For all you need to know about the big news, the track, the tyres, the stats and standings ahead of the European Grand Prix…
Lewis Hamilton may have won the Canadian Grand Prix but it was a “great” race for Ferrari as Sebastian Vettel demonstrated improved pace.
The German, who was running Ferrari’s new turbo, grabbed the lead off the Mercedes pairing off the line and set about completing the 70 laps on a two-stop strategy.
However, given that Hamilton went with a one-stopper and was able to take good care of his tyres, it was the Brit who won the day, harried by Vettel all the way to the chequered flag.
Despite finishing second, Ferrari walked away with a lot of positives and a lot of promise for the future starting in Baku.
Baku, F1’s Newest Newcomer
Formula 1 has already introduced a new team this season, Haas, a new tyre, Pirelli’s ultra-soft, and now it is time to meet the sport’s newest track, the six kilometre anti-clockwise Baku street circuit.
The track runs through the Azerbaijan capital, starting adjacent to Azadliq Square before looping around Government House and then heading west to Maiden Tower.
A 2.2 kilometre straight along Neftchilar Avenue is the longest on the calendar and could see the cars reaching a top speed of 340 km/h.
It is a layout that has all the requirements for a thrilling race.
All the race weekend’s sessions will take place a few hours later than usual meaning Friday’s first practice is at 13h00 local time, Saturday’s qualifying at 5pm with Sunday’s grand prix starting 24 hours later.
Return Of The Mediums
Although Baku is a street circuit, Pirelli have opted to race the medium tyres as Formula 1’s newest venue.
The drivers, though, have not embraced the idea.
None of them have opted for more than two sets of the mediums with Lewis Hamilton taking just one set, Nico Rosberg two and both Ferraris and Red Bulls one.
Ferrari have opted for five sets of the softs whereas Red Bull have gone with four, same as Hamilton, while Rosberg has just three.
The remaining option it the supersoft which has garnered the greatest support amongst the field.
History & Stats
Brands Hatch, Donington, Jerez, the Nurburgring and more recently Valencia have all played host to the European Grand Prix.
Valencia, which was home to the European GP from 2008 to 2012, was also a street circuit with Fernando Alonso the last driver to win that race.
He claimed Ferrari’s seventh European win giving the Scuderia the record ahead of McLaren, four, and Williams, three.
It was also the grand prix where Michael Schumacher claimed his final Formula 1 podium as he brought his Mercedes home in third place.
Alonso is one of only three of the current drivers to have won the race, the other two being Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa.
The Numbers That Really Matter
Lewis Hamilton has shrugged off his early season struggles, winning the last two races in succession to close the gap his team-mate Nico Rosberg to just nine points.
The German, in sharp contrast, has had a wretched time of last and hasn’t won a race since round four, the Russian Grand Prix.
Meanwhile Sebastian Vettel’s runner-up result in Montreal has moved him up to third in the standings on 78 points while Daniel Ricciardo’s P7 at the same race means he has fallen to fourth. He trails Vettel by six points in the battle to be ‘best of the rest’.
Kimi Raikkonen is fifth ahead of Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas, whose Canadian podium gave him a welcome boost up the order.