After the first two free practice sessions around the 3.7-mile Baku City Circuit, the quotes have started rolling in from the drivers.
In brief, the expectation that the Baku, Azerbaijan street circuit would offer a unique mix of high speed straights and tight, narrow corners proved prescient.
Here’s a number of driver quotes following today’s practice sessions, primarily via team releases:
- Lewis Hamilton: “A good day for me and a nice way to start the weekend. The track isn’t easy: not because the layout is particularly difficult to learn but because it’s very slippery. It’s Monaco-esque in terms of braking and how close the barriers are but you’re arriving at much higher speeds. It’s a real challenge. It takes a lot of focus, which is something I like. I’ve enjoyed driving here today.”
- Sebastian Vettel: “I don’t think I had a bad day, we are missing some speed but I’m sure we can improve.”
- Valtteri Bottas: “It was an interesting day for me, I really like the track. It’s very demanding, it has some high speed corners and some twisty, more technical areas, so it’s definitely one of the most challenging tracks on the calendar, but at the same time it’s a lot of fun. Even though I felt good today, we can still improve the car a lot and get more from the tyres. I have high expectations for the weekend, but we have to keep working because at a new track there’s always more to learn, which I enjoy. It’s interesting finding out all the secrets corner by corner. We need to work hard to keep finding more laptime from me and from the car because we have the opportunity for another good result this weekend.”
- Max Verstappen (to verstappen.nl): “I really enjoy the Baku circuit. The track is still slippery and the high speeds on the straights make braking for the corners challenging. Because I only completed three full laps in FP1, which was really all about getting to know the track, it meant I had to find my comfort zone in FP2 before I could really push and work on the car’s set-up. Luckily I was able to a lot of laps in the afternoon. All in all it wasn’t a great start but it should be better tomorrow.”
- Kevin Magnussen: “It’s an awesome circuit and quite a challenge. The car didn’t feel fantastic in the first session but it felt much better in FP2 with the set-up progress we’d made and also the track improving. I’m pretty happy with the balance of the car. We’ve got a little work to do with brake locking, but that should get better with the track improvement. I’m looking forward to getting back out tomorrow once we’ve worked a bit more on the car. I think we’re set for an interesting weekend.”