|Circuit||Baku City Circuit|
|Distance||306,049 km / 190,211 miles|
||Scuderia Ferrari||retired / mechanical
Maurizio Arrivabene: “I think that everything that happened today was clear to see for everyone, starting with the incident on the opening lap, with Kimi pushed into the barrier, then what happened to Sebastian on the restart lap after the Safety Car. We don’t want to get into an argument but I think I can say that some decisions that were not entirely clear, never worked in favour of our team. We fought hard even if the results don’t show it. Today, our car was on the pace and that was clear to see. The team demonstrated its strengths, from changing the engine on Seb’s car on Saturday to the work done on Kimi’s when the race was red flagged, to get it back out on track, despite the damage it had suffered. That’s Ferrari for you. We let our actions speak for us. We will continue in that vein immediately, in preparation for the remaining twelve races starting with the Austrian GP, with even more determination than before.”
Sebastian Vettel: “First of all, I think that today the car was very good. The pace was strong in the race. I think you could see that we were losing a bit here and there, but overall it was a good race. It was a very busy start, and Vallteri was very aggressive. As for what happened at the restart from the safety car, I don’t know why I got the penalty and Lewis didn’t. It’s disappointing, because it could have been a better result. I don’t have a problem with Lewis but I just think that what he did on the track was not ok. By now the decision is done but, in an episode like this one, I still think that if you give out a penalty, then it should be to both drivers.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Today many things happened that were out of our hands and unfortunately we paid a big price. After the start, at the second corner, I got hit by Bottas; I don’t know what he was doing, he braked very early but probably he noticed that and let the brakes off, went too fast and hit me. Because of that the rear end of my car hit the wall and I had a massive damage. We were able to keep going but then I was unlucky. The two Force Indias collided, some debris flew off and destroyed my rear tire. As a consequence my whole floor and the rear wing were damaged and we decided to retire. When the red flag stopped the race we thought that we might try and go back on track. The mechanics did and amazing job, managed to change the floor and the endplate in a very short time. But obviously my car was still not perfect and we decided to stop. It’s not a good day when your car retires twice in a race. I’m disappointed because, without all these things happening, my car would have been good. There’s nothing else we could have done, we tried our best.”
A crazy race but Seb extends his championship lead. Kimi out
Baku, 25 June – In the most amazing race of the season so far and possibly in the history of the sport, Seb Vettel took a fourth place which sees him extend his Drivers’ Championship lead to 14 points over his nearest rival. Unfortunately Kimi had to retire because of damage following a collision shortly after the start.
Just two corners in and already it was all kicking off, with Kimi pushed into the right hand side wall, when he had already got ahead of Bottas round the outside, with the Mercedes suffering a broken front wing. Seb found himself second behind Hamilton, with the other Ferrari still running in fifth. On lap 9, Seb set a fastest lap and he was less than 4 seconds off the leader. Kimi’s SF70H was no longer in good shape, but the duel between Perez and Verstappen ahead of him meant he was able to stay in touch. The Red Bull then had engine problems and the Iceman moved up one place.
Lap 12 and Kvyat parked at the side of the track, which brought out the safety car and Seb dashed into the pits to fit the Softs, with Kimi immediately doing the same. The neutral period changed everyone’s strategy, with fuel consumption now less of a concern, but keeping tyres up to temperature was more worrying.
The race resumed on lap 17 and Seb was doing a sterling job of fending off Perez, although Kimi couldn’t do the same and thus lost two places. But then the safety car had to come out again immediately because of debris on track, with a barge board on Kimi’s car shattering. The drivers had to drive through pit lane while the track was cleaned, then Hamilton slowed too much, with Seb almost running in to him which angered the Ferrari man. Then at the restart, Kimi got a right rear puncture from the debris of Perez’s Force India. The race was neutralised yet again and Raikkonen headed for the pits. But his tyre disintegrated, causing more damage and he had to retire. Shortly after that, the red flag was shown and the long break gave our mechanics time to perform another miracle on Kimi’s car to get him back out on track for the restart. But the work carried out in the “fast lane” to remove a broken component, led to an investigation. The race restarted at 18.18, with 27 laps remaining and this time Seb made a forceful attack, while simultaneously fending off Ricciardo. With everyone running Supersofts to the finish, the pace hotted up again.
