Paul Henman formula1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Qualifying in Baku is on Friday evening because it’s the first of this season’s Sprint Format weekends.
Note: this quali session is to set the grid for Sunday’s race; there’s a separate quali on Saturday to set the grid for the sprint.

“All bar three Formula 1 drivers have taken new power unit parts for this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix after the rule limiting how many components they may use was relaxed.” [racefans.net]

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Air temperature 20°C; track 39°C; humidity 78%
Queue of cars, all on soft tyres, waiting for the lights to turn green for the start of Q1
Brief yellow flag for ZHO
HAM 1:43.676
ALB 1:43.615
BOT 1:43.464
PIA 1:43.315
NOR 1:42.791
Another yellow flag
LEC 1:42.105
VER 1:41.887
(ALO P3)
Yellows – DEV is in the wall at Turn 3 – red flag – Q1 suspended with 10:17 remaining
Radio from MAG reporting an engine problem; he’s told it’s an electrical problem
It’s taking a while to separate DEV’s car from the tyre wall
Red Bull have changed VER’s headrest
2mins to restart; there’s already a line-up at pit exit
Replay from the start of Q1: DEV had an alarm that brake-by-wire was off, so they pushed him back into the garage – could that be the cause of him hitting the wall?
Q1 resumes
GAS has hit the wall – red flags again
Replay of SAI spinning out of turn 1; he has yet to set a time
The setting sun is frustrating LEC and VER
Q1 about to resume again, with 7:32 left; track temp has dropped to 33°C
5mins left; bottom 5 are OCO, TSU, GAS, DEV, SAI
SAI finally sets a time; goes P7
VER 1:41.398
MAG told to slow down and return to the pits
2mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are BOT, ZHO, MAG, GAS, DEV
Chequered flag
LEC 1:41.269
BOT goes P14, relegating HUL
Back of the grid: ZHO, HUL, MAG, GAS, DEV

Qualifying session 2
12 cars head out; LEC, NOR and SAI remain in the pits
ALB 1:42.203
ALO 1:41.400
(RUS and HAM go P2, P3)
PER 1:41.131
(VER P2)
5mins left; bottom 5 are ALB, PIA, BOT, SAR, NOR
LEC 1:41.037
Yellow flag – SAI in the escape road at Turn 3
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are ALB, TSU, PIA, BOT, SAR
VER 1:40.822
PIA P8, OCO P11
TSU P7. RUS P11
Middle of the grid: RUS, OCO, ALB, BOT, SAR

Qualifying session 3
Track temp down to 29°C
Top 10 shootout is between VER, LEC, PER, SAI, ALO, NOR, TSU, HAM, STR and PIA
8 cars on track; STR and PIA in the pits
PER 1:40.563
VER 1:40.445
SAI P3
LEC P2 on an identical time to VER
NOR P5
HAM P5
STR leaves the garage as the front runners enter the pits
STR’s DRS not working
Order after the first run: VER, LEC, PER, SAI, HAM, NOR, STR, TSU, ALO, PIA
3mins left; time for a final run
ALO locks up behind HAM on their out lap
LEC 1:40.203
Chequered flag
ALO P6
Front of the grid: LEC, VER, PER, SAI, HAM, ALO, NOR, TSU, STR, PIA

Provisional grid for the race: LEC, VER, PER, SAI, HAM, ALO, NOR, TSU, STR, PIA, RUS, OCO, ALB, BOT, SAR, ZHO, HUL, MAG, GAS, DEV

On to Saturday, and it’s time to focus on the Sprint part of the weekend – there’s the new Sprint Qualifying (SQ) and then the Sprint Race.
It’s worth noting that the new sprint format means it’s completely separate from the race.
The SQ session looks like a quicker version of regular Qualifying: SQ1 is 12 minutes, SQ2 is 10mins, and SQ3 is just 8mins.

The teams must use new tyres in the shootout: the medium compound in the first two sessions and the softs for the final top-10 fight.
Presumably McLaren and Alpha Tauri were aware of this when they used all their tyre allocations for NOR and TSU in Quali, as that means they won’t be allowed to run in SQ3 if they make it that far.
Update: BBC report there’s a loophole that doesn’t prevent teams using wet tyres, so in theory NOR and TSU could run on wets in SQ3 – weird.

