A new tribe visits Baku

A new tribe visits Baku

Postby meteorite » Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:02 am

An oasis city on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, Baku has greeted travellers to its cosmopolitan streets for more than two millennia. This year, after a successful reconnaissance last season, the spectacular worldwide circus of Formula One. Following in the steps of the caravans of the Spice Route traders and the camels on the Silk Road across the desert, but now dropping from the skies in a fleet of transport aircraft, the world-wide championship series is hosted this week by Baku, now capital of Azerbaijan.

The race is run in the storied streets of the Old City, threading its way through the fortified buildings surrounding the great 11th Century tower and castle, looping back along the Caspian seafront promenade. The nearby deserts generate the hot blasts that blow among the tall blocks of buidings lining the circuit, challenging the sleek aerodynamics of the cunninly engineered cars with sudden blasts of wind from changing directions, on winding old streets originally made for camels, but now winding through near-blind corners and alleys at 300 kph.Skill and courage beyond are sorely tested for every meter of the circuit.

So it is no surprise that the ultimate pole position was won by this season's championship leader, by a few hundredths of a second, looking for his fifth title, over four-time and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton. But so far this season Vettel's Ferrari has had teh legs of Hamilton's Mercedes, buut only by the smallest margin. Today Bottas also for Mercedes came third, while Ferrari's other world chanpion made a minor error that relegated him to sixth, But he will be charging after the two Red Bulls ahead in quick order.

the weather forecast is weather clear, warm, with wild gust of wind pushing at the racers from every angle. It will be a very big test of every driver's highest skill. And who will be swiftest only luck can predict.

Resuts of the three qualifying sessions were:


27 29 Apr 2018 Baku City Circuit, Baku

Pos No Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:42.762 1:43.015 1:41.498 19
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:42.693 1:42.676 1:41.677 21
3 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:43.355 1:42.679 1:41.837 21
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:42.857 1:43.482 1:41.911 20
5 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:42.642 1:42.901 1:41.994 19
6 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:42.538 1:42.510 1:42.490 20
7 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1:43.021 1:42.967 1:42.523 20
8 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:43.992 1:43.366 1:42.547 20
9 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:43.746 1:43.232 1:43.066 20
10 55 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:43.426 1:43.464 1:43.351 20
11 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:44.359 1:43.585 16
12 35 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 1:44.261 1:43.886 17
13 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault 1:44.010 1:44.019 16
14 16 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 1:43.752 1:44.074 17
15 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:43.674 1:44.759 14
16 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Renault 1:44.489 8
17 10 Pierre Gasly Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 1:44.496 9
18 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:45.541 10
NC 28 Brendon Hartley Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 1:57.354 5
NC 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari DNF 2

Q1 107% time - 1:49.715

Note - Hulkenberg penalised five grid places for an unscheduled gearbox change. Grosjean and Hartley failed to set a Q1 time within the 107% requirement - race at stewards' discretion.
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Re: A new tribe visits Baku

Postby meteorite » Tue May 01, 2018 12:11 am

Last year when the F1 circus set up their tents in Baku, depending on how one feels about such things, the race was an enormous sucess or disappointing failure. The racing press described it with words like "wild" and "crazy" and"incredible". This year proved they hadn't seen anything yet.

Qualifying, under brisk but sunny skies, was relatively speaking reasonably normal, although a chill wind off the Caspian Sea kept tire temperatures down and may have led to some overoptimistic readings for the morrow. And the forecast for the morrow was a slightly higher morning temperature, and sun under a rising wind. Those Azeris - such masters of understatement.

Things got underway as predicted. The promenade of high-end Persian carpets, laid from the drivers' access door to the bus that carries them around the circuit to greet the crowds, had to be taped down lest the wind make them literal flying carpets indeed. The folkloric costumes of the dance troupe, with hoods and fur trim and heavy Cossack coat cloth drew much envy from the crowds. And for what might be the first time in F1 history, everyone was comfy in the Nomex fire suits. In the pits team managers worried about the effects of the cold on racing tires, and devised scheme to keep them in their heating blankets right till they were bolted to the car.Elaborate tire strategies were devised. But the racing teams couldn't control the winds.

