Germany’s Nico Rosberg, a two-time champion of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, came to the race with the goal of winning. And he did just that, winning the race in a dramatic fashion after a long night of overtime. The win was not only Rosberg’s first of the season, but it was also his first victory at the Baku circuit.
The 2016 Formula 1 season has been a rollercoaster. The season started off in thrilling fashion, with both Mercedes drivers fighting ferociously to be the first of the Mercedes-powered teams to win the season. As the season progressed, Hamilton held his position as the sport’s undisputed king, while Vettel continued his duel with Hamilton.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team has taken a close fourth in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix held in Baku. Lewis Hamilton has achieved his first points of the season, whilst Nico Rosberg’s race was cut short due to an engine problem.. Read more about azerbaijan grand prix start time and let us know what you think.The Azerbaijan Grand Prix will be broadcast live on Sunday on Radio 5 Live and on the Sport website from 13:00 (French time). In the end, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes won and the world champion will start from the front row in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s title rival Max Verstappen right behind him. But it could have been very different for the seven-time champion, and he knew it. Hamilton described the situation he found himself in after the second qualifying session, following two difficult days in Baku, as a little overwhelming. He says starting the race from first place is one of the most satisfying feelings, even though he and the team were not even in the top 10 for most of the weekend. How did they do it? According to team boss Toto Wolff, it was a very extensive development programme and we were not afraid to try extreme things, as extreme as we [ever] experienced. There is no doubt that some will think that Mercedes filleted in the practice sessions, hiding its true pace. But it wasn’t like that at all. Hamilton was seventh in the first session on Friday, 11th in the second, and was outside the top ten for most of the final session before Saturday’s qualifying. The car just didn’t have enough grip and the drivers and the team didn’t know what to do. It was only towards the end of the last hour that Mercedes finally got the car into a decent position, as Wolff said. In the first practice it was not too bad, but the second and third practice were a disaster, said Hamilton. We changed a few things last night, but that didn’t fix the situation. We tried a few different things in P3 and then, at the very end, we tried something that unlocked the settings. We couldn’t get the tires to work like the other cars, and the difference was that suddenly the tires started working and we were back in the game. That was the biggest jump we could make between P3 and qualifying, that’s for sure. It was literally night and day, the car. After a crucial change of set-up on the final lap of final practice, in which Hamilton set the third fastest time, helped by what the team believe was a 0.6 second gap, this route continued in qualifying. According to Hamilton I was very anxious because you don’t know if you are going to succeed or not. In the end, you just have to let it go. We were here until 11 last night, made small changes after 10 minutes, and we just have to shake it off and do our best. His teammate Bottas didn’t do so well. The two Mercedes have different set-ups, with Hamilton having less downforce than the Finn, but Wolff said that did not explain why Bottas was 1.2 seconds slower and dropped to 10th. According to Wolff, [in the race the height of the wing] can have an influence, but the difference is that the car was very difficult and Lewis got confidence and Valtteri did not. In the last race, he could have done it. Bottas improved his previous lap by 0.5 seconds after five corners, but the last of the four red flags seemed to herald a staccato but wildly exciting qualifying session. Lance Stroll was one of the many casualties in Turn 15.
Where does that Ferrari speed come from?
Ironically, Hamilton may have unintentionally undermined his own chances of pole position. When he started his first lap on the final qualifying lap, Leclerc was right behind and completed his lap. Hamilton’s drag increased the Ferrari’s speed as it approached the line, and the result was a lap that was 0.232 seconds faster than Hamilton wanted to go. After Yuki Tsunoda crashed his Alfa Tauri and Carlos Sainz’s second Ferrari passed him, pole was assured for Leclerc. You’ll never know if Hamilton or Verstappen could overtake Leclerc. Both felt they had time left, but Leclerc also felt he could have improved his position and would have fought for pole anyway. As with Hamilton – but for very different reasons – it was a surprise. If Mercedes’ attempts to become competitive were unexpected, the same can be said of Ferrari’s pace throughout the weekend. Leclerc and Sainz were fast from the start and it was not at all what the Italian team and its drivers had hoped for. Yes, they were leading in Monaco two weeks ago, but that was different. All year Ferrari has been fast in the slow corners, so they decided that the tight, twisty roads would give them the best chance this year, even if they didn’t think they would be as fast as they have been. But in Baku we expected the long pit lane to betray their lack of engine power and they would return to the head of the pack. Ferrari installed the smallest rear fender to compensate for the lack of power, and the car’s inherent low-speed grip on a circuit with a series of 90-degree turns and a low-wear surface did the rest. I don’t have a full explanation [for our pace], Leclerc said, but the factory and track guys have worked hard since the beginning of 2020, when we started the season and it was very difficult. And the car got better and better – small steps and small steps in the right direction. We didn’t expect to be as competitive as this weekend, so it’s a bit of a surprise. But we worked hard for it.
