We are back with our coverage of the Baku City Street Circuit, Qualifying in Azerbaijan. Drivers are racing for pole position and placement on the grid for “Race Day Sunday.”
The second half of the day is the most exhilarating in sense of pure racing speed at its best.
Qualifying will be divided into three parts.
Q1 will see the top 15 of 20 racing cars with the quickest time advance into Q2.
Followed by the top 10 out of 15 racing cars remaining advancing to Q3. Pole position will be decided by the top ten fastest racing cars.
The qualifying “time” session is divided into three mini sessions. The first Q1 is 18 minutes long followed by a seven-minute break.
Q2 is 15 minutes long followed by an eight-minute break and Q3 for maximum pole position is 12 minutes long.
Waiting on the green light!… Here we go, the drivers and their cars are off onto the track. These drivers will go all out pushing the pace as we move along to Q1, Q2 and then Q3. The track is fast and unpredictable and anything can happen when pushing the pace.
Well, here we have it, a slight crash into turn 8, Lance Stroll “Canadian driver” locks up his brakes and into the barrier he goes.
Q1 is winding down and 5 drivers are eliminated. Schumacher, Stroll, Albon, Latifi (the other ‘Canadian driver) and Magnussen.
It was tight out on the circuit with all the racing cars bundled up at the end of Q1.
The break is over and the racing cars are back onto the track for Q2. It’s later in the day and conditions are cooler. The Red Bulls and Alpha Tauri are off and running fast.
Max Verstappen comes in fast with a time of 1:42.031, followed by his teammate Perez and Gasly from Alpha Tauri.
Perez and Leclerc are pushing the pace now hard and fast. Lots of close encounters with walls within centimeters.
So many drivers and their F1 cars are coming off the barriers or locking up on their breaks. It’s getting vicious on the streets of Baku.
Coming into the last few seconds of Q2, we have the next 5 drivers eliminated. Bottas, Zhou, Ocon, Ricciardo, and Norris.
Both McLaren drivers and Alfa Romeo drivers do not advance into Q3.
That was intense!
Now time for Q3, top ten grid position and “top dog” pole position.
We have a green light and the chaos begins. The track is getting a little cooler now and the grip is also a bit better on the track. The drivers and their F1 cars are out and the gamesmanship is on. The drivers are playing games with each other to see who goes first, weaving back and forth to warm up their tyres. They may be thinking of getting a tow.
(Look out for our F1 feature of the week later on “Getting a Tow”)
It is getting frantic out there now. The drivers are at an all-out maximum pace!
Secs away from closing Q3 and we have, let’s see, oh, again, Leclerc has Pole for Ferrari, with a time of, 1:41.359, followed by Perez with Red Bull racing with a time of 1:41.641. In 3rd is Max Verstappen with a time of 1:41.706.
Sunday Race Day is going to have everything in the streets of Baku, watch out.
Quote of the day
“It’s tight, I would put Ferrari ahead on a single lap pace but we think we got a good race car. I think as long as you are in the first two or three rows, your in with a shout here.” Christian Horner, Red Bull Team Principal
We shall see! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s race. Coverage begins at least 30 mins before the race. Start time is 7:00 am eastern time zone in the USA and Canada, See you then!
Ennio Sorgini is a Formula 1 Analyst for GTA Weekly News Reporting on F1 Racing Baku City Street Circuit, Qualifying in Azerbaijan.