Lewis Hamilton won a fairly boring race in terms of on-track action in Canada but strategy-wise it was highly interesting. Sebastian Vettel had a lightning quick start and beat the Mercedes cars scrambling behind him on the run down into Turn 1. Hamilton and Nico Rosberg continued the trend of having teammates collide during a race, Rosberg seemed to come off worse in the collision and as a result, he was bundled down almost out of the top 10.
Ultimately a strategy blunder for both Ferraris meant that Vettel had to settle for second place and Raikkonen was in 6th. Williams had a mixed weekend with Valtteri Bottas snatching a well-earned podium but Felipe Massa suffered his first retirement this season. Red Bull looked strong initially but soon faded away. A week later and the Formula One paddock is back in Europe for the European Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan.
This is a brand new circuit for all drivers so they are virtually going into the unknown. So let’s head off for the very first flying lap on the Baku circuit. We accelerate down the main straight and brake hard for a left-hander and a short dash into another left-hander.
A longer straight and yet another left-hander waiting at the end and you flick it right for Turn 4, a small burst of speed and on the anchors again for a left-right chicane at Turns 5 and 6.
Heading into Turn 7 which is almost a hairpin it flings the car on to the trickiest part of the circuit that is Turns 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 which are tight left-right-left-right-left chicanes.
Exiting Turn 12 the track starts to open up a little and there is a trio of fast left-handers before braking for Turn 16 and another series of kinks that is Turns 17, 18, 19 and 20 and once Turn 20 is cleared you find yourself on the long run down to the main straight and that’s a lap of the Baku City Circuit.
The Toro Rosso drivers Kvyat and Sainz have likened the circuit to the Valencia Street Circuit and the Guia Circuit in Macau respectively, but both unanimously picked Turn 15 as the trickiest corner.
Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso compared the track to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve saying that there are similar characteristics. Lewis Hamilton had his doubts about the circuit not being a conventional street circuit like Monaco but fellow countryman Jenson Button heard glowing reports from teammate Fernando Alonso, who is the circuit brand ambassador.
Tyre strategies for Baku
Live timing information
India (Star Sports 4/Star Sports 4 HD)
FP1 (14:00-15:30), FP2 (19:00-20:30)
FP3 (15:30-16-30), Qualifying (19:00-20:00)
FP1 (10:00-11:30), FP2 (14:30-16:00)
FP3 (11:00-12:00), Qualifying (14:30-15:30)
FP1 (5:00-6:30), FP2 (9:30-11:00)
FP3 (6:00-7:00), Qualifying (9:30-10:30)
FP1 (13:00-14:30), FP2 (17:00-18:30)
FP3 (14:00-15:00), Qualifying (17:00-18:00)