Why were there so many mistakes?
A series of accidents and incidents have made the qualifications one of the most dramatic in recent history: Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) and finally Tsunoda all caused red flags when their afternoon runs ended with a collision with the wall. Both Stroll and Giovinazzi lost out in Turn 15, a turn that has been problematic all weekend. Verstappen also crashed there in final practice, as did Leclerc on Friday, and several other drivers, including Hamilton, nearly crashed. And Sebastian Vettel nearly dropped his Aston Martin in qualifying: He blocked hard and just missed the wall. It’s a tricky descent through a series of bends, the last of which is a right turn that takes the pressure off the outside front wheel just as the riders brake for the next 90-degree left turn. It has always caused problems, but this year it was particularly difficult, and Vettel explained why. It’s a tailwind, he said. It’s downhill, bumpier than last time, and windy. It’s choppy, and you don’t know what your grip will be until you’re on the ground. It’s kind of a gamble on the risks you can take. I made a mistake and took too much. Stupid qualifier : Verstappen disappointed with P3
How will the race go?
Ferrari’s unexpected speed and Mercedes’ recovery was not good news for Verstappen, who was considered the favourite for pole position before qualifying. Red Bull led the race all weekend, but qualifying went poorly for them. Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez was the fastest in the final practice session, but made a mistake on his only lap of the final qualifying session, preventing Verstappen from being dragged out on the first lap. He wasn’t happy after that, and who could blame him? For most of the weekend he must have believed he had a great chance of extending his lead over Hamilton in the championship he built up with his win in Monaco, and now he will start behind the seven-time champion. It was a shame, Verstappen said, but we’re still third and can keep fighting. We have a good car and it’s up to the tyres to keep it alive. At the start of the race, Hamilton looks to be in a strong position. Not only has Mercedes been better than qualifying – and faster than Red Bull – at most tracks this season, but Hamilton’s low-downforce setup has given his car tremendous speed on straights. This means that not only is it hard to get around, but it’s also easier to get past if it’s behind someone. His biggest concern is whether the lack of downforce will affect tire wear, but he’s confident he’ll be fine. We have the right balance with the wing, he said. In terms of race pace, we weren’t as fast as Red Bull [in Friday practice], but we were in the group, so hopefully we’ll get close to those guys [Leclerc and Verstappen]. Tyre wear could also be an issue for Leclerc, who had serious problems on the track on Friday and suffered a so-called rear blowout, where the rubber tears and loses grip. Leclerc said: My P2 pace [in the race] wasn’t very high, but it wasn’t my best session either: First I hit the wall and then I couldn’t maintain the tyres properly during the long runs. So it was more because of me than anything else. But it doesn’t matter. I know where to work and it should be fine. With three drivers considered by most to be the best in the world occupying the top three places on the grid, a seemingly competitive fourth Alfa Tauri in the hands of Pierre Gasly, and the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz in fifth place, the race – at a circuit known for its grand prix incidents – promises to be a really good one.It was Mercedes’ first ever race of the Formula One season, and their first race as the new team-mates of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. It was a race that was made difficult by the weather, with torrential rain and the damp track making the cars slide all over the place. Mercedes however, overcame these difficulties and finished first and second to claim both the pole position and the race victory at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.. Read more about azerbaijan grand prix time and let us know what you think.
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