Grand Prix of Azerbaijan – Race

F1

Ferrari’s race strategy is going to be interesting as they have VET starting on supersofts and RAI on ultrasofts, based on the tyres on which they set their best times in Qualifying session 2 (Q2). Between them they have the Mercedes and Red Bull pairs on supersofts, so RAI will (presumably) be the first of the front runners to pit.

Provisional grid: VET, HAM, BOT, RIC, VER, RAI, OCO, PER, SAI, STR, SIR, ALO, LEC, HUL*, MAG, VAN, GAS, ERI, HAR, GRO
*HUL dropped from P9 to P14 due to a gearbox change
GRO also had a gearbox change but he was already P20
No mention of a penalty for HAR nearly causing a collision in Q1

The wind is still very gusty – the earlier F2 race saw 10km/hr differences in average lap speed because of the weather.
Air temperature 17°C; track 27°C; wind is between 9 and 31km/h

Green lights – the pit lane is open and cars head out for a partial lap before finding their spot on the grid
Looks like ERI has missed a braking point and taken to the escape road
Did RAI just tap the wall? His Ferrari’s tail stepped out and it looked like he tapped the tyres with his rear right wheel
LEC uses an escape road too
Looks like everyone has made it to the grid

The way they assembled the Azerbaijan flag during the anthem was neat, having people carry the three separate bars and then meet up

VET leads everyone away on the formation lap
HAR and GAS starting on soft tyres; most of the midfield on supersofts

01/51: Everyone cleanly through Turn 1
But contact in Turn 2 – looks like SIR has a puncture
RAI nudges OCO in T3, pushing the Force India into the wall
Safety Car deployed
ALO has a puncture, limping back to the pits

02[SC]: VET, HAM, BOT, RIC, VER, RAI
RAI pits – soft tyres go on, as well as a new nose
ALO makes it to the pit lane – both right tyres are gone
Replay of ALO and HUL making contact

03[SC]: VET, HAM, BOT, RIC, VER, SAI, STR, PER, HUL, GAS, LEC, VAN, GRO, RAI, HAR, MAG, ALO, ERI; retirements: OCO, SIR
PER and GRO pit
Replay shows SIR run into the back of OCO
Radio for ALO reporting damage to the floor

04[SC]: Replay of RAI and OCO collision; OCO was clearly ahead but could have left more space for RAI; both drivers are blaming the other
Radio for VET reporting location of debris still on track

05/51[SC]: VET, HAM, BOT, RIC, VER, SAI, STR, HUL, GAS, LEC, VAN, RAI, HAR, GRO, PER, MAG, ALO, ERI; retirements: OCO, SIR
SC in at the end of this lap
VET weaving like crazy as HAM tries to stay right on his tail, waiting for the restart
Was he still weaving after the SC line? It’s not clear where they can start racing

06: VER dives inside RIC; RIC has to back off to let VER take P4
SAI takes advantage of RIC backing out – he’s past too

07: VET fastest lap 1:51.316
SAI makes a move on VER but VER holds on to P4
Radio from HAM – “need more grip”

08: VET f/lap 1:49.587
SAI has DRS but VER defends P4 from the Renault
HUL closing on RIC

09: HAM f/lap 1:48.376
HUL uses DRS and slipstreams past RIC for P5
Radio from VER complaining his battery isn’t charging; told it’s because he’s using it all
Radio for HUL passing along the news of VER’s battery issue

10/51: VET, HAM, BOT, SAI, VER, HUL, RIC, STR, LEC, RAI, GRO, GAS, PER, VAN, ALO, HAR, MAG, ERI
HUL past VER to take P5

11: HAM f/lap 1:47.192
RIC alongside VER into T1
HUL tags the wall with his rear left – he’s broken it – parks in the escape road

12: HAM f/lap 1:47.053
RIC around the outside of VER but VER defends pretty hard – was there contact?
Replay shows VER squeezed RIC and front wheel contact
LEC takes P7 from STR

13: VET f/lap 1:46.825
Radio from RIC asking about charging his battery too

14: GAS pits
There’s a branch on T2 but doesn’t look like the marshals are rushing to clear it

15/51: VET, HAM, BOT, SAI, VER, RIC, LEC, STR, RAI, PER, GRO, ALO, VAN, ERI, HAR, MAG, GAS; retirements: HUL, OCO, SIR
RAI takes P8 from STR

16: VET f/lap 1:46.722
SAI pits; soft tyres; rejoins P13
HAM fights a gust of wind; runs wide but stays out of the wall

17: RAI takes P6 from LEC
Radio for HAM warning him of tailwind in T16

18: Race control report DRS detection inactive – manual activation permitted
ERI in the escape road; reversing toward the track; rejoins

