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Old 4 Jun 2021, 06:42 (Ref:4054544)   #1
Born Racer
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Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2021: Grand Prix Weekend Thread - Round 6 of 21

The history

The first Baku race, slated for 2015, took place in 2016, under the title European Grand Prix. Nico Rosberg led the title battle by nine points from Lewis Hamilton going into this round (Round 8). Hamilton crashed at Turn 10 in Q3, meaning he would start 10th. Valtteri Bottas had the distinction of achieving the highest ever official speed in a Formula 1 session, of 378 kph (235 mph) in his Williams-Mercedes, eclipsing Antônio Pizzonia’s record of 369.6 kph from the 2004 Italian Grand Prix.

Rosberg started on pole and led all 51 laps to take the first Baku victory. Hamilton made his way up to as high as 4th, but ultimately ended 5th. Stuck in the wrong engine mode for much of the Grand Prix, the team were unable to give him advice, due to the rule about driving the car unaided. Sebastian Vettel wa s 2nd for Ferrari and Sergio Pérez completed the podium in 3rd for Force India, not needing to pass Kimi Räikkönen, who held the place on track, as he had a 5-second penalty for crossing the pit entry line, and he stayed within that time of the Finn.

In 2017, the event claimed its national designation, as it became the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton took pole and led at the start, followed by Bottas, Räikkönen and Vettel. On Lap 1, at Turn 3, the two Finns collided, putting Vettel up to 2nd.

There were two safety cars in quick succession and Hamilton reported the safety car was not fast enough. On Lap 19, under the SC, Vettel drove into the rear of Hamilton, which damaged the Ferrari’s front wing and the Mercedes’s rear diffuser, although they were able to continue. He thought Hamilton had brake-tested him, and astoundingly, pulled up alongside him and drove into him. Both cars carried on, although the incident was, unsurprisingly, under investigation.

Then, the Force Indias of Pérez and Esteban Ocon collided, leaving debris everywhere and a puncture for Räikkönen. A safety car was followed by a red flag on Lap 22 to clear up the mess.

When racing resumed, Räikkönen and Pérez rejoined (a lap down), as, like many, their cars had been worked on in the stoppage period, although they were handed drive-through penalties for this work having been done in garages instead of the pit lane. They eventually retired anyway. Hamilton led from Vettel, but on Lap 29, the Mercedes driver’s headrest came loose and after trying to hold it on himself, Race Control insisted he pit two laps later. Vettel was dealt a 10 second stop-go penalty for the incident with Hamilton, rejoining in 7th, just ahead of Lewis.

Daniel Ricciardo now led for Red Bull, from Lance Stroll in the Williams and Kevin Magnussen in the Haas. Hamilton wanted now-Mercedes team-mate Bottas to slow his rhythm to allow him to get past, but this was refused as Valtteri was still able to make progress. In the end, Ricciardo won from Bottas and Stroll, passed on the start-finish straight of the final lap and beaten over the line by just 0.105 seconds. Nonetheless, by becoming the second-youngest podium finisher in history (at 18 years 239 days, 11 days older than Verstappen when he won the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix), the Williams driver was delighted.

2018 was somewhat less eventful, but still had its moments of incident. Vettel led Hamilton by nine points going into the race (Round 4 of the championship) and took pole from the British driver, followed by Bottas. On Lap 40, after trading positions various times, Red Bull team-mates Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen retired when they collided, as Max tried to cover off the previous year’a winner just after he had passed him. Bottas took advantage of the safety car to change tyres and take over the lead from Vettel. The Ferrari driver botched an attempted pass on the restart, locking up and flat-spotting his tyres to drop to 4th.

However, on Lap 48 of 51, Bottas was forced to retire with a puncture, awarding Hamilton with the win, followed by Räikkönen in the Ferrari and, for the second year in a row, Pérez in the Force India, who had passed Vettel. Hamilton took over the championship lead. Sauber driver Charles Leclerc, meanwhile, scored his first points, in sixth place.

