Grand Prix 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

Welcome to Azerbaijan, a country with a rich history and which straddles Europe and Asia. F1 has been going to Baku, for a race around the city streets, since 2017. We missed the race last year because of the COVID pandemic, but we are back in 2021. We can look forward to 51 laps around an almost exactly 6km long circuit which includes a super long straight, wide enough for 4 cars to run together, and one corner so narrow the cars must go though in single file.

Previous years have been full of incident, including the two Red Bull cars taking each other out in 2018, Lewis Hamilton having to pit to have his cockpit surround refitted in 2017, the same year Sebastian Vettel gave Lewis a "telling off" for not going as fast as Seb thought he should behind the safety car and Valterri Bottas getting a puncture whilst leading and being forced out of the race. And then there is one of my favourite moments in an F1 race when Romain Grosjean radioed to his team to complain that "I think Ericcson hit us", when it was his own incompetence at having wound the brake bias all the way to the rear which caused him to stick it in the wall.

To give you a flavour of the country, which prior to the fall of the Soviet Union probably few of us had heard of, I had a dig around on the interwebz to see what delights a trip to Azerbaijan may offer. It's a country rich in natural resources, especially oil and gas. This presumably explains why Liberty Media see fit to run an F1 race in a country with no history in the sport, as they have a sizeable wedge they can throw their way to pay for the race. The President of Azerbaijan , IlhamAliyev, took the role from his Father in 2003 with nearly 77% of the vote. A positive mandate, although Human Rights Watch catalogued widespread voter abuse and fraud, the arrest of opposition candidates and police violence against journalists and at political rallies. In subsequent elections he has won with 85%, 87% and 86% of the votes. Clearly the population love him!

However, he is no mug as he's a close ally of Vladimir Putin and keeps the EU on side with what is referred to as Caviar Diplomacy. Many EU politicians have been investigated for taking payments from the Azerbaijan government and Portsmouth's own Mike Hancock was a well known apologist for the regime in the British parliament. Hancock is one of those politicians who you know what not to agree with as he supports it.

Fed up with politics? Sorry, but Azerbaijan, like many F1 race venues, is very far from being a pleasant place for it's citizens to live with wide spread reports of ill-treatment and torture, and many of the basic freedoms we enjoy being severely restricted.

On a positive not, if you fancy a holiday there Google answers says "On the whole, Azerbaijan is very safe. Since the country is ruled by a strongman who wants very much to increase tourism to the country, crimes against visitors are virtually unheard of". There is also some stunning architecture in Baku, old and new, and the Maiden Tower and Palace of the Shirvanshahs are both UNESCO world heritage sites.

So enjoy the Azebaijan Grand Prix, another which we can add to the list of venues we would would probably prefer that F1 didn't go to because of the despotic ruling regime, but hey ho they have plenty of money so let's all look the other way (me included).
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
it is 1 of the weirdest mind games relationships, because they are both doing mind games

I still think it will tell on Verstappen he's had 5 years at Red Bull if it was any other driver they would have been ditched perhaps someone should remind Red Bull and Max he 's had more time to win the title other than Vettel and Webber still nowhere near

I hope Le Clerc is prepared to stuff one inside Max into turn one. Lets see if Max is going fight
 
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F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
I still think it will tell on Verstappen he's had 5 years at Red Bull if it was any other driver they would have been ditched perhaps someone should remind Red Bull and Max he 's had more time to win the title other than Vettel and Webber still nowhere near

I hope Le Clerc is prepared to stuff one inside Max into turn one. Lets see if Max is going fight
id say it harsh on verstappen to say he's had 5 years because he's never had the car. leclerc had championship capable car before max did & bit like asking Berger why they didnt win world championship during prost/senna dominance
 

F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
im stuck here with the 2 scenarios here. not sure what is going on. because from the side by side comparison ive seen on sky sports F1 they look as guilty as each other. even the rear wing look suspect

now either toto wolff believes that Mercedes are a faster car without the flexi wings. so happy to sacrifice their advantage to wound their rivals. lose the battle win the war

or toto was led to believe that mercedes were "legal" & that if they stuck this on ted bull that would hurt them & Mercedes unscathed. but its come out when the spotlight is shined. toto wolff got shock & is now backed into a corner

 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
im stuck here with the 2 scenarios here. not sure what is going on. because from the side by side comparison ive seen on sky sports F1 they look as guilty as each other. even the rear wing look suspect

now either toto wolff believes that Mercedes are a faster car without the flexi wings. so happy to sacrifice their advantage to wound their rivals. lose the battle win the war

or toto was led to believe that mercedes were "legal" & that if they stuck this on ted bull that would hurt them & Mercedes unscathed. but its come out when the spotlight is shined. toto wolff got shock & is now backed into a corner