Sprint Qualifying session 1 (SQ1) (12mins on new medium compound tyres)
Brief yellow for PIA
General complaints of low grip
GAS in the pits – more problems for the Alpine
SAR in the wall at Turn 15 – red flags; SQ1 won’t restart as there’s not enough time left (~30sec left)
Back of the grid for the sprint: ZHO, BOT, TSU, GAS, DEV

Sprint Qualifying session 2 (SQ2) (10mins on new medium compound tyres)
Yellow flags as SAI takes to the escape road in T15; he recovers and the yellow ends
Middle of the sprint grid: PIA, HUL, OCO, MAG, SAR

Sprint Qualifying session 3 (SQ3) (8mins on new soft compound tyres)
So NOR made it to SQ3 but won’t be able to run, so he’ll start the sprint in P10
Aston Martin confirms there are ongoing issues with DRS on both cars (ALO and STR)
PER 1:41.876
LEC 1:41.697 for provisional pole
A Ferrari in the Tecpro wall at T5 – it’s LEC – yellow flags but if he can’t free his car they ought to turn red
LEC is heading back to the pits but he’s missing most of his front wing
Front of the sprint grid: LEC, PER, VER, RUS, SAI, HAM, ALB, ALO, STR, NOR

Provisional grid for the sprint race: LEC, PER, VER, RUS, SAI, HAM, ALB, ALO, STR, NOR, PIA, HUL, OCO, MAG, SAR, ZHO, BOT, TSU, GAS, DEV
“Ocon to start Azerbaijan Sprint and Grand Prix from pit lane after Alpine make parc ferme changes” [FIA]
“Williams’ Logan Sargeant withdrawn from Azerbaijan Sprint after Shootout qualifying crash” [FIA]

Updated grid for the sprint: LEC, PER, VER, RUS, SAI, HAM, ALB, ALO, STR, NOR, PIA, HUL, MAG, ZHO, BOT, TSU, GAS, DEV; OCO starting from pit lane; DNS: SAR

Sprint Race (17 laps)
Air temperature 22°C; track 37°C
LEC leads everyone away on the formation lap
Everyone starting on medium tyres except NOR and BOT on softs

01/17: RUS challenges VER into Turn 1; they run side by side
RUS takes P3; expect VER to complain about being pushed wide or something
NOR past STR for P9
Yellow flags – there’s a tyre rolling down the track!
It’s TSU who’s lost the tyre; he’s limping back to the pits

02: LEC, PER, RUS, VER, SAI, HAM, ALO, ALB, NOR, STR
TSU’s tyre still on track
VSC deployed; the tyre has stopped but it’s in the middle of the track
TSU pits; new nose; they send him out again

03[VSC]: TSU is on track but going slowly – looks like suspension damage
SC deployed because there’s a lot of debris from TSU’s wheel

04[SC]: Radio for VER telling him there’s floor damage
Replay shows VER move left to squeeze RUS, so if anyone deserves a penalty it’s VER… but you know that won’t happen
OCO pits; soft tyres go on

05/15[SC]: LEC, PER, RUS, VER, SAI, HAM, ALO, ALB, NOR, STR, PIA, HUL, MAG, BOT, ZHO, GAS, DEV, OCO, TSU
TSU is back in the pits – will there be a penalty for doing a full lap instead of pulling off?
Radio from LEC reporting the engine cut out briefly
SC in at the end of this lap

06: VER takes P3 from RUS
SAI and ALO jump HAM
STR reclaims P9 from NOR

07: PER has DRS behind LEC

08: PER lines up LEC and blasts past for P1 well before Turn 1
PIA takes P10 from teammate NOR

10/17: PER, LEC, VER, RUS, SAI, ALO, HAM, ALB, STR, PIA
HUL and MAG pass NOR – the soft tyres are giving up

11: LEC is over a second behind PER so he’s lost DRS, but VER has it to attack the Ferrari
NOR pits; mediums go on; rejoins P18 (last)
OCO takes P16 from DEV

12: STR takes P8 from ALB – there are only points down to P8 for the Sprint Race
MAG passes teammate HUL for P11

13: LEC now has DRS to attack PER, and he’s opened a gap of 1.2sec to VER
OCO pits for another set of soft
ZHO inside HUL for P12… and GAS passes HUL too

14: PER extends his lead and LEC loses DRS
HUL seems to have a problem; DEV is catching him now

15/17: PER, LEC, VER, RUS, SAI, ALO, HAM, STR, ALB, PIA, MAG, ZHO, GAS, HUL, DEV, BOT, NOR, OCO; out: TSU (DNS: SAR)
PER now 3sec clear of LEC