2019 was to be the last Azerbaijan Grand Prix until this year, with an enforced pandemic-related hiatus in 2020. Hamilton led Mercedes team-mate Bottas by six points prior to the Grand Prix, which was again Round 4 of the championship. It was Bottas, though, who took pole and won the race, leading the majority of it and ending up leading the championship by 1 point afterwards. Leclerc had been looking strong for this one, but crashed in the old town Sector 2 in qualifying. Hamilton finished 2nd and Vettel 3rd. Ricciardo again retired, but this time after he collided with Daniil Kvyat upon attempting to reverse back onto the track after running wide. The Toro Rosso driver was also out.

Trivia

This takes into account the 2016 European Grand Prix, unless otherwise stated.

The pole-sitter has won 50% of the time (Rosberg in 2016 and Bottas in 2019).

8th on the grid has given as many podiums as pole - with Stroll 3rd from that position in 2017 and Pérez the same in 2018.

Sergio Pérez has finished on the podium 50% of the time (in 2017 and 2018).

The safety car has featured in 50% of races here.

The track has what is considered to be the longest straight in f1, 1.6 km including the final curve. However, if you include anything from Turn 16 as the start-finish straight, as some do, it becomes mammoth.

The circuit also has the tightest section with the curves just before the city walls probably not enough for two cars to run side-by-side.

This is the third-longest track after Spa and Jeddah.

Bottas’s top speed of 378 kph, set in 2016, remains the highest top speed recorded in a Formula 1 session (although it is not an official record).

The track



The circuit potentially requires a compromise set-up between high and low downforce or to favour one or the other, as it features slow, tight corners and 90 degree bends and some fast straights.

Turns 1, 2 and 3 are all 90-degree left-handers, with DRS activation between 2 and 3, with a short straight before the 90-right Turn 4.

The track then curves left before entering Sector 2 and a tight left-right at 5 and 6, before left-right-left-right-left as the cars go through the Icheri Sheher old quarter, which runs to Turn 12. The big kerb just before the tight section preceding the city walls has just been removed this weekend.

It’s then three fast lefts at 13, 14 and 15, before entering Sector 3, with the 90-left 16 and then a fast section with some slight curves beginning, leading onto what is viewed as Formula 1’s longest straight (albeit curving slightly), with DRS activation at the end, as a new lap is started.

Other information

Circuit length: 6.003 km
Number of laps: 51
Race distance: 306.049 km
Race Lap Record: 1:43.009 (Charles Leclerc - Ferrari - 2019)
Dry weather tyre compounds: C3, C4 and C5

First Azerbaijan Grand Prix: 2017
First Grand Prix at this circuit: 2016

Join in the fun with the F1 Predictions Contest and Fantasy F1:

https://tentenths.com/forum/showthread.php?t=156269

https://tentenths.com/forum/showthread.php?t=156053

Last edited by Born Racer; Yesterday at 18:51.
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Old 4 Jun 2021, 08:24 (Ref:4054554)   #2
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Great info as ever BR. We'll see what happens this weekend. Races here tend to be either really good or really bad
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Old 4 Jun 2021, 09:11 (Ref:4054558)   #3
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tux should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridtux should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridtux should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
I like this circuit, don’t like the changes to turn 8, they’ve taken away the challenge imo.
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Old 4 Jun 2021, 10:22 (Ref:4054568)   #4
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Great intro as usual BR> Much appreciated.

Im not being picky or pedantic but think you have a minor typo in the following extract (transposed a 6 and a 9). Pizzonia's speed was 369.6kph not 396.6. (I only checked because as written Bottas new 'record' was slower than what was credited for Pizzonia. )

So just posting this in case others got confused.

