From one street circuit to another.
For all the similarities between the Circuit de Monaco and Baku City Circuit, with their low-speed corners and unforgiving barriers, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix represents a very different challenge to the one we faced in Monaco a fortnight ago. Baku is a whole lot faster and is home to one of the longest straights on the calendar. Unpredictability is something of the norm when Formula 1 races on the streets of Azerbaijan’s capital, so brace yourself for the unexpected.
To make sure you’re clued up for our weekend on the shores of the Caspian Sea, we’ve put together our latest preview. Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren F1 Team Principal Andreas Seidl give their take on the challenge that awaits, while we reveal what to keep an eye out for on the streets of Baku and give you the details of some McLaren merch that’s going to be a must-have this summer.
How to follow
|Where||Baku City Circuit|
|When||4 - 6 June|
|Start time||16:00 local, 13:00 BST, 08:00 EDT|
|Follow||TEAMStream and the McLaren App for exclusive commentary and insight|
What they say
“It was a great feeling to be on the podium in Monaco after a well-executed weekend from the team. We’re looking to keep this positive momentum going as we head to Baku. I’m looking forward to jumping in the car and racing on another street circuit for a second race in a row. Baku is a unique race with a mix of long straights and slow corners that make it an exciting challenge to master. It’s also unpredictable as you always get the sense that there will be opportunities, so we’ll need to be ready to make the most of them if they come our way.
“The competition around us is providing some great battles on track. We need to keep pushing to get everything we can out of the car and stay out of trouble, as there’s little room for error when it comes to street circuits. The key for us is to find consistency throughout the weekend to be able to walk away with a good amount of points on Sunday.”
“Monaco wasn’t my weekend but I’m looking to bounce back. It’s been important to take time to reset and refocus before heading to Baku. The team and I have been working hard in the sim to understand, analyse and pinpoint the key areas we need to improve. We know the car has good potential, we just need to put all pieces together to unlock it. There’s still that element of adapting to a new car which I’m sure will come with the more time and mileage behind the wheel. I’m going to keep working at it, build on the progress we made in Portugal and Spain and try to feel as one with the car.
“Baku is a really cool street circuit and one of those races where potentially anything could happen. The track is known for having one of the longest straights on the calendar with three cars being able to run side-by-side as you head into Turn One. Hopefully, we can get the car into the right window from the off on Friday and have a solid weekend.”
“After an eventful weekend in Monaco, that saw us on the podium for the second time in five races, our attention now turns to another exciting street circuit in Baku. We’re continuing to make a good start to the season through the hard work of the entire team both at the factory and the track alongside our colleagues at Mercedes HPP. However, we need to remain focused and look to keep consolidating our performances one race weekend at a time. It’s crucial we stay on top of reliability, make the right calls and extract the most from our package to stay in the closely-contested fight with our competitors.
“It’s great to be returning to Baku after missing it last season due to the pandemic. In comparison to Monaco, Baku has very different characteristics that make it a different challenge this weekend. The contrast in the layout sees an unusually long straight for a street circuit, with numerous slow corners that will present opportunities and challenges for the teams. Finding the optimal balance to get the best from the car will be key. The general nature of street circuits also leaves no margin for error. We’re ready to go racing and fight for some good points this weekend.”
What the stats say
If you include his two F2 outings here, Lando has never finished outside the points on the streets of Baku. Speaking of not finishing outside points, Lando is currently on a run of 10 consecutive top 10-finishes, stretching all the way back to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix last year. On the two previous occasions he’s finished on the podium in F1, he’s followed up with a top-five result on his next outing. After bagging a points finish in Baku’s inaugural grand prix, which was billed as the European Grand Prix, Daniel followed up with victory in 2017 having been as low as 17th at one point in the race.
What to watch out for
“Baku is a very different circuit to Monaco, even though it is a street circuit,” says McLaren F1 Director, Strategy and Sporting Randy Singh. “The long straight, in particular, makes it much more power-sensitive. Engine power and drag level have much more of an impact than it does at Monaco.
“Typically, we see overtaking along the 2.2-km straight. Because it’s so long, it’s a bit less power-dominated, as your chance of overtaking goes up due to the slipstream from the car in front.
“Pirelli is bringing the softest tyres to Baku this year. In 2019, we used C4-C2, this time it’s C5-C3, so it will be interesting to see how well the C5 holds up. It might end up being a qualifying tyre that you wouldn’t necessarily want to start the race on.
“There’s also a relatively high chance of a Safety Car, but we could have said the same for Monaco. Who would have expected we’d have a Safety Car at the first four races but not there?!”
What to wear
Sun is shinin’ in the sky
There ain’t a cloud in sight
It’s stopped rainin’ everybody’s in the play
And don’t you know
It’s a beautiful new day.
The meteorological summer is here folks and Mr Blue Sky has rocked up right on time. Not only does life seem just that little bit better when the sun is out, but it’s also an excuse to don a pair of shades: the one fashion item that’s guaranteed to make you look cooler. We’ve teamed up with SunGod to bring you a collection of limited-edition sunglasses that should be your style go-to this summer. Each pair is built with SunGod’s 8KO lens technology and ultralightweight, durable frames, while there’s a hint of Papaya and the McLaren speedmark to boot.
Competition time! Well, almost…
We’ve got an awesome giveaway lined up this week, but we’re not allowed to tell you what it is just yet. You’re going to have to sit tight a little longer, but we promise it will be worth it. To make sure you’re the first to hear the details and to be in with a chance of winning, sign up to McLaren Plus below.
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