Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix makes fantastic end in Baku
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.