the widest part of the 6-kilo­me­ter track was 13 me­ters, and the nar­row­est width was 7.6 me­ters be­tween the turns 7 and 8, which were sit­u­ated along the Icheri She­her. The start and fin­ish lanes, as well as the For­mula 1 Pad­dock, team garages and pit lane, were lo­cated at the Azadlig Square of the city.

Charles Le­clerc, racer of Prema Rac­ing F1 team, said to re­porters in Baku that he liked the city cir­cuit be­cause of the com­bi­na­tion of long straight parts and sharp turns. "The cir­cuit has dan­ger­ous and sharp turns, es­pe­cially the turn 8, and on the whole the cir­cuit is in­ter­est­ing," he added.

In turn, racer Ni­cholas Lat­ifi of Dams F1 team, said the cir­cuit in Baku re­sem­bles some­thing be­tween the cir­cuits in Monza and Monaco. More­over, four-time F1 world cham­pion Alain Prost noted that the race on the Baku City Cir­cuit was one of the most dif­fi­cult in the F1 cal­en­dar, and there­fore one of the most in­ter­est­ing. He added that the 2017 For­mula 1 Azer­bai­jan Grand Prix was or­ga­nized at the high­est level.

The In­ter­na­tional Au­to­mo­bile Fed­er­a­tion, the For­mula 1 teams and driv­ers, in­de­pen­dent ex­perts and jour­nal­ists highly ap­pre­ci­ated the ex­cel­lent prepara­tory work and se­cu­rity mea­sures, the pro­fes­sion­al­ism of the team in­volved in or­ga­ni­za­tional work, and the hospi­tal­ity of Baku res­i­dents.

On the evening of June 25, the win­ner of the spec­tac­u­lar 2017 For­mula 1 Azer­bai­jan Grand Prix was de­ter­mined. Daniel Ric­cia­rdo of Red Bull grabbed his first win of the 2017 For­mula 1 cam­paign at Azer­bai­jan Grand Prix. He was fol­lowed by Valt­teri Bot­tas of Mercedes, who took sec­ond place from Wil­liams rookie Lance Stroll on the fi­nal straight of the race. Pres­i­dent of Azer­bai­jan Il­ham Aliyev pre­sented For­mula 1 Azer­bai­jan Grand Prix Cup to Daniel Ric­cia­rdo.

Af­ter the race, Ric­cia­rdo said that it was very chaotic and full of events. The sec­ond place owner Bot­tas, in turn, said the race was ex­cit­ing, and added that it was full of sur­prises. Lance Stroll said that day has been one of the best in his ca­reer.

As for the For­mula 2 race, French­man Nor­man Nato be­came the win­ner of the sprint race at Baku City Cir­cuit on June 25.

The Grand Prix in Baku in­cluded not only ex­cit­ing races, but also un­for­get­table en­ter­tain­ment. Tourists and fans en­joyed a wide range of cul­tural, sight­see­ing and en­ter­tain­ment pro­grams, voic­ing their ex­cite­ment with the ex­cel­lent or­ga­ni­za­tion of the event in Baku.

The Open­ing Cer­e­mony with its col­or­ful pro­grams and car­ni­val pa­rades will be long re­mem­bered by the For­mula 1 fans and Baku tourists. Con­duct­ing ex­cit­ing and col­or­ful events in the fan vil­lage, au­to­graph ses­sions of pi­lots, con­certs of stars of world pop mu­sic icons in­clud­ing Tarkan, Ni­cole Scherzinger, the Back Eyed Peas and Mariah Carey, gave For­mula 1 in Baku the spe­cial sta­tus and in­ter­est.

The Azer­bai­jan Grand Prix brought to­gether thou­sands of race lovers and tourists in Baku, and all of them en­joyed the breath­tak­ing race and their trip to the Azer­bai­jani cap­i­tal.

“Last year, I watched For­mula 1 in Baku on TV and saw that Baku is a very beau­ti­ful city. This time I did not miss the op­por­tu­nity and came to Baku to watch the com­pe­ti­tion,” a Scot­tish tourist told re­porters in Baku.

“I would say the or­ga­ni­za­tion here is bet­ter than in other coun­tries. We en­joy watch­ing For­mula 1 in Azer­bai­jan,” said an­other fan from Great Bri­tain.

Apart from the race, Baku has also cap­ti­vated the hearts of the com­ing tourists. "I liked Baku very much. Baku is a very beau­ti­ful city with ma­jes­tic ar­chi­tec­ture, many beau­ti­ful build­ings. I am pleased with walk­ing through Icheri She­her,” said an Ir­ish tourist, adding that Azer­bai­jani peo­ple are very friendly and hos­pitable.

A Bri­tish fan, in turn, said he "came to Azer­bai­jan for the first time and didn't ex­pect Baku to be such a beau­ti­ful and mod­ern city."

In the past years, Baku has been stak­ing its claim as a ma­jor cul­tural and en­ter­tain­ment player. Af­ter ma­jor in­ter­na­tional events such as Euro­vi­sion 2012, Baku Euro­pean Games 2015, 2016 For­mula 1 Euro­pean Grand Prix and 2017 Is­lamic Sol­i­dar­ity Games, Baku has suc­cess­fully hosted the 2017 For­mula 1 Azer­bai­jan Grand Prix, and prom­ises to con­tinue pleas­ing all Azer­bai­ja­nis and the world with its per­fectly or­ga­nized events in the fu­ture.

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