AutoFOCUS WORLD Azerbaijan Grand Prix & POV
Since the announcement of the F1 Miami Grand Prix coming to Miami Gardens in 2022, you would think that non-fans would be inquisitive about the sport. Well we're here to get you into it in real time.
Just when the F1 competition got really interesting between the two top drivers, calamity struck them both. Baku is the city where the action took place. Azerbaijan was the setting for the face off and both Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing - Honda) and defending champion Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes Benz AMG) were both looking to collect major points to take the lead and position themselves to pull away as we enter the thick of the season. Coming off the huge win in Monaco, Max Verstappen had a frustrating accident while Lewis Hamilton hit a wrong button causing his brakes to lock, forcing him off the track and out of the top 10. Neither of the drivers earned any points while Sergio Perez, driving the fastest car of the day, took the checkered flag. For fans of the Red Bull team, and the Mercedes AMG both were devastated, disappointed, and left to wonder what would have been.
It's important to take note that F1 tires are very sensitive. Cornering and high speeds can be tricky, simply because the temperature threshold can determine how effective the grip is and thus cooling those tires can be problematic. We saw that a lot in the race. It's also crystal clear how easy it is to make a mistake as Lewis Hamilton reminded us.
An introduction to Azerbaijan
Let’s step off the track for a moment and figure out where the heck this place is. Baku, the main city in the Republic of Azerbaijan. The country is located at the boundary of Eastern Europe and West Asia. The majority Muslim country has a high rate of economic development and high literacy rate and a low unemployment. It provides a blend of East and Western cultures with fascinating history.
Travelers will tell you that from a scenic and structural standpoint there are Soviet buildings in Arab food that define Azerbaijan. It's surrounded by hills, and adorned by stunning vistas mixing old with new. It is a tiny country and yet nine of 11 climate zones can be found there. There are high altitude Caucasian mountains, vast hot deserts on one hand, green metals and coastal areas on the other. They're even volcanoes and icy areas. Well enough of that let's get back to the race.
It's unlikely that any of the other drivers on the ten teams will catch either of the top two point earners. It was still a fabulous race to enjoy with strategy dominating the day. Now for all of you new fans or curiosity seekers, the first thing you will have noticed was the incredible Bond-like setting of this amazing city with a name that very few of us can even pronounce. It also represented an opportunity to learn a bit of geography, because we must admit that barely any of us travelers and globetrotters know where the heck this place is. In addition the scenic views, crazy curves and streets, and historic structures and beautiful buildings that lined the track were incredibly inviting. We're sure that the city will earn additional tourists as a result of the race.
The course itself was also one of the challenging aspects of the competition. Those hairpin turns and zigzag streets put every driver and the teams to the tests. Newcomers must remember that pit stops, and choice of tires is a key part of the strategy but also with drivers and crew chiefs having to make split second decisions on when to floor it, and win to relax and survive.
We invite you to check out every race and come back to us with your thoughts and feedback as well as your questions. If we can't answer them, we will find out who can.
Our next installment We'll introduce you to some of the new drivers, young guns who could be the future of F1. Will also introduce you to other new cities that might spark your imagination and encourage you to watch and enjoy one of the most exciting sports on the planet that once again is capturing the hearts and imaginations of sports fans around the globe.
photos: motorsports .com /Autoweek