Following the tight and twisting confines of the streets of Monte Carlo, Formula One drivers are set to flex their muscles on another street circuit today, albeit on a very different one with the Baku City Circuit presenting a different challenge to Monaco. F1Technical's Balázs Szabó picks out the vital facts ahead of today's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
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 when the field visited the fabulous city of Baku in 2019.
6.003km – The Baku City Circuit is the third longest race track on the current Formula One calendar, only Spa-Franchorchamps and Jeddah lying 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.
Formula Two – The Baku City Circuit plays host to the sixth 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. Yesterday's sprint race was won by Frederik Vesti while it was Dennis Hauger, who won today's feature race after the otherwise dominant Juri Vips clipped the wall at Turn 10.
Once – So far, Baku has hosted F1 race on five 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 while Sergio Perez won last year's event after his team mate Max Verstappen lost an otherwise easy victory due to a puncture.
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 two victories courtesy of Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez.
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.
One-stop strategy- Pirelli thinks that the 51-lap Azerbaijan Grand Prix is a clear one-stopper, under normal circumstances. But there are two ways to approach it, and also a high safety car probability, which could turn things around entirely.
The easiest way is to start on the P Zero Yellow medium and then move onto the P Zero White hard. This gives a wide pit stop window and therefore plenty of options, making it a good conservative choice. Those wishing to try something a bit edgier could use soft to hard. The soft stint will deliver a bit of extra speed initially, but it means an earlier pit stop and more careful management.
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.