That wasn’t the end of it. Hamilton had to stop to fix his loose head rest and at the same time, Seb was informed he had a 10 second stop-go penalty for “dangerous driving.” He came down pit lane and came out…in front of the Mercedes! And then it was Kimi’s turn to take a drive-through for the pit lane repairs.
On lap 36, the order was Ricciardo-Stroll-Magnussen-Ocon-Bottas, followed by Seb and Hamilton duelling it out. Vettel dispensed with Magnussen to go fifth. Then he overtook Ocon under braking for Turn 1 and for one lap the Force India was a buffer between him and his pursuers. Then it was a case of smashing the sector times and Seb set the quickest lap on lap 45. Three laps later, Kimi pitted for a final time, congratulating his mechanics, “Great work all the same.”
The final lap seemed to last forever and by the skin of his teeth, Sebastian held on to a fourth place which almost felt like a win.
Scuderia Ferrari drivers confident about the race
Baku, June 24th – Scuderia Ferrari drivers managed to lock out the second row of the grid for tomorrow’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix after an eventful P3 session, in which our mechanics did another splendid job of rebuilding Seb’s car after a precautionary engine change, following a hydraulic issue.
Kimi was third fastest in qualifying and commented: “The whole weekend has been about making the tires work well and today we struggled a bit more than yesterday. If you can get them working 100% on one lap you can easily go a lot faster, but it was not the case today. When we were able to switch the tires on, the car felt nice, but this feeling kept changing from lap to lap and from set to set. I did not feel comfortable going into the first corner and could not push so hard. It was easy to slide or make a small mistake. It was always on the edge of working and not working, but on the last lap it felt a bit better. Third place is obviously not a disaster, I take it happily. I think we did the best we could achieve today. In the race, with more laps, the tires should start working better. I’m positive that we are going to be a lot closer to our competitors”.
Sebastian didn’t use his car troubles to make any excuses: “The result is ok, but obviously I am not entirely happy and this qualifying didn’t help. I don’t have excuses, I could have done better. I think I had the rhythm at the end but just didn’t get everything right. We were not quick enough, but tomorrow I think we still have a good chance. The car has been fast during the races and that was the case yesterday too, on the long-runs. So, let’s see what happens. The start of my qualifying session was a bit slow, then by Q2 I think I had the car under control. But my Q3 was not ideal. I had to stop at the end of the pit-lane when the red flag came out and my tires got cold. Tomorrow, anyway, it could be a different story.”
Baku qualifying: Kimi ahead of Seb
Baku, 24 June – As qualifying came to an end in Azerbaijan, Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest with a time of 1:41.693. His German team-mate Sebastian Vettel was fourth in 1:41.841. The mechanics did a great job in the garage to get Seb’s SF70H ready in time for the session, fixing the hydraulic problem that developed in free practice. Both Scuderia Ferrari drivers ran Supersoft tyres for the entire session.
Seb 12th, held up with an hydraulic problem
Baku, 24 June – Ferrari finished second and twelfth in the third and final free practice session at the Baku circuit. Kimi Raikkonen posted a time of 1:42 837, running a set of Supersofts, as did Sebastian Vettel. The German managed a best time of 1:44.344 before a fluid leak on his car meant the system had to be checked over. Qualifying gets underway on the Azerbaijani track at 17h00 local time.