I'd tell Horner FU we will go ahead like Jean Todt use to
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
id say it harsh on verstappen to say he's had 5 years because he's never had the car. leclerc had championship capable car before max did & bit like asking Berger why they didnt win world championship during prost/senna dominance
Any less harsh then everyone else who,s been No 2 with less time to him - Gasly, and Albon or before him Kyvat? He's been given 7 years of mollycoddling including his Toro Rosso days. Marko says he has no regrets about losing Sainz but I beg to differ he might have to eat those words
 

F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
Il_leone i agree marko regrets sainz. because we all underestimate, how talented verstappen was but then didnt everyone & its only in hindsight that we realised what a brilliant job sainz did to be as close to him as he did. but then vergne & buemi are in the same boat. also their was no room at the inn Riccardo & Verstappen 1 24 other 18. your not tear up the best partnership in F1. Sainz rightly wanted to leave as he couldnt guarantee for how long for

verstappen has never had the car. so really this is the 1st proper year. he effectively doing a football season for the 1st time 9 month slog where you have to be consistent. the previous years it was more tennis. where you plan to peak at few certain times of the year. Monaco Austria Singapore Mexico Brazil. outside of that try to at least finish 3rd & get as close to bottas as you can. If it looks as if he has capable of a championship challenge thats a back handed compliment to the over achievement he has had over the years
 
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F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
another fascinating qualifying in progress im sure we had more unpredictable qualifying this season that we have had last 3 or 4 years. that certainly 2nd row maybe even front row is any bodies
 

Dartman

Pole Sitter
Half the field haven't got a time yet, two red flags and only 9 mins left, what happens if more have no time than the required drop zone?
 

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
Norris going to be investigated after the session... Presumably this was because he was right at the end of his lap when the red flag was thrown, and didn't immediately return to the pits...
 

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
It's a complete amateur hour today...

As with Monaco, a crash at the end of a session stopped cars going quicker - I really struggle to see why there is no formal penalty for that... Cars that fail to complete qualifying should have to start from the pitlane!
 

Dartman

Pole Sitter
I think that if you achieve Q3 you keep your time as you would in if you make Q2 there's no way unless you have the quickest time in Q3 to purposely crash thus needing a drastic penalty, crashing brings about its own penalties on unseen or detected damage, ask Le Clerk.
Having an accident in qualifying is no different to losing control and recovering in a race and causing another to have an accident and either retiring or losing a number of positions whilst the instigator continues, should the instigator be penalised?, it happens on practically every start
 

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
Dartman - if any of the accidents today causing red flags had happened in the race, the driver would have been out of the race.

The theory is that qualifying is the first laps of the race (and parc ferme regs are in place from the beginning of qualifying). It makes a mockery of this when cars are effectively rebuilt during parc ferme.
 

Dartman

Pole Sitter
The Artist..... Qualifying has never been in either theory or practice the first laps of a race, it is all about times, you either have a time and a grid slot or you don't, if you don't have a time you either don't start or are given dispensation to start based on your practice performance at the rear of the grid
You can rebuild the car to its parc ferme condition however power units and gearboxes are considered to be improvements on parc ferme and take penalties unless previously used in a parc ferme condition and unimproved.
 
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olegg

Race Winner
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F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
well that was a cracking qualifying. although i feel like id seen it before. Ferrari involved in an Q3 incident that brought out the red flag. giving Ferrari an unexpected pole position. but i dont understand how tsunoda crashed. because wasnt he on an in lap. after the 2 alfa tauri had just finished

although it 1 of the qualifying's that you never see the true pace of all the teams because their is so many factors. yellow & red flags, traffic & slipstream. you need to be lucky & good. but you can never count out Hamilton, that why even when he struggle. i still expect him to be in top 3 interviews because thats what he does. he always finds time

Norris unfortunately it was slam dunk . because it is a red flag situation. he was going slow enough to enter the pit lane. as he was in the lane & move he made was to leave the pit lane entry. when you get red flag panel & radio message. still dont come in. i think he could be lucky at just 3 place grid drop
 

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
F1Brits_90 - I'd been expecting Tsunoda to have pitted (as all the drivers had) - but he was on a second fast lap

(Out lap-Fast lap-Slow lap-Fast lap 2-In lap)

I will be amazed if Sainz doesn't need a new gearbox after that - although I'm also surprised that he hasn't been censured for driving too quickly through double waved yellows. "Best drivers in the world" - you more often see driving like this at a demolition derby!
 
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