Round eight of the season sees Formula One return to Europe and the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku. Baku held the trilling Grand Prix of Europe last season which saw Mercedes and Nico Rosberg become the first winner around the streets of Baku.
The 3.73 mile circuit goes through the old and new parts of the city, running around Government House before heading west along a 1 km straight to the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and Maiden Tower. This all makes Baku the second longest circuit of the season.
However, this race is controversial because of Azerbaijan’s poor human rights record, with ongoing imprisonment of political, Human rights activists, journalists, and bloggers who have criticised the regime. Following the GP2 (Formula Two) race last year, there was expected to be many retirements after utter carnage seeing half the drivers retire.
Mercedes are once again the favourites here as the circuit is high speed and saw the fastest lap in a season set by a Mercedes-powered Williams of Valtteri Bottas of 235 MPH during qualifying. This Circuit will see once again a fight
Facts and figures
* Data based on 2016 Grand Prix of Europe
What happened in 2016?
Nico Rosberg took the win in Baku to extend his lead over team-mate Lewis Hamilton after getting past him on the opening lap of the race. Hamilton and Rosberg would later run into problems which Mercedes were unable to help them solve because the regulations prevent teams from telling their drivers how to change the settings on their car.
Hamilton eventually found the right mode, but it left him with no time to get past the Ferrari’s and Sergio Perez in between during the closing stages. Kimi Raikkonen finished third, but was awarded a the five second penalty that Raikkonen had for crossing the white line on entry to the pits which saw him pushed to fourth.
2016 Race Data
|P1 Fastest||P2 Fastest||P3 Fastest||Q1 Fastest||Q2 Fastest||Q3 Fastest||Race Time||Fastest Lap|
A lap of Baku
A long the long straight for Nico Rosberg starting with him crossing the pole position box on his way to turn one. Turns in beautifully to just tap the inside kerb and on exit before the short run to turn two which he takes the apex really well before running as close as he can to the wall.
Another long run to three again takes the apex before going to the wall on the exit and across the circuit before hitting the kerb on exit of four. Through the kink into five the first chicane which he takes well and on exit of six goes to the inside lining up well for seven.
Short run between eight nine ten takes it perfectly unlike Hamilton. Good through thirteen and fourteen which he seems to be flat out. Kerb through entry and on exit of fifteen. Good through seventeen where he puts his foot down to be flat through nineteen and twenty to cross the line with a 01:42.520.