On the grid the teams could see that they would have tailwinds to the first series of corners, but beyond was a mystery. The labyrinthine streets wound in every direction and the abutting mid-height buildings, often with curved facades, twisted the winds an every way. There were sudden crosswind blasts at every corner. The course climbs and descends a hill inland, adding to the challenge. And the wind was drifting to the north, and increasing in spped to a young gale, while the temperature sank.

It took one one through the first corners to disclose the problems. As the cars reversed directions, tailwinds became headwinds, crosswinds at every intersection added to the fun, and all of this was on cold tires from the start. Paint was being swapped all around the track, one crunch toward the back eliminated the Williams of Sergey Sirotkin. Kimi Raikkonen misjudged one closing curve and spiked Esteban Ocon to the wall, at the expense of his nosepiece and much race time. Others made pit stops for unknown reasons, though some simply wanted to change tires. This required a safety car while the debris was cleared.

Racing resumed with Bottas harrying the faster Ferrari, and Hamilton dropping back. He still managed to keep increasing his lead on everyone else, notably the very quick Red Bulls under pressure from the Force India of "Cheko" Perez, both Renault drivers, the McLaren pair and Lance Stroll. Even the backmarkers were challenging with the Sauber a real contender. Meanwhile every one was losing tire grip at a difference but increasing rate as the thermometer plunged. Teams desperately pitted to renew tire sets in search of the right compound, but that just added wear problems as well. It was not a tire buster's happy day.

The Red Bulls were having their own private feud. Verstappen had come out of the starting melee ahead, but Ricciardo had the faster car. The result was an enduring duel with too many phenomenal avoidances, as Verrstappens car was fast enough txo defend. The climax came on lap 39 when Riccciardo,, trailing, feinted right then dove left to pass. Verstappen committed a cardinal sin of racing - having moved once to block right he moved a second time back lft - but an onrushing Ricciardo was already in that space. The resultant crash eliminated both cars, littered the track with debris, and led to a long safety car period.Romain Grosjean of Hass was weaving along to keep his tires warm when he unconsciously brushed one of the steering wheel switches. It dealt with bake balance so next time a Romain swerved right and hit the brakes, the car grabbed control fro him and swerved into the wall. On his radio, Romain's "Oh, NOOOOOO!!!" would melt the hardest heart.

Grosjean's grief also extended the safety car period. so few laps were left. Hamilton had floated up to the lead as Vettel and Bottas took pit stops during the safety period. So everyone knew with two long laps to go, Hamilton was dead meat as the Ferraris were not only faster, but for mysterious reason could warm up their tire to better grip far more quickly than anyone else in the race. so in the bend leading up to the start of the final lap,Vettel floored his Ferrari, ducked inside Bottas and passed him - then cntinued on, tires pouring smoke, down the escape road as Bottas, Hamilton, and even Peres motored by.Tires ruined, Vettel could only watch as part way through the finishing lap Bottas hit debris and his tire exploded and he slowed to a crawl. In one heartbraking incident not his fault or that of the team, he dropped from winner to last classified finisher. In the scramble behind, Kimi Raikkonen slipped past Perez, whose score nonetheless gave him the most podium positions of any Mexican driiver.

This one will take some digesting - as among other things t puts Hamilton into the championship points lead. ||I'ts going to be a season.


27 29 Apr 2018 Baku City Circuit, Baku


Pos No Driver Car Laps Time/Retired Pts
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 51 1:43:44.291 25
2 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 51 +2.460s 18
3 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 51 +4.024s 15
4 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 51 +5.329s 12
5 55 Carlos Sainz Renault 51 +7.515s 10
6 16 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 51 +9.158s 8
7 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault 51 +10.931s 6
8 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 51 +12.546s 4
9 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Renault 51 +14.152s 2
10 28 Brendon Hartley Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 51 +18.030s 1
11 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 51 +18.512s 0
12 10 Pierre Gasly Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 51 +24.720s 0
13 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 51 +40.663s 0
14 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 48 DNF 0
NC 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 42 DNF 0
NC 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 39 DNF 0
NC 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 39 DNF 0
NC 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 10 DNF 0
NC 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 0 DNF 0
NC 35 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 0 DNF 0

Note - Magnussen received a 10-second time penalty for causing a collision.
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