19: HAM f/lap 1:46.597

20/51: HAM f/lap 1:46.331
10sec penalty for MAG for incident with ERI

21: HAM f/lap 1:46.120
STR seems surprised as PER dives inside him; STR locks up and PER takes P8

22: HAM runs wide in T1
Radio from HAM – “these tyres are done”; “OK, box, box”

23: HAM pits from P2; soft tyres go on; did he cross the white line as he left the pit lane; rejoins P3
SAI inside ALO for P11

24: 5sec penalty for PER for overtaking under the SC

25/51: VET, BOT, HAM, VER, RIC, RAI, PER, LEC, GRO, SAI, ALO, STR, MAG, VAN, GAS, HAR, ERI; retirements: HUL, OCO, SIR

Half distance

26: Radio from VER – “I’m just stuck now”

27: RIC f/lap 1:45.883

28: RIC takes P4 from VER but VER fights back, forces RIC to back off and VER reclaims P4
Radio from HAM – “still waiting on these tyres” (to get up to performance); told “they’ll go the distance”

29: Radio from GRO – “this is insane” – is he refering to PER?

30/51: BOT f/lap 1:45.827
VET, BOT, HAM, VER, RIC, RAI, PER, GRO, SAI, LEC, STR, ALO, MAG, GAS, HAR, VAN, ERI
Radio from RAI – struggling with low tyre temps

31: VET pits; soft tyres go on; rejoins P2, comfortably ahead of HAM

32: VER f/lap 1:45.771

34: BOT f/lap 1:45.595
Radio from VER – “tyres are very cold”
Track temp has dropped 2°C since the start of the race

35/51: BOT, VET, HAM, VER, RIC, RAI, PER, GRO, SAI, LEC, STR, ALO, MAG, GAS, HAR, VAN, ERI
RIC f/lap 1:45.419
RIC makes the move stick this time – he’s taken P4 from VER

36: HAM f/lap 1:45.412

38: BOT f/lap 1:45.149
RIC pits; ultrasofts go on; rejoins P5

39: VER pits; ultras too; rejoins P4, just ahead of RIC

40/51: BOT, VET, HAM, VER, RIC, RAI, PER, GRO, SAI, LEC, STR, ALO,
VER defends into T1
RIC runs into the rear of VER – they’re both out!
Safety Car deployed

41[SC]: BOT pits
VET pits too, followed by HAM
SC will lead cars through the pit lane
Unsafe release by Ferrari – RAI left the box with a McLaren alongside

42[SC]: Replay shows VER moved twice under braking
Lapped cars passing the SC

43[SC]: BOT, VET, HAM, RAI, PER, GRO, SAI, LEC, STR, ALO, MAG, GAS, HAR, VAN, ERI; retirements: VER, RIC, HUL, OCO, SIR
Radio from HAM pointing out front tyres are glazed; told “keep working them”
GRO has put it in the wall behind the SC!
Medical Car deployed but GRO is out of the car and seems to be OK
Radio from GRO claiming ERI hit him but ERI was miles away

44[SC]: Medical Car picks up GRO
Flatbed truck picking up GRO’s car

45/51[SC]: BOT, VET, HAM, RAI, PER, SAI, LEC, STR, ALO, MAG, GAS, HAR, VAN, ERI; retirements: GRO, VER, RIC, HUL, OCO, SIR

46[SC]: Marshals still loading the Haas onto the recovery truck
Truck starts to move off as the SC leads the pack past it
Indy is so much better at handling these situations – big safety vehicles protect the marshals, and prevent cars hitting the recovery truck

47[SC]: SC in at the end of this lap
BOT lets the SC pull away but then sets off early

48: VET locks up into T1, runs wide; HAM takes P2; RAI also passes VET
Radio from VET – “big flat spot”

49: BOT has a puncture – he touched some debris
PER takes P3 from VET

50/51: HAM, RAI, PER, VET, SAI, LEC, ALO, STR, VAN, HAR, GAS, ERI, MAG

51 = final lap: VET closing on PER, trying to harry him into a mistake

HAM takes the chequered flag
RAI P2, PER P3, VET P4

Provisional result: HAM, RAI, PER, VET, SAI, LEC, ALO, STR, VAN, HAR; ERI, GAS, MAG
DNF: BOT, GRO, VER, RIC, HUL, OCO, SIR

Oh, MAG has been given a 10sec penalty for the incident with GAS … but he was already outside the points

PER served his 5sec penalty when he pitted under the SC – apparently that’s legal
However he’s been summoned to see the stewards for a potential illegal use of DRS

Next race = Spain in 2 weeks.