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The history

Valtteri Bottas had the distinction of achieving the highest ever official speed in a Formula 1 session, of 378 kph (235 mph) in his Williams-Mercedes, eclipsing Antônio Pizzonia’s record of 396.6 kph from the 2004 Italian Grand Prix.
It seems the track changes have made the circuit substantially quicker, especially the losing of the apex curve at T8 (which caught Leclerc out, putting him into the outside wall in Q2 2019....
P1 fastest today was some 4.4 seconds faster than P1 in 2019, last time they were here.
Pole that year was Bottas with a 1:40.495 (Q1 1:42.026; Q2 1:41.500)
I suspect pole this year will be much quicker.
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Old 4 Jun 2021, 13:36 (Ref:4054600)   #5
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Mercedes have seemed a bit off colour in P1&2.... 11th and 16th in P2, Lewis(11th) over a second off the pace, Bottas another second adrift.
Interestingly their rear wing seems to have as much if not more flex than RB's today.
Sergio fastest in P2 from Max, Carlos and Charles, a tenth between the first three.
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Old 4 Jun 2021, 13:43 (Ref:4054603)   #6
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Red Bull and Ferrari are really looking on it. Of course it could all change come quali, but Merc really look like they’ve got a battle on
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Old 4 Jun 2021, 14:08 (Ref:4054613)   #7
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Has the protest over 'limbo' wings been formally lodged yet?
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Old 4 Jun 2021, 14:20 (Ref:4054619)   #8
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Has the protest over 'limbo' wings been formally lodged yet?
Looking at the replays showing the wing flex on MB compared to RB I would suggest MB have taken the "If you cant beat 'em, join 'em" approach. They (MB) were certainly flexing as much as the RBs today, so maybe the protest fees will stay in Toto's pocket this weekend and the original timescale of new tests for France will be what transpires. That's just my thinking at this stage, nothing else.
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Old 4 Jun 2021, 14:39 (Ref:4054624)   #9
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Looking forward to this race, it is usually one of the more interesting races.
I also like the combination of the long straight and tight corners which I feel adds to the difficulty of setting up the cars, combined with unforgiving surroundings.

Stops violations of track limits.
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Old 4 Jun 2021, 16:26 (Ref:4054633)   #10
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Excellent intro as ever.


I'm looking forward to the race. As well as being one of the only back to back street races on the calendar, along with Monaco, it's also in contrast to Monaco.
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Old 5 Jun 2021, 01:47 (Ref:4054661)   #11
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Thanks for a great intro BR - you keep nailing it!

Must admit that when Baku was first used, I really had my doubts about it but once over the initial surprise at the tight section and enormous straight, it is a track that delivers good races or certainly good action. Looking forward to Sunday night (Oz time).

On Friday form, looks like Mercedes might end up in the middle of the usual midfield battle - should be more interesting for Lewis and Valtteri than droning around way out in front of everyone, I reckon they'd be relishing the challenge.
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Old 5 Jun 2021, 07:40 (Ref:4054674)   #12
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Checo is now saying he understands the Red Bull car for the first time. So that's a good sign, hopefully we can see him closer to Max this weekend. He's looking good so far
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Old 5 Jun 2021, 10:32 (Ref:4054683)   #13
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Thanks. This one was a bit rough and ready, as I prepared it all on my phone, although the Grand Prix doesn’t have so much history to explore, anyway.
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Great intro as usual BR> Much appreciated.

Im not being picky or pedantic but think you have a minor typo in the following extract (transposed a 6 and a 9). Pizzonia's speed was 369.6kph not 396.6. (I only checked because as written Bottas new 'record' was slower than what was credited for Pizzonia. )

So just posting this in case others got confused.
Thanks so much, E.B. That was an important oversight on my part. Bad proof-reading from me.
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Old 5 Jun 2021, 10:58 (Ref:4054686)   #14
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Has the protest over 'limbo' wings been formally lodged yet?
Makes me wish Lamborghini was involved so there could be speculation of Lambo Limbo wings.

Sorry!
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Old 5 Jun 2021, 11:01 (Ref:4054687)   #15
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Thanks. This one was a bit rough and ready, as I prepared it all on my phone, although the Grand Prix doesn’t have so much history to explore, anyway. Thanks so much, E.B. That was an important oversight on my part. Bad proof-reading from me.
No worries at all. Im in awe that you did it on a phone. Great effort indeed. I cant post a sentence in a text message on my phone without a typo.
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