After a one-year absence, the Baku Street Circuit welcomes teams and drivers for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. F1Technical’s Balázs Szabó analyses what to know before the lights go green at Round 6 of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship.
Leclerc – the fastest race lap has gone to a different driver at each race in Baku. Nico Rosberg set the fastest lap in 2016, Sebastian Vettel in the following year and Valtteri Bottas in the 2018 edition of the race. The official track record was set by Charles Leclerc who recorded a 1m43. 009 last time out when the field visited the fabulous city of Baku in 2019.
6.003km – The Baku City Circuit is the second longest race track on the current Formula One calendar, only Spa-Franchorchamps lies ahead of it.
Eighteen – Lance Stroll was 18 years and 239 days old when he claimed his first podium finish during the 2017 grand prix. The Canadian was running second in the race, but he was then beaten by Valtteri Bottas in the end. The Canadian-Belgian has now a big hill to climb if he wants to repeat that feat after his crash in the first part of yesterday’s qualifying session.
Formula Two – The Baku City Circuit plays host to the third round of the 2021 Formula 2 Championship. The field has had enough time to recharge its batteries since the previous round which took place at Monaco two weeks ago.
Once – So far, Baku has hosted F1 race on four occasions. The race has been won by different drivers each time. Nico Rosberg won the inaugural event in 2016, Daniel Ricciardo emerged victorious in 2017 while Lewis Hamilton took the victory in 2018 after inheriting the lead three laps from finish when his team-mate Valtteri Bottas suffered a puncture. The Finn finally came out on top in 2019, meaning that no driver has won more than once at Baku.
Mercedes territory – Mercedes has been the most successful team in Azerbaijan so far. The Brackley-based outfit has won three times while Red Bull has clinched a single victory courtesy of Daniel Ricciardo.
The diligent point-scorers – In terms of points gained at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Hamilton is the most successful driver with the Briton having collected 63 points in total so far. Second on this list is Sebastian Vettel with 57 points, followed by Valtteri Bottas who has 51 points to his name.
Winds – The Baku City Circuit is known for its eventful races – that is what has made the still fresh addition to the race calendar one of the most spectacular races in its short history in the sport. Baku has the name of the City of Winds because it is windy throughout most of the year. According to the Azerbaijani mythology and beliefs, the constant winds are related to the struggle of Good and Evil.
Pirelli - Although the compounds coming to Baku this year are a step softer compared to 2019, Pirelli foresees a one-stop strategy for today. Those obliged to start on the P Zero Red soft tyre – in other words, the top 10 – are likely to use a soft-hard strategy, even though this gives much less flexibility in the pit stop window.
Another good option which can be used by those outside the top 10 – is to use the P Zero Yellow medium and P Zero White hard compounds: especially if we experience track temperatures in excess of 50 degrees.
Two DRS zones – There will be two DRS zones in today’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The first will have its detection point at the SC2 line while its activation zone will be at 54m after Turn 2. The second one will have a detection point at Turn 20 with its activation point located 347m after Turn 20.
Race distance – Drivers will need to complete 51 laps in total to cover the total race distance of 306.049km. The pitlane speed limit will be 80kph during the race.
Seven – Shops are open seven days a week and generally open around at 10 a.m. and close around 10 p.m. Offices and banks are generally open between 9 a.m and 6 p.m. from Monday until Friday.
Sunrise – Baku is the first European city which the sun rises in.
Caspian Sea – Baku lies on the eastern side of Azerbaijan and is surrounded by the Caspian Sea which is the world’s largest lake. At 28 metres below sea level, Baku is the lowest lying national capital in the world.
3 million – Baku is home to 3 million people which makes it the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region.
Neft Dashari – The city is famous for the unique Oil Rocks which is the largest inhabited and oldest oil city in the world, lying in the middle of the Caspian Sea.
City of Contrasts’ - Baku earned this title with having perfectly combined the beauty and intrigue of its ancient past with its ambition to establish itself as a modern European city featuring award winning architecture, business centres and skyscrapers.
Tipping – It is not expected across Azerbaijan but is common in Baku. Occasionally a service charge is included on the bill, particularly in more established hotels and restaurants.
Manat – The national currency is the Azerbaijani Manat. The Manat notes come in 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 denominations. Interestingly, it is not possible to exchange other currency into Manat in countries other than Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijani – That is how the official language of Azerbaijan is called. However, many people speak also Russian, Turkish and English.