Azerbaijan streets await F1
AFTER Ferrari mastered Monaco only for Mercedes to fight back and win in Canada, Formula One heads to Azerbaijan this weekend for the eighth round of this unpredictable, see-sawing championship.
The Baku City Circuit is the fastest street track on the calendar and requires high driver concentration with walls closing in on either side. Mercedes won the inaugural race in the historical city last year, but that was when the all-conquering silver arrows team was routinely expected to cruise to victory. This year it has all been about which team can find the best car setup and tyre strategy for a particular circuit, while luck has also played its part.
In Canada two weeks ago it was Ferrari’s turn to suffer the wrath of motorsport’s capricious gods when Kimi Raikkonen suffered a brake problem to finish seventh, and Sebastian Vettel was fourth after being hit at the start by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and forced to fight back from the tail end of the grid.
Lewis Hamilton won the Canadian race from Valtteri Bottas to score the first Mercedes onetwo of the season, but Vettel still leads the driver’s championship on 141 points, ahead of Hamilton (129), Bottas (93) and Raikkonen (73).
Sebastian Vettel will be looking to keep his driver’s championship lead.