Kimi and Seb 4th and 5th at the end of P2
Baku, June 23rd – The first day of practice at Baku circuit is always interesting, with drivers using a lot of the run-off areas and trying out their reverse gear. The compromise between the fast and the twisty section means that, in the latter, drivers must rely heavily on mechanical grip – which is questionable on Friday. Different choices of set-up though, meant the times were very close. Kimi ended up fourth quickest with a 1min 43.489 seconds, while Seb recorded a best personal lap time of 1min 43.615s. The long runs were even more encouraging for the Scuderia Ferrari drivers, ahead of a long preparation for tomorrow’s P3 and Qualifying sessions.“The most challenging part of the day was to make the tires work”, said Kimi “to get them hot enough. And obviously, when they are not performing 100%, it’s a bit tricky out there on the track. The car feels ok, but we still have to work on that. If you manage to do that, then everything is a lot easier”. Seb’s comments reflect what was basically a day of learning: “We tried something in the afternoon, but I think it is difficult to find the rhythm here as the track is not easy. I believe I was not the only one to go down the escape roads. However, tomorrow is another day. I think we are close. Red Bull is very fast and today it was not just for one lap but throughout both sessions. However, I was pretty happy with our overall job. The straight here is very long, so you have to make sure you are quick enough there. Maybe we may still want to try a couple of things even tomorrow”.
Seb 3rd and Kimi 9th: Ferrari only ran the Softs
Baku – Formula 1 has moved on from Canada to Azerbaijan, the street circuit that made its debut last year. As expected, the track was still very dirty for the first free practice session. Sebastian Vettel was third fastest in 1:44.967 the fastest of those drivers who only used the Soft compound. Kimi Raikkonen was ninth in 1:46.000 and he wasn’t able to push to the limit because the session was stopped after Perez crashed.
Kimi, Seb gearing up for “specific layout” track
Baku, June 22nd – A different track and a different challenge await the Scuderia Ferrari drivers in Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, on the shores of the Caspian Sea. That’s how Kimi Raikkonen describes the newest circuit in the F1 calendar: “The Baku track is a unique place. It’s a street circuit, but nothing like Monaco and more similar to Singapore, with long straights and very narrow sections. Last year it was the first time we were racing here and it was difficult. It was very hot and quite tricky on the tire side, not very easy to manage. This year being the second time here, it should be easier for everybody, even though the cars are different and we have slightly different tires. Today it’s a bit cooler, but it is supposed to heat up over the weekend; let’s see how the weather will turn out. Last year there were many teams that proved to be fast and you would not expect that; maybe it will be the same thing this year, maybe not. As for us, we have been quite good everywhere this season; obviously there are stronger and weaker places, but our base level is quite strong and we expect to be in the fight. Then it’s a question of putting all the things together and try to be the fastest team”.
Sebastian Vettel is also looking forward to the weekend: “In Canada we didn’t have an ideal race. But I think we had a good recovery from there. Now, we’ll see what happens during this weekend. This is a different track with a specific layout. Last year we did a god job here in Baku. We finished second, struggled a little bit on Friday, but managed to recover well on Saturday. Now we are working real well in the team and I think things are coming together”.
“Street” and super quick: Baku is a set-up puzzle
Baku, 19 June – It’s the “youngest” circuit on the calendar and, at 6.003 kilometres, the second longest after Spa. It is undoubtedly one of the most unusual tracks on the Formula 1 calendar. It is a street circuit, running through the centre of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, but nevertheless it boasts a straight of 2.1 kilometres, which is over a third of the total distance and is tackled flat out. Last year, the highest recorded speed was in excess of 378 km/h. This year, it is unlikely the F1 cars will hit those sort of numbers because of their increased downforce and wider wheels. However, finding the right set-up for Baku will still be a difficult task for drivers and engineers, because when deciding on the optimal level of aerodynamic downforce, one has to weigh up the demands of the slowest section, with the need for speed down the straights. This type of circuit also requires excellent traction in the twistier corner and it is also tough when it comes to energy recovery. S
cuderia Ferrari’s advance party already arrived in the capital city on the banks of the Caspian Sea over the weekend. Indeed, just like the circuit, the city itself has two sides: one, dynamic and modern, the other more historic and friendly. The forecast is for sunny weather, but cooler than the heatwave conditions affecting parts of Europe at the moment. Pirelli is bringing its Medium, Soft and Supersoft compounds, as degradation here is higher than in Monaco and Montreal.
Seb Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen have gone for the same tyre choices: one set with the white stripe, four of yellow and eight of the softest compound that bear the red band. Last year, Seb finished second, while Kimi lost out on a podium place because of a penalty. The 2016 pole was 1’42”758 and it’s expected that this time will be beaten by some margin.