The 2017 Azerbaijan GP takes place this weekend at the Baku street circuit and marks the eighth round of the 2017 Formula One World Championship, as it is scheduled to join the calendar this season. The first Formula One race at the circuit, in 2016, was named the European Grand Prix.
Azerbaijan GP timetable – All times are local (Azerbaijan is GMT 4)
Thursday June 22
15:00: FIA press conference
Friday June 23
13:00 – 14:30: First free practice
17:00 – 18:30: Second free practice
19:00: FIA press conference
Saturday June 24
14:00 – 15:00: Third free practice
17:00 – 18:00: Qualifying
18:00: FIA post qualifying press conference
Sunday June 25
17:00 – 19:00: European GP
19:00: FIA post race press conference
European GP Info
No of Laps: 51
Circuit Length: 6.003km
Lap Record: 1:46.485 – Nico Rosberg
2016 Winner: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
Azerbaijan GP talking points:
1. Can Ferrari strike back?
Ferrari are ready to bounce back after the most disappointing race of the season so far, the 2017 Canadian Grand Prix, in which the Maranello team did not manage to finish on the podium for the first time in the current F1 championship. A bad weekend in Montreal, with incidents and technical issues for both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen means that Ferrari have lost the lead in the Formula 1 Constructor Standings, while Sebastian Vettel’s advantage in the Formula 1 Driver Standings is down to only 12 points ahead of the 2017 Azerbaijan GP. It will therefore be very important for the Italian team to put in a strong performance in Baku and show Mercedes that the fight is still on.
2. Will Baku serve up exciting racing?
For all the pre-race expectation that Baku would deliver plenty of drama and emotions, last year’s race had very little incident as Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg led from start to finish and 18 of the 22 cars came home unscathed. The widely-held belief was that F1’s drivers had seen the chaos of the preceding GP2 races which resulted in numerous Safety Car periods and decided they would tread carefully come race day. However, the situation this year has closed the performance gap between teams in different areas of the grid with a titanic title fight at the front between Mercedes and Scuderia Ferrari and a much tighter midfield battle, while also given the fact that DRS now has less of an impact on actual overtakes under the sport’s new regulations, the drivers may be forced to take more risks in order to pass cars in front.