Formula 1 report Nº 4
2019 Formula 1 Socar Azerbaijan GP Baku Street Circuit.

Round 4. 51 laps @ 6.006km/3.753ml = 306.306km/191.410ml.

Lap record 1m 43.441s Sebastian Vettel (2017).

Baku is situated 28mtrs below sea level making it the lowest national capital in the world and the largest city below sea level. The first ever oil well was drilled just south of Baku and now supplies 85% of the world’s oil.

At 6.003kms (306.306mls) Baku is the second longest circuit on the F1 calendar, Spa being the longest at 7.004kms (308.176mls). Baku is known as the ‘City of winds’ with high track temperatures in parts and cooler in the shaded areas on the old town. The inaugural race on the 19th June 2016 was listed as the European GP for that year only. It was won by N Rosberg with Vet & Per joining him on the podium. There is a mixture of long straights and unforgiving tight twisty sections around the city streets. There are 2 DRS zones; the first is 54mtrs after turn 2 along the 1km back straight and the second is 347mtrs after turn 20 along the long start/finish straight, the second longest straight on the F1 calendar at 2.2kms (1.367mls). It is said to be the fastest street circuit in the world; the distance from pole position to the first corner is 330mtrs giving the drivers opportunities to gain places.

FP1 – Rus run over a manhole cover which had been dislodged by Bot when he ran over it, that caused severe damage to the underside of the Williams. The session was cancelled as the marshals had to repair said cover and inspect the other 219 covers around the circuit.

FP2 – Str hit the barrier and rip off his left front wheel. Kvy later also crashed into the barrier.

FP3 – Vet spent time in the garage with the mechanics working on his car, while there were some good scraps between drivers for positions.

Qualifying – Kub clipped the wall which sent him into the barriers at turn 8 causing severe damage to his Williams and the barrier which took a long time to repair.

Q2 – Lec crashed into the barrier at the infamous turn 8.

Bot got his first pole at this circuit and with a new track record of 1m 40.495s. Ham, Vet, Ver & Per made up the top five. Gas was demoted to a pit lane start & Gio got a 10 place grid drop.

Racing began at 4.10pm local time with the temperature at 20ºC. Kvy was celebrating his 25th birthday and with Bot & Ham in turns 1 & 2 both maintaining their positions, there were some very good overtaking manoeuvres in the midfield. Kvy made a very early pit stop at the end of lap five and that started the ball rolling. Kub was handed a drive thru penalty for going to the pit exit too early. The first incident was when Ric & Kvy went down the escape road and Ric reversed into the side of Kvy. Both drivers retired soon after. Gro was the next to fall by the wayside with a brake problem, then Gas impressively came from a pit lane start up to 6th place only to stop with a driveshaft problem. The VSC was deployed for a couple of laps, but Ferrari got it wrong again by keeping Lec out when he was leading the race with a big gap which reduced rapidly with his worn tyres allowing the Mercedes duo & Vet to get past dropping him back to 5th place after his pit stop. It was a good action-packed race with plenty of good overtakes. Bot took the chequered flag in style. Ham & Vet joined him on the podium. Lec recorded the fastest lap on lap 50 with a time of 1m 43.009s which is another new lap record.

Formula 1 report Nº 5
Formula 1 Emirates Gran Premio de España 2019.
Circuito de Barcelona – Cataluña.

Round 5. 66 laps @ 4.655km/2.893ml 307.104km/190.834ml.
Lap record 1m 23.593s held by D. Ricciardo Red Bull (2018).

This was the 29th race to be held at this fantastic circuit that was constructed and first used as a world championship race in 1991, then known as the Circuito de Cataluña. Of the 28 races held here it has been won from pole position 21 times. Ham got his first F1 pole position & win at Cataluña. Schumi holds the record with 7 pole positions and 6 wins.

There are two DRS zones with the first along the back straight between turns 9 & 10 with the second along the start/finish straight. The kerbs on the apex of turns 5 & 7 have been lowered with new concrete verges installed behind them and the grass verge between the kerbs at the exit of turns 15 & 16 has been replaced with concrete.

FP1 – There were a lot of off circuit excursions running into the gravel traps. Bot spent some time in the garage with a suspected oil leak. Str ran over the grass at turn 8 and crashed heavily into the barrier bringing the session to an early close.

FP2 – Ver had an engine change. Str was sidelined for some of the session after his crash in FP1. There were more off circuit excursions, spins and lock ups making for another action packed 90 minutes.

FP3 – Bot beached his W10 in the gravel causing a red flag situation. A fairly calm final hour until Rus crashed into the barriers at turn 4 bringing the session to a close.

Q1 – Hül went off through the gravel trap clipping the barrier and causing minor damage to his RS19 slowly returning to the garage. During the last minute fight, both Williams’ drivers went out along with Gio, Str & Hül.

Q2 – Lec ran wide over the concrete kerbing at turn 9 damaging his floor. Bot was on pole making it a hat trick for the Finn and more poles so far this season than he achieved in all the 21 races last year, his time of 1m 15.406s being a new track record. Ham, Vet, Ver & Lec made up the top five. Rus had a 3 place grid drop for a new gearbox after his crash in the morning practice. Ric also had a 3 place grid penalty carried over from Baku after his clash with Kvy. Hül was demoted to a pit lane start after having work done on his car.

Race day was a little cooler at 19ºC. Ham got away very well taking lead at the first corner which as usual produced some very close wheel to wheel racing especially between the Mercedes duo, both Ferrari drivers & Ver, running 3 abreast. Vet locked up and ran wide in turn 1 and almost collected his team mate on returning to the track. This allowed Ver to pass them both for third place. Gas also got in the mix. Räi went off at turn 4 which dropped him to the back of the pack. Gio was the first to pit after only 6 laps. Ham had lapped both Williams’ drivers by the end of lap 18. Vet pitted at the end of lap 19 after having a very uncomfortable ride on his flat spotted front tyre. There were quite a few good battles in mid-field and some good overtaking manoeuvres. The safety car was deployed on lap 45 when Nor & Str crashed and ended up in the gravel trap. Ham took the chequered flag with Bot & Ver joining him on the podium. Ham posted the fastest lap clocking 1m 18.492s on lap 54.