16: VER still just outside DRS range of LEC

17: VER now has DRS to attack LEC

PER takes the chequered flag
LEC holds on to P2
Provisional result of the Sprint Race: PER, LEC, VER, RUS, SAI, ALO, HAM, STR; ALB, PIA, MAG, ZHO, GAS, DEV, HUL, BOT, NOR, OCO
DNF: TSU
DNS: SAR

VER confronts RUS complaining that RUS hit him; RUS apologises (because he’s a decent guy, which you’d never see VER do) but VER continues to whine about it

Oh! “Charles Leclerc clarified radio comments about a ‘cut’ during Formula 1’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix sprint race, explaining that he was pointing out the presence of a cat on track.” [motorsport.com]

Sunday = Race Day
Cast your mind back to Friday’s Quali session…
Provisional grid for the race: LEC, VER, PER, SAI, HAM, ALO, NOR, TSU, STR, PIA, RUS, OCO, ALB, BOT, SAR, ZHO, HUL, MAG, GAS, DEV
HUL and OCO will both start from the pit lane because Haas and Alpine respectively worked on the cars during parc ferme

Before the race gets underway, cast your mind back even further – today marks 29 years since Roland Ratzenberger died at the San Marino Grand Prix. Most people remember Ayrton Senna’s death in the race, often overshadowing Ratzenberger’s death in qualifying.

3mins before the start
Air temperature 24°C; track 42°C; humidity 51%
Grid: LEC, VER, PER, SAI, HAM, ALO, NOR, TSU, STR, PIA, RUS, ALB, BOT, SAR, ZHO, MAG, GAS, DEV; HUL and OCO will start from the pit lane

LEC leads everyone away on the formation lap; they’re all on medium compound tyres except DEV, OCO and HUL on hards
Having seen how quickly the softs go off, I don’t imagine they’ll be used until the final few laps if anyone’s trying to claim fastest lap
LEC bringing the cars to the grid as slowly as possible to reduce how long he’ll have to wait for the start

01/51: VER crosses the track to attack LEC but the Ferrari leads into Turn 1
STR ahead of NOR
Yellow flag – debris from contact between MAG and BOT

02: LEC, VER, PER, SAI, HAM, ALO, STR, NOR, RUS, TSU
VER will have DRS behind LEC when it’s enabled at the end of this lap

03: LEC fastest lap 1:47.656

04: VER easily reels in LEC and passes for P1 well before Turn 1
HAM f/lap 1:47.602

05/51: VER, LEC, PER, SAI, HAM, ALO, STR, NOR, RUS, TSU, PIA, ALB, MAG, SAR, GAS, ZHO, DEV, BOT, OCO, HUL
VER 1:47.108
HAM hits a bottle! Fortunately no damage to the Mercedes

06: PER uses DRS to duck inside LEC and take P2
Radio from STR saying he won’t attack teammate ALO

07: PER f/lap 1:47.073
BOT pits; hard tyres go on; rejoins P20

08: PER f/lap 1:46.885
ALB pits; hards

09: VER f/lap 1:46.801
TSU and PIA pit, followed by SAR; everyone switching to hard tyres
ALO all over HAM’s rear wing

10/51: VER, PER, LEC, SAI, HAM, ALO, STR, NOR, RUS, MAG
PER f/lap 1:46.448
HAM pits; hards; rejoins P12
NOR pits; hards; rejoins P13
PER right on VER’s tail
Yellow flags – DEV off at Turn 6

11: DEV still stuck in T6
Safety Car deployed but it was after PER had passed the pit exit, so the SC waits in the pit lane

12[SC]: PER pits, followed by LEC, SAI, ALO, RUS, STR, ZHO
SC picks up PER as he exits the pits after his stop
VER and HAM has just pitted so they’re losing out
STR quite slow at pit in, holding up RUS

13[SC]: PER, LEC, VER, SAI, ALO, RUS, STR, OCO, HAM, NOR, TSU, PIA, ZHO, ALB, GAS, MAG, SAR, BOT, DEV
SC in at the end of this lap
PER slows the train as he tries to avoid LEC jumping him

14: PER keeps P1 into T1
STR passes RUS
VER steals P2 from LEC
ALO inside SAI to take P4

15/51: PER, VER, LEC, ALO, SAI, STR, RUS, HAM, OCO, HUL, NOR, TSU, PIA, ALB, GAS, ZHO, MAG, SAR, BOT; out: DEV
PER f/lap 1:45.798
HAM takes P7 from teammate RUS into T1

