F1: Baku City, a High Speed Monaco and Very Difficult
The European Grand Prix has had a choppy history on the F1 calendar. The last time a European Grand Prix was held was in Y 2012 in Valencia, Spain.
The event has now returned as Round 8 of the 2016 Formula One World Championship and this time at Baku, Azerbaijan. It runs this weekend on the
Baku City Circuit that weaves its way through the historic part of the Azerbaijan capital and has the Caspian Sea as a backdrop.
There is a lot to look forward to here.
The Hermann Tilke-designed street circuit stretches 3.73 miles and has a 1.30-mi straight, the longest of all the circuits this season. The cars are expected to reach 211 mph going down the straight as they approach Turn 1, the fastest speed of any street circuit in the history of F1.
Below are some comments from the drivers, as follows;
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was one of the many drivers to visit the fast street circuit’s escape roads, he was also the 1st driver to spin during P1 Friday.
“It’s very difficult,” the Team Ferrari driver said. “All the time you have quite a long straight leading into hard braking.
“There’s not much to help your orientation – the trees look the same! After a while you find your rhythm. It seems a nice track, but challenging, especially the high-speed section.”
Those sentiments were echoed by an approving Nico Hulkenberg on an encouraging day for the Force India team in which the German was 5th fastest and team-mate Sergio Perez 3rd.
“It’s definitely a very challenging track. It’s high speed, has a lot of ballsy corners and is very tight considering the speeds we are going at,” Mr. Hulkenberg said.
Drivers rarely run off a circuit as often as was the case Friday, but Friday Mercedes AMG’s pacesetter Lewis Hamilton said: “Everybody has learnt the circuit now so l think you will not see as much as that again.
Mr. Hamilton was over half a sec faster than team mate Nico Rosberg in P2 argued that the circuit’s blemishes should have been welcomed by his peers.
“It is really bumpy down the main straight and you cannot see turn one really well, but that is part of racing,” he said. “These guys wants it to be smoother than ever with no vibrations and no bumps and take all the character out of these tracks.
“I’m glad this circuit has bumps but l guarantee there will be people not liking the bumps.”
“It’s Monegasque in terms of braking and how close the barriers are but you are arriving at much higher speeds.”
“The track itself is quite good to drive, it is just that with the run-off areas we need to be careful with them,” added Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Described as a ‘high-speed Monaco’ by Mr. Perez, the circuit proved challenging and contrasting in equal measure during Friday practice with the field striving to find a suitable set-up for a layout that contains several ultra-slow, single-file sections and also the longest straight in F1.
“The track feels as tight as it looks,” Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo said. “It’s cool to have some of these high-speed corners that are on the edge and of course you then have a long straight so you get a bit of a chance to breathe but pretty much all the corners keep you busy and keep you occupied.
“There are no real easy corners on the track which is good in terms of the challenge, definitely.”
The Baku City Circuit features the longest straight in F1.
The drivers spend more than 20 secs at full throttle, and several other high-speed sections.
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