After the 2020 Azerbaijan Grand Prix was postponed and eventually cancelled we finally get to revisit the Baku City Circuit on Sunday 6th of June, famous for the unique features and challenges the circuit presents to the racers.
The Azerbaijan Grand Prix will be held in the capital of Baku and as a street circuit it is able to showcase the best of Baku in it’s historic city centre to its fantastic seaside promenade. As an old city, Baku has many narrow roads and tight corners, such as the uphill section after the 12th corner which leads straight to the old town hall, it requires the drivers to hold a lot of confidence in their driving as well as accuracy and courage. However, the drivers really get to show off their high speeds with the 2.2 kilometer (1.3 miles) straight promenade, perfect opportunities to snatch a place on the winners podium.
Although the first Azerbaijan Grand Prix was in 2017, the first time the Baku City Circuit was used for Formula 1 was in the 2016 European Grand Prix which saw Nico Rosberg take first place followed by Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button taking 5th and 11th place respectively.
On the 29th April 2018, we saw quite a bit of tension at the beginning of the race with incidents with punctures and suspension damage from contact between Fernando Alonso and Sergey Sirotkin, as a result of this chaos Sergio Pérez struck the back of Kimi Räikkönen which ended up requiring a pit stop. However this was not the only incident for Räikkönen as he later had a major collision with Esteban Ocon on the 3rd turn leading to Ocon’s immediate retirement from the race. By the 18th lap, teammates Hamilton and Valteri Bottas were in 2nd and 3rd, constantly reappearing in 1st place Vettel’s mirrors. Unfortunately, 3 laps until the finish, with Bottas in first and Hamilton in second, Bottas suffered a tyre puncture which forced him to retire from the race which must have been extremely frustrating when he was so close to the final lap. The final results saw Hamilton taking first place, followed by Räikkönen and Pérez.
Tension was forming between Hamilton and Bottas in 2019, despite being teammates, it was clear Bottas was still frustrated about his unfortunate loss in the previous year’s race at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Hamilton and Bottas stuck close by each other throughout the entire race, overtaking Charles Leclerc on the 30th lap when he made a much needed pit stop which ultimately pushed him back from 1st to 5th place. However, it could be said that this energetic rivalry paid off for Bottas as he received a sweet victory coming in first place, followed by Hamilton and Vettel in 2nd and 3rd, additionally this was also the fourth straight one-two wins for Mercades in 2019 at the time of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
As the 2020 Azerbaijan Grand Prix was cancelled we are awaiting the 6th race of the season for 2021 (7th race including the pre-season testing) where we will also be seeing Mick Schumacher, son of Michael Schumacher who retired in 2012 at his final race in China in 7th place. We hope that Mick will be following in his father’s footsteps when Michael was in his heyday as Mick has shown his talent and passion for racing since his delayed debut in March 2021 (originally planned for 2020) we believe we will only see improvement as he acclimatises to Formula 1 racing and hopefully have a place on the winner’s podium like his father.