Azer­bai­jan streets await F1

The Star Early Edition - - NOTICEBOARD - DE­NIS DROPPA

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.

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