16: VER f/lap 1:45.687
Race control: pit lane incident involving PER – unsafe release
Race control: no further investigation
STR tagged the wall
Race control: pit lane incident involving RUS – pit lane entry

17: Race control: pit lane incident involving RUS – no further investigation

18: MAG dives inside ZHO into Turn 1 but slides wide and ZHO reclaims P16

19: VER f/lap 1:45.245
Radio from ALO suggesting they pass his brake balance settings to STR

20/51: PER, VER, LEC, ALO, SAI, STR, HAM, RUS, OCO, HUL, NOR, TSU, PIA, ALB, GAS, MAG, ZHO, SAR, BOT
STR runs wide; HAM takes P6

21: RUS closing on STR
PER’s tail slides a little and gets very close to the wall

22: HUL harrying OCO for P9

23: HUL and OCO started on hard tyres and have yet to pit
HAM has his brake balance info stuck on his steering wheel’s screen and he wants to see tyre temps

24: GAS pits; stop #2 for the Alpine

25/51: PER, VER LEC, ALO, SAI, HAM, STR, RUS, OCO, HUL, NOR, TSU, PIA, ALB, MAG, ZHO, SAR, BOT, GAS; out: DEV

Half distance

26: LEC is over 12secs behind VER

27: Replay of HUL tagging the wall a couple of laps ago

29: Closest battle is NOR behind HUL, and then TSU behind NOR

30/51: PER, VER, LEC, ALO, SAI, HAM, STR, RUS, OCO, HUL

31: PER f/lap 1:45.394
PER is 2.3sec ahead of VER, who in turn is 14.2sec clear of LEC

32: VER f/lap 1:45.348

33: PER f/lap 1:45.311
VER’s rear right wheel taps the techpro barrier
GAS inside BOT for P18

34: PER clips the wall going into Turn 15

35/51: PER, VER, LEC, ALO, SAI, HAM, STR, RUS, OCO, HUL, NOR, TSU, PIA, ALB, MAG, ZHO, SAR, GAS, BOT; out: DEV
VER f/lap 1:45.218
BOT pits for a third time; mediums go on

36: PER f/lap 1:44.869
HAM has DRS behind SAI

37: ZHO is told to box because they have an issue; he’s pushed into the garage

38: Mercedes seem to be getting ready for a pit stop

39: GAS closing on SAR

40/51: PER, VER, LEC, ALO, SAI, HAM, STR, RUS, OCO, HUL, NOR, TSU, PIA, ALB, MAG, SAR, GAS, BOT; out: ZHO, DEV
How long before PER is told to let VER take P1?

41: HAM still sitting 0.5sec behind SAI

43: HUL taps the barrier in T13 again
GAS has finally passed SAR for P16

44: VER f/lap 1:44.843
LEC f/lap 1:44.670
Radio from HAM asking if he can get more power

45/51: PER, VER, LEC, ALO, SAI, HAM, STR, RUS, OCO, HUL, NOR, TSU, PIA, ALB, MAG, GAS, SAR, BOT
OCO and HUL have still yet to pit

46: RUS is almost 23sec ahead of OCO so will RUS pit for softs to go for fastest lap?
NOR squeezes past HUL for P10
TSU closing on HUL now

47: Radio from OCO reporting it’s getting darker as it gets more overcast but probably no rain before the end of the race
Radio for HUL telling him “hang in there” as they hope for a SC or red flag because pitting will drop them well down the order

48: PIA takes P12 from HUL

49: VER f/lap 1:44.566
ALO f/lap 1:44.541
RUS runs wide in Turn 1 – he should pit for new tyres
ALB takes P13 from HUL

50/51: HUL lets teammate MAG past for P14
ALO f/lap 1:44.241
RUS pits from P8; softs go on; rejoins still P8
HUL pits; softs; slow stop; rejoins P17

51: Red Bull mechanics cross the pit lane and climb the fence
OCO pits but there are people all over the pit lane!

PER takes the chequered flag… so we can expect VER Senior to snub PER again
VER f/lap 1:44.232
LEC P3, ALO P4, SAI P5, HAM P6, STR P7
RUS f/lap 1:43.370
NOR P9, TSU P10

Provisional result: PER, VER, LEC, ALO, SAI, HAM, STR, RUS, NOR, TSU; PIA, ALB, MAG, GAS, OCO, SAR, HUL, BOT
DNF: ZHO, DEV

[2023 calendar and driver line-up]

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