The Baku Grand Prix circuit was perhaps best described by Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat when he said that it has a Monaco section and a Monza section. The tricky beast of Azerbaijan put the drivers to the test as Pirelli’s tires were difficult to get in the operating window and this left drivers out on track for multiple laps to get the best shot at pole position.
There’s a part of me that really liked the result of harder compounds on compliant circuit and it reminded me of the old days when the track action was continuous during qualifying instead of formulaic with a run, pit and final run.
A red flag in Q3 meant a stop in action and just three minutes for all the top 10 drivers to go for pole but it was Lewis Hamilton who took the top grid slot for Sunday’s race in a terrific qualifying attempt just ahead of his teammate, Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Described as one of his best laps this season, Lewis was happy with it but Bottas was not happy with his lap and struggled with tire temperatures.
Ultimately it all came down to getting the tires switched on and the teams are struggling to find the switch. The number of yellow flags all weekend could be an indicator of the kind of race Sunday offers with many drivers running long into the run-off areas and the track workers taking time to remove stricken cars so anything can happen in race day and team strategy will play a large roll.